Toast to the North Coast: Preview of Summer’s Last Stand


As the seasons turn so will the disc jockeys at the Midwest’s freshest city festival. During the upcoming Labor Day weekend (August 29th-31st) our fair city of Chicago is throwing 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 from hip-hop to electronic to indie rock and back again, hosting more than 60 bands, MCs and DJs makes west loop the place to be on labor day weekend.

When the fest was a rookie, five years ago, promoters were practically giving these tickets away, but now prices have skyrocketed for 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 in addition to booking. On this go-round NCMF encompasses an irresistible lineup including the reigning champ Bassnectar as well as a variety of high-quality acts like Kid Cudi, STS9, Snoop Lion (Yea that’s right), Slightly Stoopid, The New Deal, Emancipator Ensemble, Papadosio, Talib Kweli, Lettuce, The Floozies, Future Rock and Boombox. Not to mention those groups like Dopapod, The Motet and Break Science who have yet to receive the notice they so deserve.

Despite the citywide ordinance calling for a 10pm noise curfew, production companies have tactfully arranged for after-parties at the surrounding venues. By granting followers of certain styling’s with the chance to see private shows with 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; Sound Tribe at The House of Blues or Wick-It The Instigator at Bottom Lounge to name a few. If this isn’t enough to get you stoked then perhaps the mighty return of Toronto-natives The New Deal from a long hiatus will. Their Saturday night after-party performance at Concord Music Hall with Cosby Sweater and Auto Body will certainly be the most intriguing and most wanted ticket of the weekend.

Many fail to realize that NCMF is supported by a handful of independent-promoters; React Presents, Silver Wrapper, Cold Gums Productions, Kingtello and Metronome Chicago, form a genuine festi that solely supports the local community. This group founded NCMF five seasons 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 counterparts would never even dream of has “the other Chicago festival” looking very attractive to working inter-city professionals and young festi-goers alike. This is exactly why 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. So if the family barbeque doesn’t sound too appealing this Labor Day Weekend, come celebrate summer’s last stand by raging with the Midwest’s best on the one and only North Coast.