Photos by: Derek Rickert (Spectral Productions)
Story by: John Verwey
North Coast Music Festival has once again proven why it is the "Summer's Last Stand." Bringing together genres from all across the board; R&B, funk, electronic dance, hip-hop, livetronica and jam bands outline the diversity of year six. Union Park becomes home to over 75 artists during each Labor Day Weekend as they try to fill all the gaps you’ve missed throughout the summer. Continuously bringing some of the top names in the business year after year, they somehow keep outdoing themselves.
In just six short years, they have emerged as one of the must-hit festivals amongst the midwest community and travelers beyond. Taking place September 4-6, this year, React Presents joins forces with Silver Wrapper to bring one of the most diverse lineups all summer to the north side of Chicago. Working with the small amount of space given, they pack in 6 stages with surprisingly minimal sound bleed, giving the festivalgoer various options while wandering around. With the incredible amount of talent they brought fourth this year, it was hard to lay my finger on a favorite part of the weekend.
Friday started off at a slower pace, as the gates opened at 4:30 people stormed the fences after a long day's work. Kicking the weekend off just right, we enjoyed a beautiful Grateful Dead tribute by Joe Russo's Almost Dead heading into a massive EDM takeover by heavy hitters The Glitch Mob and Knife Party. Gathering at the main stage and awaiting the hefty jams from Widespread Panic, they treated fans with a stellar 2-hour set with zero set breaks.
Saturday was wet and damp from an early rain shower, and provided a cool climate change for the festivities ahead. From the special appearances during the afternoon by Michal Menert and Manic Focus we couldn’t be more eager for the night. The funky throw-downs by Turbo Suit and The Roots, the cake throwing antics by Steve Aoki and the soulful R&B closing act by D'Angelo and The Vanguard highlighted a perfect end for Day 2.
Sunday was all over the spectrum; from the heavily influenced hip-hop set by Kill The Noise and freestyle rap by the talented lyricist Atmosphere to the melodic rhythms and spacey sounds by Haywyre, Tycho, and The Disco Biscuits, it was a perfect back and fourth adventure. How could we forget about Snails packing out the 773 Stage in a glorious fashion and The Chemical Brothers playing their first U.S. show in four years, to close it the final day. Combining all the pieces together, it was truly something special to witness.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to see what next year has in store for year seven. With each and every year offering something bigger and better, the possibilities are endless. Take a look back through the wonderful weekend in the Windy City with over 100 photos courtesy of Spectral Productions.