North Coast Music Festival 2023 was outside of the Chicago downtown area over, which actually made it better because it had a lot of open space. The proximity from stage-to-stage made it really easy for people to get from one place to the next, and every stage had a completely different vibe with high production value and plenty of space.
There was really never a time that you felt crowded or you felt really far away from the stage. It was very evenly spaced out and well designed, with no mud or dust.
The main stage was inside a stadium, the field had a hard shell that made for a nice firm dance floor to cut lose. It was moving in all nooks of the arena. The concession area of the stadium was a vibe too, you could get drinks in the back, sit in a seat and be elevated to take in the massive show.
The VIP areas were really good. They gave us super high-tier access to the front of the stages and it was certainly worth the VIP money without a doubt. The lineup was great. A lot of smash, a lot of dubstep and dub type music. It went late into the night to midnight, so it was a totally immersive great time and it started early enough in the day to catch the sunset.
On Saturday, The Stadium packed a bass music fueled roster from start to finish. From Maddy O’Neal, Esseks, Inzo, and Of The Trees to Black Tiger Sex Machine, Ganja White Night and a true highlight of the weekend, the closing set from Zeds Dead.
Day 3 The Stadium showcased the vast spectrum of electronic music with stellar performances from Rossy, EVAN GIIA, Dabin and Alison Wonderland to GRAMMY winning act Flume rounding out the festival on a high note dropping rememberable tunes, “Rushing Back,” and “Never Be Like You.”
Day 1 at The Vega, with a new stage design and layout, showcased a WAKAAN label takeover with sets from Cannabliss, Jantsen, Wreckno, Champagne Drip, and Lab Group followed by the label master Liquid Stranger.
Saturday, The Vega offered a house music haven with sets from Sherm, HUGEL, Surf Mesa, and Chris Lorenzo, while MK and DJ Snake blew the crowd past the roof to close out the night. Day 3 at The Vega summoned LAYZ, Wuki, ATLiens, NGHTMRE (solo set) followed by Big Gigantic in GIGANTIC NGHTMRE.
For its 2023 edition, North Coast Music Festival also debuted a brand new stage called The Shipyard. On Friday and Saturday The Shipyard hosted Aluna, Yung Bae, BLOND:ISH, Gordo, Duke Dumont, Jerro, Le Youth, Sultan + Shepard, as well a highlight, hybrid DJ/live performance from Elderbrook and a closing set from Lane 8.
Then Sunday The Shipyard provided the atmosphere for Chris Lake’s Black Book Records imprint took over with Miane, Kyle Watson, and Cloonee, before closing out the stage himself for one of the highly-attended performances of the entire weekend.
This year’s North Coast Music Festival brought back beloved experiential elements like The Giant, a remarkable tree man sculpture by Paul Khan, serving as the centerpiece of The Silent Disco area. The festival also reintroduced the kinetic Zephyrs backdrop and The Rainbow Lounge, an illuminated circle of hammocks suspended around scaffolding.
Additionally, attendees enjoyed the return of the NCMF Yacht Club, complete with interior rooms, a bar, and a top deck for panoramic views of The Shipyard stage, along with hidden gems like Club Coast, a speakeasy accessible via daily passwords on the North Coast app, and the Pixel Path, a mesmerizing set of large, glow-in-the-dark cubes lining the main pathway.
In closing, North Coast brought plenty of space, spots to park, super happy upbeat youthful attendees, everybody was super nice and respectful and overall a great dance music experience.
North Coast Music Festival 2023 Photo Tour
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