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  • Colin Desmond

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS: Breakaway Charlotte 2021 Lights Up the Speedway

Photos by Keira Lindgren

Breakaway Charlotte Day 1

For many attendees, Breakaway served as their re-entry to the music festival scene after two years of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small details such as easy and efficient parking (as well as friendly lot attendees) made the first day of the festival a great experience. The zMAX Dragway proved to be a perfectly sized venue for a festival of this capacity. Easily accessible food and drink

options lined the edges of the motorway and bonus activities such as a silent disco and a roller rink ensured that there was plenty to do in addition to listening to music.


Choff, a ten-year veteran of the DJ scene, opened the day by hyping up the crowd. Throughout the night he pulled his weight in hosting the intermissions between sets and keeping the audience active and enthusiastic.

Wax Motif

Wax Motif threw down a healthy mix of tech, disco, and house music that kept the crowd grooving through the heat of the day.

Two Friends then took to the stage to give the crowd a wild ride. The duo's sheer happiness onstage and their talent in reimagining a wide array of genres guaranteed that there was something for everyone. Notably, their remix of Mr. Brightside was an absolute treat to experience live, an easy song for the audience to sing their hearts out to. Their infectious enthusiasm left the audience amped and ready for the next set.

Two Friends

Swae Lee

Swae Lee easily kept the party going. Despite not being backed up by Slim Jxmmi, the other half of Rae Sremmurd, his charisma filled the stage.

Once the bubbling synths of quintessential crowd pleaser "Black Beatles" filled the air, Lee had the crowd in the palm of his hand. At the core of his performance was Lee's surprisingly elegant vocals and his energetic charm. At one point he noticed a crowd member's bedazzled cowboy hat and asked them to throw it on stage. After donning it for the rest of his set, he threw it back into the crowd, asking the attendees to return it to its rightful owner.

The large crowd continued to amass as time ticked closer to G-Eazy's set. Phones filled the air as the rapper and seasoned performer took to the stage and proceeded to knock it out of the park. The excitement in the air was palpable as the large amount of dedicated fans at the barricade sang along to every song. From throwing a wad of cash into the crowd to dousing the first couple of rows with water bottles, G-Eazy gave a passionate performance that connected with his fans in a beautifully intimate way despite the large venue. The set also featured an appearance by rapper Kossisko, who is signed under G-Eazy.


Martin Garrix closed out the night with a pulse-racing set, featuring impeccable lighting design that wowed the audience. Despite the single stage setup, the crowd kept the same upbeat energy level throughout the day with rarely any lulls in enthusiasm.

Martin Garrix

Day 2

Day 2 of Breakaway Charlotte saw the return of Choff as the ever-loveable host. With his charm and wit he was a delightful presence throughout the second day.

First on the lineup was MoonLander, a singer and rapper that hails from Concord, NC. With his previously scheduled tours cancelled due to the pandemic, he seemed genuinely grateful to be on a stage, an energy that was well-received by the crowd. With a recently released album (Houston 97) and single ("Brightside") the up and coming musician seems poised for success.



EVAN GIIA brought the heat as the sole female performer on a lineup that was noticeably lacking in gender diversity. Her charisma and charm was infectious and quickly connected with Breakaway attendees. The rapidly rising pop star performed a bright and exuberant setlist that was easy to dance to. She humbly explained to the crowd that it was only a few years ago that she was someone in the audience that one day dreamed of being onstage. Now that she's here, she's wasted no time in demonstrating her strong vocal ability and talent in hyping up a crowd.


As the day turned dark, the stage production upped the ante, lighting up the Dragway to the delight of the attendees.

Lane 8 delivered a captivating set, followed by Gryffin who gave an ear-pleasing performance. While the pyrotechnics were breathtaking, they never seemed to overshadow the music. Gryffin provided a perfect lead-in to the headliners of the second night of Breakaway.

