Returning to Union Park for its eighth consecutive year, North Coast Music Festival celebrated Labor Day weekend in style with live music and summer vibes. The festival showcased performances from popular hip-hop artists such as Gucci Mane and Lil Dicky, to up and coming electronic artists including Whethan and Saint WKND and even classic alternative bands such as Ween. No matter which genre one prefers, North Coast had something for everyone.
Chicago has been developed a vibrant music festival scene over the past decade, with festivals such as Spring Awakening and North Coast at the forefront. While Spring Awakening has more or less stayed consistent as an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival, North Coast has broadened its horizons through trying to attract a larger audience by diversifying the lineup.
This method has proven to be successful for major festivals such as Lollapalooza, which thrives on having several different genres playing simultaneously to give attendees the freedom to pick from a multitude of styles. However, smaller and younger festivals such as North Coast encounter the struggle of attempting to expand into larger-scale festivals, while still appealing to as many people as possible on a lower budget. This becomes difficult when the festival can only afford a couple of big names, and therefore has to space them out over the entire weekend.
While many of the headlining acts were individual artists such as rappers, singers or DJs, this year’s lineup contained unique bands that spiced up the festival’s genres, including Lettuce, a funk band composed of seven members whose live improvisation and instrumentals were unmatched. The group performed an astounding set filled with fluid and spontaneous solos that had the crowd grooving to their funky vibes from start to finish.
This year’s headliners weren’t as attention-grabbing as previous years, but one name that any electronic music fan couldn’t ignore was Deadmau5, the master of progressive house music. From his brilliant upbeat house hits, such as “Ghosts N’ Stuff,” to his longer ballads filled with dancing arpeggiators and potent melodies, such as “Strobe,” Deadmau5 has been creating classics for over a decade.
If Deadmau5 wasn’t enough, he was joined on stage by house legend Eric Prydz, producer of hits such as “Liberate” and “Call On Me.” The pairing of these two renowned DJs performing together was incredible.
One of the most memorable moments in the festival occurred during The Cool Kids’ performance. The Chicago-based hip-hop group brought out one of the best young artists in America today, Chance the Rapper, and both artists’ styles blended perfectly to make an impressive combination. Chance’s appearance at North Coast was definitely the top surprise guest of the weekend.
Perhaps my favorite act that performed this year was Post Malone, a 22-year-old singer, rapper and songwriter who’s quickly risen to the pinnacle of the popular music scene. Post Malone entered the limelight after the release of his first hit single, “White Iverson,” in February 2015, which paved the way to even more success coming off of his debut album, “Stoney,” released in December 2016. The album is full of downtempo, laidback beats, which exhibit a unique energy through Post Malone’s tuned singing and stylized lyrics.
Throughout his performance, Post Malone effortlessly transformed his signature chill, melodic music into crowd-energizing beats through the intensity and vitality of his vocals. Beginning his set with the popular track “Too Young,” he won the crowd over immediately. Even as a gloomy cluster of rain clouds brought pouring showers halfway into his set, Post Malone continued to perform for his soaked fans who braved the storm. As rain drizzled down over the mass of his followers who were passionately singing along to every word of his closing song, “Congratulations,” I was reminded why I love North Coast by the magic of the moment.
Although the festival had some rough weather and a weaker lineup than previous years, North Coast held its own as an enjoyable festival with a diverse selection of festive music, as well as plenty of room to roam, be free and savor the last remaining moments of summer. North Coast will surely continue on as a sensational festival where everyone can welcome autumn with some of their favorite music.