Festival Report: Mamby on the Beach

Falling between the EDM-focused Spring Awakening and Chicago fest staples Pitchfork and Lollapalooza, Mamby on the Beach carves out a notable space for itself in the summer festival lineup with its own special charm. It’s not strictly limited to electronic music, nor is it totally indie-centric—like the dichotomous venue the second-annual fest calls home, Mamby on the Beach is a mesh of big and small artists, local and international, ranging all the way from techno to alternative rock, playing stages on the grassy park or sunny shore. Oakwood Beach’s picturesque view of the Chicago Skyline gives festgoers a sense of hometown pride—while only in its second year, there’s no denying that Mamby on the Beach is a distinctly “Chicago” festival.


Part of what makes Mamby such an enjoyable festival is the people who attended. Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about Mamby on the Beach was the respectful and fun-loving attitude of the eventgoers—never did I feel frustrated, trampled on, or unsociable at Mamby. The idyllic atmosphere, coupled with a lineup targeted towards Soundcloud-digging scavengers and longtime fans of bands who flew under the radar for too long, created a place where festgoers were there to truly take in the music and jam to some great tunes on the beach. Because of the relaxed vibe, I could really get into the endless array of awesome sets (read: dance-walk wildly as Kaytranada played his “Be Your Girl” remix) without fear of having some turnt-up dudebro attach himself to my backside like some sort of horrible leech that only feeds on ass.

Even the fact that the facilities were so well-kept improved my experience at Mamby. When you’re hot and tired and having to deal with a lot of perspiring humanity for hours on end, walking into a nightmarish Port-a-Potty situation is kind of the worst. So other festivals, take note on that one.

After studying in Scotland for the past four years, Mamby on the Beach was a perfect welcome back to Chicago. The inviting ambience of Mamby, including everything from its well-orchestrated booths and decor to the accessible visibility of the stages, made me understand why everyone who attended last year insisted that it was the best festival in Chicago. Though it just occurred, I’m already gearing up for next year’s Mamby. See you on the beach!


Highlights of the weekend:

Day 1:
Kaytranada (was so excited I was borderline frothing at the mouth) 
Shiba San (cue intensely sweaty dancing)
Miami Horror (funky, fun, with such a positive energy – another must see)
Wild Belle

Day 2: 
Martinez Brothers (I would like to see them every day for the rest of my life, please.)
Mayer Hawthorne (BEYOND AMAZING)
Chrome Sparks
Ryan Hemsworth (but when is he NOT a highlight though, am I right?!)
Derrick Carter (who played a Missy Elliott remix to close his set and I briefly left my body)
Jerry Folk
Chromeo (they played an incredible while the sun set behind them and it was GLORIOUS)
Chet Faker
Santigold (one of the most well-orchestrated festival sets I’ve ever seen. if you have the chance to see her, GO. NOW.)

Check out Mamby on the Beach on Facebook for photos, videos, and updates on next year’s festival.

All photos courtesy of Mamby on the Beach.

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