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North Coast 2022

North Coast Delivers Vibes, Goosebumps, and Headbanging Galore 

by Tanya Rincon

With Labor Day being the official end of the summer season, the national festival scene was absolutely bursting! I found myself attending North Coast Music Festal over the ever-so-important party weekend in Chicago. Held at SeatGeek Stadium, North Coast came out swinging with a FAT lineup that had a bit of flavor for every kind of raver. With the holiday weekend finally arriving, thousands of partygoers descended on the stadium. 

Logistics were pretty stellar and they used the space allotted efficiently to make a total of six stages fit together well. The Stadium and Vega stages offered a barrage of fireworks and pyrotechnics, the Chill Dome provided a trippy place to cool down during the day, the Fire Pit stage burned with heavy drops (and fire…duh), the Canopy stage brought an ethereal feel to every set, and the Silent Disco gave you place to dance to the beat of different drums. There may have been a dash of sound bleed-over as you commuted from stage to stage, but that was but a whisper of a concern once you reached your destination.

Art installations could be found throughout the festival grounds, each breathing new life as the day turned into night. The Giant tree-man sat at the back of the Canopy stage, with little surprises throughout his trunk for those willing to adventure closer. Near him was the Sky Fields, a multicolored tunnel of streaming fabric. This path was spellbinding as the winds kept the fabric in constant motion.

North Coast – The Sky Fields

As a disabled raver, I do have a rather unique list of “musts” when reviewing a festival experience. The ADA accommodations were pretty great and I do feel the disabled attendees’ experience was taken into consideration, but there is definitely room to improve. With priority access and viewing platforms galore, much of the festival was easily accessible. However, I couldn’t access the Stadium stage without the assistance of my awesome husband and some seriously amazing staff members. Two-second shoutout to the incredible staff working all weekend! They were so helpful and kind, always willing to answer questions and point me in the right direction. 

While I wish I could enchant you with a long-winded tale of my weekend full of adventure… I’ve put together a list of all the best highlights to keep things short and sweet! 

Surprise Moments 

We can always vote ourselves as the number one fan of “INSERT ARTIST NAME HERE”, but there is always room for surprises in a performance no matter how many times you’ve seen someone play live. These are our top three surprises of the weekend! 

Subtronics was a whole wompy vibe! The wook inside me was beyond stoked to let it hang out for a while. He had me absolutely hollering when he sampled Darude’s “Sandstorm“, which I am always down for, but then hit us with a hilarious track scratch and “PSYCH!” And then dropped us right back into that dubby wook shit.

With Svdden Death taking on his VOYD persona for his Sunday evening performance, I wasn’t betting on hearing house peppered in. Sampling Fisher’s Losin It” in the midst of a trip to the other world is not a blend you’d pair up naturally, but it made for a truly demonic moment. My jaw dropped with this surprise! His set was a terrifyingly heavy voyage into the depths of hell, which was everything I had prayed for and more.

North Coast Sudden Death VOYD
North Coast – Svdden Death – VOYD

The entirety of Illenium’s set! I say that with not one single ounce of sarcasm. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Illenium each festival season for the past five years and it’s been such a joy to watch him evolve. As a major headliner for the weekend with a literal army of fans in attendance, also known as “Illenials”, he really had some big expectations to meet. He has truly grown into a five-star performer. His crowd work was top-notch and paired so wonderfully with the eclectic samples he chose for the evening. With so many of his tracks becoming routine samples across the EDM world, Illenium has permanently cemented himself as a legendary artist.

Nostalgia Moments

Music holds memories so beautifully which makes the wide range of samples throughout the weekend as unique as we are people. Here are the top three moments that washed over us with nostalgia and gave us goosebumps! 

I’ve already gushed about the wooky set that Subtronics delivered but it was his take on the Daft Punk classic “One More Time” that really stood out for me. He pulled the popular techno beat into a fire headbanging beat. Did everyone go wild? Yes, absolutely. Thankfully this delicious sample was paired perfectly with onstage flames to bring an explosive experience! 

With a strong Anjuna presence over the weekend, Jason Ross was sure to pay homage to the boys of Above & Beyond. He transformed their 2010 hit “Thing Called Love” into a heavy, dirty DnB remix. I only wish I could have stayed in that moment a little bit longer to soak in the aggressive, yet comforting energy. 

HVDES entire. damn. set! A friend of mine described her vibe as emo dubstep and that couldn’t be more accurate. With samples from Evanescence, Green Day, and Nickleback, she held back nothing as she slaughtered us with wave after wave of nostalgic moments. The Elder Emos were alive and well (but dead inside at the same time). While this was my first time seeing HVDES, her performance was so outstanding that she will be a name I forever search for on every upcoming lineup.

North Coast HVDES
North Coast – HVDES

Milestone Moments 

With the weekend bursting with nostalgia and surprises, there is one last category to dive into. Following an artist’s journey is a privilege, especially when you are in attendance for a milestone moment. North Coast brought us a handful of memorable and notable moments that we are sure will hold a place in everyone’s hearts. 

As a proud member of the AnjunaFamily, you know I was ready to be at the front rail for all the Anjuna sets of the weekend. But being literally taken into clouds during Lutrell’s set is an experience I’ll never forget! Storm clouds hung over the festival all weekend, threatening to downpour at any minute. Just as Lutrell settled into his set, the winds whipped up and some rain sprinkled about. Lutrell, and his trademark mustache, piloted the Anjuna boat straight through the storm!

North Coast - Luttrell
North Coast – Luttrell

Jai Wolf is another artist who I have followed from the start of their career. As a seriously humble creator, he tends to spend his sets deep in the music and rarely speaks. During his North Coast performance, he took some time to reflect on the fact that this was his final stop on The Cure To Loneliness Live tour. With this chapter as an artist having roots in 2019, this was indeed a milestone moment for Jai Wolf and his fans. During the final 10 minutes of his timeslot, you could tell he was pouring every last ounce of himself into the music. I can only dream of what the next chapter of creativity Jai Wolf is about to dive into. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Slander was celebrating the eve of their US tour, set to kick off the following weekend in Phoenix. Between moments featuring some gritty screamo and others featuring emotionally melodic energy, you can tell they have been workshopping their sound. While we may not have been in attendance for The Thrive Tour, I’m sure we got a little sneak peek into what the duo has prepared. I’m definitely jealous I won’t be catching any of The Thrive Tour stops. 

Overall, the crowd, the venue, and the music were beyond what I could have hoped. Until next Labor Day weekend, I’ll be holding these memories tight and counting down the days till I’m back on the dancefloor. To dive further into the North Coast experience, check out our full photo album from the weekend

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