Dubbed as “Summer’s Last Stand,” Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival always has one of the most versatile lineups and this year was no exception. With headliners ranging from DeadMau5 & Eric Prydz, Gucci Mane, Damien Marley, STS9, Carnage, Ween, Primus and Tipper, North Coast weekend was one for the books.
With nearly perfect weather and even better vibes, there is no question why North Coast is a favorite Chicago festival. When you walk through that crowd, you can’t help but feel the genuine happiness of everyone surrounding you. Whether you’re jamming out at Skyline, North, or Coast Stage or taking in the awesomeness of the local artists’ art installations, there is something about this fest that transports you to what seems like another world.
With such a diverse lineup, North Coast is always set to crowd please. As for myself, I love so many different genres, there was really no way I could go wrong. There were, however, certain moments that truly made the weekend.
First up, when DeadMau5 & Eric Prydz teamed up to ditch the back-to-back hits and bring Chicago true, genuine techno music with slow-building beats. It took the crowd a minute to decipher what direction the EDM giants were heading, but once they found their rhythm, it was perfection.
Music, no matter the genre, is always better live – and when British producer Bonobo showed up and put on a live show, everyone was feeling it. Delivering with live keys, horns, drums and vocals, we as an audience sometimes forget what all goes into making an electronic track. Seeing these sounds come together really brought out a whole new appreciation. Another great surprise came on Saturday of the fest. Pretty Lights joined Manic Focus on stage for an epic performance. These two DJs know how to throw down in front of a packed house.
Right before Chicago decided to grace us with a rain storm, Post Malone gave the people what they wanted. Putting on an energetic show by really engaging with the crowd, hit after hit was sung and jumped along to. This was my first time seeing Post, and he most definitely did not disappoint.
Rounding out the weekend on the third day, there were two moments that stuck with me. The first being Bob Moses. The Canadian electronic duo won me over with their smooth sounds and captivating voice. Their Grammy-winner, Tearing Me Up, was obviously a hit with fans, who watched with wide eyes. But it was the overall vibe at Bob Moses that stood out. Laid back rock, mixed with electric alternative gave the fest goers an energy that couldn’t be duplicated.
Finally, a standout moment for the final day, as well as the weekend, was while at The Cool Kids. Three quarters in, Chicago icon, Chance the Rapper was brought on stage and the crowd, respectively, goes wild. The Cool Kids sharing the stage with Chance was not only a nod to Chicago being home, but was more special because Chance came up under the duo. I am always a fan of showing local love and I couldn’t imagine a better way than this.
As much as festivals are about the music, for me it is also about the fashion. I love seeing different groups of people joining together showing off their creativity in the form of clothing. With diverse lineups, comes the diverse crowd. Walking around Union Park, I caught glimpses of the usual mellowed out hippies, clad in their patterned pants and round sunnies, intermixed with the hard-edged EDM fans in their neon mesh outfits complete with fur leg warmers.
For me, a great outfit does not go unnoticed. Seeing how people from many different walks of life choose to portray themselves in this setting is so interesting. North Coast may be a smaller festival, but that’s the beauty of it – you’re able to give a bigger appreciation.
Until next year, North Coast – it’s been real.
FestPop Staff Writer, Ashley Siech