After taking a year off, North Coast Music Fest was back for its 11th year. And this time, NCMF was bigger than ever. Over three jam-packed days, the fest took place in (and outside) SeatGeek Stadium, in Bridgeview, IL. The main stage was in the stadium where fest-goers could dance on the massive playing field, or watch from the stands. Outside of the stadium there was four more stages, with non-stop performances, as well as art-installations, shops, interactive experiences and more. After a year and a half of isolation at home, it was just what the festival fans needed to let out that built up energy.
The main attraction is always the music, so of course North Coast did not skimp on the talent. The headliners over the three days, Kaskade, Griz and Zeds Dead, brought the funk. Seeing a stadium full of people groove in unison is such a transcendent experience. If the pandemic isolated people, NCMF was there to reunite people in harmony.
The other stages outside of the stadium: The Canopy, The Vega, The Panky Rang Bus and the Silent Disco had similar vibes. The Panky Rang Bus was literally a bus with a DJ booth on top. It was located in the crossroads between The Vega and the stadium. With DJs playing music all day & night in the middle of the field, it was easy to forget where you were going and loose yourself for a bit. Only positive vibes.
Let’s talk about stage production for a second. To enhance the head-banging music, there were epic lasers, smoke cannons, ten foot flames and fireworks. The stadium stage shows also had massive monitors to display custom artwork that were just as epic as the music. The production work along with the music takes the festival goer to another dimension.
Don’t forget to take a selfie in front of the art installations. North Coast always brings in really cool looking installations that glow when the sun sets so that attendees can admire, appreciate, contemplate all the art, but most importantly take selfies with it.
And don’t forget about the fashion, which has become a highlight of NCMF. People go all out, with different wardrobes for each day. The skimpier the better. Lots of neon, leopard print, fishnets, costumes, butterfly wings, cowboy hats that light up, and lots and lots of glitter.
The most memorable perfomances were:
The biggest surprise of the weekend was when 4x NBA Champion and NBA MVP Shaquille O’Neil came out to perform a DJ set. One would think that Shaq wouldn’t have time to know how to rock a crowd since he is too busy with numerous TV gigs, but the NCMF was way into it. Jumping, bopping and going nuts. Score another championship for Shaq.
On Sunday night DJ and Producer REZZ took the stage with her trade-mark glowing goggles. The stage production during her set really stood out even among a weekend of great productions. The stadium was literally shaking during her set.
Saturday’s headliner was Griz. The fact that he will jump up on the DJ booth during his set to throw down a saxophone solo really makes him unique. It is one of the more distinctive styles in all of music and the crowd was over-the-top excited to see it.
The thing that keeps people coming back to North Coast Music Fest the most is the vibe. It’s just a great place to spend a weekend with your friends having the time of your life. And we all deserve that, right?
Photos by K. Joseph Fotos. Full Gallery Here.