Favorite ThisToast to the Coast: A Preview of Summer’s Last Stand (North Coast Music Festival)

Published: August 30, 2012

By: IMagine REALity (Adam Epstein, Duncan Ross & Max Pottebaum)

As the seasons turn so will the disc jockeys at the Midwest’s freshest city festival. During the upcoming Labor Day weekend the fair city of Chicago hosts North Coast Music Festival in Union park. For three epic days and nights the city’s industrious, factory laden west-side will serve as a raver’s paradise among the crumbling edifices. NCMF is a gathering unlike any other, boasting a lineup with a breadth in genres that leaves even the biggest of festi-heads dumbfounded. Spanning hip-hop to electronic to indie rock, hosting more than 60 bands, MCs and DJs makes West Loop the place to be next weekend

When the fest was a rookie, three years ago, promoters were practically giving these tickets away, but now prices have risen to compensate a limited amount of access to NCMF’s rare and unseen acts. Annually boasting a bodacious and diverse lineup has truly established a recurring fan base within the region that trusts the fest’s production and booking. On this go-round NCMF encompasses an irresistible lineup including Chicago’s favorite sons in jam-band Umphrey’s McGee as well as a deep variety of other acts such as Pretty Lights, STS9, Future Rock, EOTO, Excision, Papadosio, Savoy, Boombox, Beats Antique, even the likes of hip-hop powerhouses Atmosphere & People Under the Stairs.

Despite the city-wide ordinance calling for a 10pm noise curfew, production companies have tactfully arranged for after-parties at the surrounding venues. By granting followers of certain stylings with the chance to see shows of various artists from the fest performing second sets, North Coast is changing the way many of us think of city fests. These supplementary acts create a loophole effect permitting the fest to rage on through the night in addition to granting more intimate shows to fans of specific genres.

Many fail to realize that NC is supported by a handful of independent-promoters: React Presents, Silver Wrapper, Cold Gums Productions, Kingtello, and Metronome Chicago, craft a genuine festi that wholly supports the local community. This group founded NC three years ago with a pledge to consistently circulate and promote quality live-music back into the community that strengthens them. By remaining steadfast in this belief, these companies have been able to provide their audience with remarkable shows save sacrificing the fest’s integrity.

North Coast is truly unique in the sense that it stands alone in its pledge to communal aspects by promoting a local-music movement, putting other Chicago festivals’ to shame. Stemming from the sponsors to the vendors, North Coast promotes an entire spectrum of local artists, many of whose budding careers are based out of the surrounding scene. Through this commitment to assisting regional artists, the fest sows its own seeds, ensuring opportunities for aspiring musicians in the area to earn national recognition on their own merit.

This festival exudes a peerless desire for including authentic and renowned acts in their lineup over who might haul in the big buck or ad-time. Inviting quality acts that their counter-parts would never even dream of has “the other Chicago festival” looking very attractive to working inter-city professionals and young festi-goers alike. As opposed to Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, North Coast is set on maintaining a specific size and engaging the audience’s capacity for music in all facets rather than purely profiting from their supporters. While alternative festivals in Chicago attract an overwhelming tourist buzz, solely feeding the city’s center, NCMF was created by Chicagoland for Chicagoland to enjoy premier acts without all the traffic. Their junior effort to set the city free from the Lolla’s mainstream stranglehold has this year’s gathering seeming to be the most promising yet. Look for NCMF to steal the crown and rightfully become Chicago’s one and only music festival. So if the family barbeque doesn’t sound too appealing this Labor Day, come celebrate summer’s last stand by raging with the Midwest’s best on the one and only North Coast.


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