Chicago’s summer music festival season has ended with North Coast Music Festival over the last 6 years. Summers Last Stand, as it has grown to be known, features a mix of hip-hop, electronic bands, and EDM artists over 3 days inside Chicago’s Union Park. This year’s lineup featured crowd favorites such as; Bassnectar, Logic, Galantis, Umphrey’s McGee, The Polish Ambassador, Keys n Krates, The Floozies Zedd and Odesza. Having these favorites spread across all 3 days guaranteed the festival to be packed each day.
The silent disco, which has featured many local up and coming artists over the years, moved to an uncovered outside stage. The two channel headphones allowed you to switch between two artists as you jammed out in Union Park’s tennis courts.
Heineken, one of North Coast’s biggest corporate sponsors, delivered something no one expected a covered dome that ended up being the hottest stage. It was exclusively for the 21+ crowd and had a limited capacity. The dome featured Farley Jackmaster Funk, Golf Clap and Kastler, who blew the dome’s roof and your mind when the projected visuals and lasers danced above your head.
The festival grounds expanded a little further than last year to create more walking room between the stages and to add more vendors. The art displays were spread out through the festival grounds, which rewarded those that explored the grounds. There was even a hang out lounge (similar to the one we found at Mamby’s VIP section) near the vendors for Coasties to chill out at.
If you bought VIP tickets you were offered free water to beat the heat, separate viewing areas, and a new VIP zone in between the two main stages. There you had a separate bar, air-conditioned bathrooms, and of course an up-close and personal view of the two main stages. If you kept your eyes open you could have met not only local Chicago artists, but headliners as well.
North Coast is not my favorite React Presents festival and that has not changed after its 2016 edition. It has outgrown its current location years ago, which feeds my annoyance of large crowds (yes I’m an old man), which is why the VIP area was a pleasant surprise for me. The festival mirrors Summer Set or Summer Camp both of which require travel, which is why NCMF will always be popular. It also completes one festival season and opens a new one. On that note it’s time to plan for Freaky Deaky and Reaction NYE.