Celebrating their 11th year and a brand-new home at SeatGeek Stadium, North Coast Music Festival lit the city of Chicago on fire this past Labor Day Weekend. With heavy hitters such as Kaskade, Griz, and Zeds Dead rounding out each night, an array of artists spanned across four stages with the main being the stadium that houses the Chicago Fire Soccer Team.
Pulling up to SeatGeek Stadium felt as if you were in another world, with nothing but the fest vibes surrounding you. You entered through a row of clothing and merch vendors leading you into the grounds where you found the infamous activations, stages, and artist pop-ups scattered throughout. One of my favorite things about NCMF will forever be the creative and engaging activations they have on site. This year, a 360 degree structure that continuously spun out smoke filled bubbles with an audio visual experience at sunset nightly titled, ‘Enter the Void’ was a big draw (and photo op) for the NCMF crowd. Other activations included Monaco, Hornitos, Corona, and a new photo-driven restaurant review app called, PhoneEatsFirst that sponsored the entire Food Truck City and the VIP Skydeck overlooking the Canopy Stage. The other focal point of the fest was the Chill Out Dome, which was undeniably dope. Imagine laying in the middle of a dome covered soccer field looking up at mesmerizing laser beam lights cascading the ceiling. Tranquil AF.
Turning the attention to the artists, there were a lot to cover this weekend – with North Coast being the first to announce their return to the 2021 Chicago festival scene, they made sure their lineup was stacked. Friday turned out some local favs like Kaskade and Whethan on the main stage and throughout the rest of the weekend other EDM giants like Green Velvet, Lane 8, Nora en Pure, Chris Lake, Ganja White Night, Rezz, and DJ Diesel. North Coast really prides themselves on getting up and comers on the roster as well. We heard some pretty solid beats from Dee Mash, Nick Niice, and Sunday’s opening set from Maximo Quinones and Flynninho ended with a mix of Linkin Park’s, Crawling, that set the bar high for the final day of Summer’s Last Stand.
All around, North Coast Music Festival is still at the top of best Chicago fests for me – from the local food, the art, to the music, they never fall short. Coming in hot after a year’s worth of no festivals, concerts, or anything, NCMF pulled out all the stops to ensure their fans had something to talk about. Cheers to another fire fest season, I can’t wait to see what next year has in store. Catch you later, Coasties.