After a wild summer of festivals, I was relieved when we finally hit the weekend of North Coast Music Festival. One of the more laid-back festivals of the Chicago festival season, North Coast leaned into younger audiences’ changing tastes while still appealing to the older festivalgoers as well, striking a balance that’s hard to truly do well at an all-ages festival. In previous years, I’d associated North Coast primarily with jam bands and dubstep artists, but this year’s lineup was centered on hip hop, R&B, and downtempo electronic music. Rap was well represented by Chicago collective Lyrical Lemonade, who curated a stage with some of the hotter names in rap right now, such as MadeInTYO and Comethazine. A hip hop DJ set from Barclay Crenshaw, the alter ego of Dirtybird label boss Claude VonStroke, was a great addition to the lineup as well. R&B hit the mark with Miguel headlining the festival Friday night, along with OVO-affliated duo DVSN and soulful singer Crywolf. However, North Coast didn’t stray entirely from their roots, booking groups like Vulfpeck and Tauk for the jam band crowd. On Sunday, the crown jewel of the festival, Jamiroquai, drew impressively large swaths of fans to close out this year’s iteration of North Coast Music Festival.
Perhaps the most memorable element of North Coast Music Festival 2018 was an insane, biblical amount of rain. Friday night’s rainstorm was unbelievable, causing delays and evacuations at the festival, and a threat of lightening caused another evacuation on Saturday right before the headliners’ sets. Surprisingly, North Coast Music Festival didn’t seem to suffer too much, with plenty of happy crowdgoers in attendance all three days. I was happy to hang out, enjoy some great music (like an absolutely bonkers RL Grime set), and close out my summer festival season with good vibes and good people. Until next year, North Coast!
Concert Photos: Dale Foster