Summer may be coming to a close, but Chicago sure did go out with a bang in form of the North Coast Music Festival.
Labeled as “Summer’s Last Stand”, the North Coast Music Festival took place over Labor Day weekend at Union Park. Thousands of festival-goers flooded into the park to not only experience the best of the best in music, but also art, and only the best cuisine Chicago has to offer.
Every turn you took, there was awesome artwork to be found. Unique sculptures could be seen and posed next to the baseball field, which caused many Instagram posts to be captured. Like the previous year, The Silent Disco also played host to many local artists paintings. Across the park was The Pop Up Gallery – a gallery where people could do a walkthrough and view many pieces with having the option to purchase anything that caught their eye. I found displaying artwork throughout the park gave attendees the reason to take the long roads when making their way from stage to stage to stage.
When it comes to North Coast’s lineup, it may have last year’s edition beat. Many acts from many different genres (Alternative, Hip Hop/Rap, EDM) were all showcased during the 3-Day festival. Saturday’s lineup included the music legends Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and Big Boi simply rocked their respectively sets. Over on the Coast Stage, joined by Sleepy Brown, Big Boi flowed through tracks from his solo albums and also performed classic Outkast tracks such as So fresh, So clean, which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. Damian Marley made his presence felt with a powerful and bass heavy set that had the entire crowd vibing throughout. Taking a moment from performing tracks from his latest album Stony Hill, Damian made it clear how appreciative he was to be in Chicago. The hour set included amazing covers of some Bob Marley fan favorites and the breakout single of “Gongzilla”, Welcome To Jamrock. Saturday night also saw a heavy downpour of rain. Mere minutes after Post Malone took the stage for his set, Union Park was hit hard. Post joked about the rain to encourage his fans to brave it out stating “ I think it feels kinda good”.
Sunday at North Coast could be described as a nice chill day with some “dope beats” mixed with an international flare. During the afternoon portion, hardcore fans flocked over to see the reunion of The Cool Kids. After taking a break from the group for several years, both Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks announced in late 2016 that the band was getting back together.
This would be their first festival show in Chicago in 2017, so it was only right that they demolished their set with new and classic heat. The new heat comes from The Cool Kids’ third studio album Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe due out on September 15th. As a fan of the group for many years and after hearing the awesome Hulk Hogan diss Chuck Inglish spit on stage, it’s a no-brainer The Cool Kids are back like they never left.
Everywhere you turned in Union Park, there was legit music everywhere, and there was music for everyone’s tastes. This year saw the addition of a new stage that changed music styles each day – The stage on Friday was the House Tent featuring Gene Farris and more, Saturday saw the tent transform into the Bass Tent and Sunday was the Beats Tent.
Every time Hippie Sabotage is in the Chi, you can guarantee the group will draw a huge crowd. Kevin wasted no time climbing off the stage to rock with the crowd while Jeff handed the decks. Jeff would also step from behind the booth to play his guitar. Hippie Sabotage’s energy is unmatched when it comes to the EDM scene; it’s not just track to track or a just a standard mix – there’s levels to it.
British grime artist, Boy Betta Know Sgt, and as of recent a Nike partner can all described Skepta. Coming all the way from London, Skepta set the stage ablaze, rocking his signature Nike Air Max 97 ‘SK’ and Chicago sweatshirt kicking off his set with Konnichiwa from his fourth studio album of the same name. This was die-hard Skepta crowd – this was evident during It Ain’t Safe as Skepta would ask his DJ to restart the track twice and each time the audience reaction grew louder.
There was never a moment to breath, it was hit after hit. Nearing the end of his set, Skepta brought out his brother Shorty who performed What’s Going On and hyped everyone up during Skepta’s final two songs, Shutdown and Man. Before leaving, the “Hypocrisy” rapper thanked Chicago for rocking with him and music.
In my opinion, this year’s North Coast Music Festival was one for the books – Great lineup, good eats, and an amazing atmosphere. Also, much kudos to the staff and security as I can report from my end that there were no cases of gate-hoppers unlike last year. If you’re looking for a low-key festival with great artists with none of the filler, schedule North Coast into your calendar for next year.
Check out photos from North Coast Music Festival 2017 below
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Tre G, the Journalisy Without A Beat. Got an entertainment tip, product to review or story to tell? Send all inquiries over to to journalistwithoutabeat.com