The Chainsmokers closed out the festival, bringing out all the stops from a variety of remixes to their well-known bangers that have landed them on the top of multiple charts. In terms of production design, their set was awe-inspiring. Cycling through visually appealing pyrotechnic displays allowed them to constantly wow the audience with perfectly timed beat drops and fireworks that lit up the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Chainsmokers

At the end of Day 2, it's safe to say that Breakaway was an overwhelming success, with Charlotte Motor Speedway hosting around 3,000 attendees over the course of the festival. It was well-organized from a logistics standpoint - food and water were readily available, set times were followed almost to a T, and security was firm but polite to those in the audience up against the barricade. This event boasts a promising preview of what's to come in the future from organizers Prime Social Group as they produced a festival that excelled at bringing people together for live music once again.

View more photos and lineup details below:

Day 1 Artist details:

Martin Garrix: With the release of his debut solo "Animals" at age 17, Martin Garrix captured the attention of the pop/electronic music industry. He has consistently topped the charts with hits such as "Summer Days" featuring Macklemore and Patrick Stump, and most recently "We Are The People" featuring Bono and The Edge from U2.

G-Eazy: Multi-platinum hip-hop artist released his first major album "These Things Happen" in 2014 and it peaked at number 3 on the US Billboard 200. From there, he's established himself as a hit-maker while releasing multiple studio albums. As a teaser to his upcoming album, G-Eazy released the single "Provide" featuring Chris Brown and Mark Morrison

Kossisko: Kossisko is a singer/rapper from Berkeley, CA. He debuted in 2012 with his mixtape Ice Cold Perm and is known for his singles "Ten Freaky Hoes," "Life of a Mack," and "This May be Me"

Swae Lee: Swae Lee is one half of the hip hop duo Rae Sremmurd and is known for his vocal ability, melodies and collaborations with artists such as Madonna, Ellie Goulding, and Post Malone.

Two Friends: Two Friends is a Los Angeles-based DJ/producer duo known for remixing classics such as The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" and have been responsible for official remixes for artists such as Lana Del Ray, Tove Lo, and The Chainsmokers.

Wax Motif: Australian artist and producer Wax Motif is known for his unique style and has released tracks from artists across a variety of genres, notably Diplo, Tinashe, and The Good Perry

JAHMED: JAHMED has built a notable underground following with his versatile vocals and has been featured on G-Eazy's single "Love Is Gone."

Swiperboy: Swiperboy is a former LA Lakers basketball player and has a sound that ranges from melodic pop music to edgy hip hop.

Day 2 Artist details:

The Chainsmokers: Consisting of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, The Chainsmokers solidified themselves as icons in the EDM scene with the release of their 2014 debut single "#Selfie." They proceeded to release a flurry of chart-topping hits including "Roses," "Closer," and their most recent collaborations with Illenium, Lennon Stella, and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Gryffin: Gryffin first gained recognition for his remix of "Animals" and has since then consistently topped the charts. His 2019 release of the album "Gravity" peaked at number one on the U.S. Dance Charts.

Lane 8: EDM producer and DJ rose to critical acclaim with his 2015 debut album "Rise" and has recently started his own label This Never Happened.

Trevor Daniel: The 25-year-old reached number one on the US Viral 50 with his first single "Falling," a track that went on to enter the Top 40 in over 20 countries. The young artist is now at the helm of a major debut release with "Nicotine."

EVAN GIIA: Brooklyn-based electronic vocalist EVAN GIIA is a force to be reckoned with. She has demonstrated her dynamic vocals on her recent single "WESTWORLD."

Kid Quill: Kid Quill has landed at the top of the Billboard and iTunes charts with his unique blend of pop and hip hop. His last two albums, "94.3 The Reel" and "The Name Above the Title" both reached the Billboard Heatseaker chart.

NOTD: Electronic duo NOTD (pronounced "noted") established their place in the industry with remixes for top artists such as Ed Sheeran, Alessia Cara, and Rihanna. Their song "So Close" peaked at number one on the Billboard Dance chart and their track "I Don't Know Why" featuring Astrid S was released in May 2020

Moonlander: Pop/rap singer Dillon Houston Church (aka "Moonlander") hails from Concord, NC and has toured 40 cities nationwide.


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