REVIEW: North Coast Music Festival Experiences Change For The Better

Chicago is no stranger to festivals moving venues to accommodate the ever-changing city rules or unexpected happenings. This year, North Coast Music Festival had to do the same. Partnering with Live Nation, the annual Labor Day festival was moved to Northerly Island. The venue provided an amazing view of the Chicago skyline.

Spring Awakening Music Festival was the first Chicago-based fest to move from its initial location, Soldier Field, to Adams-Medill Park. A few years later, the fest found a home at the Sear Center in Hoffman Estates. The same thing happened with Wavefront Music Festival back in 2014. The festival then was renamed to Mamby on the Beach and was moved 8 miles south of downtown.


Tickets were sold a bit differently this year. A Lawn ticket, which only gave access to the Lawn area behind the grandstands at the mainstage, held one stage (Hangar) and allowed attendees to view the main stage from farther back. Floor ticket holders had access to the mainstage (Pavilion) and the Lawn area.

This was the first time I’ve seen the venue set up like this. Upon passing through security and a few drink and food vendors, attendees come to the main stage. Just behind the area where the audience stood were three grandstands, one to host VIP, that Floor ticket holders may sit down in. Behind these, the Lawn area began.

The ticketing system worked out very well! I believe much of the credit should go to the flexible and friendly crowd and knowledgable Live Nation staff members. The sound operators from Live Nation or the DJs deserve much recognition. The sound quality on the Lawn felt just like being in the main Floor area.

Food, Amenities, ETC.

After meeting up with many friends, and making new ones, each individual had similar answers! Air condition bathrooms were located all around the venue. Drink options were great (Truly, beer, cocktails, mixed drinks, etc). NCMF didn’t have just your basic pizza, burgers, and chicken nuggets; I saw Italian available, BBQ, specialty ice cream and smoothies, more. Each DJ on the lineup played showcased each of their own talents perfectly. Also, as expected, Bassnectar fans showed support for their idol, Lorin.


One thing I hope the organizers adjust for next year would be the Hangar stage. There must be a reason for the location of this particular stage; it was located in a corner of the venue. Because of this, it was hard for concert-goers to enter a crowded tent (if a bigger artist was playing). I walked over to hear Wooli’s set and could not hear nor see him because of the overflow.

In Conclusion

For 10 years now, NCMF has kept the festival season going before the dreary Chicago winter starts. And this year was no different. Thank you to all the organizers, vendors, and workers for their time! I, and many others, feel confident that the festival is here to stay.

Did you attend North Coast Music Festival? Let us know down below!