This year, Oakwood Beach was the home of Chicago\’s Mamby on the Beach music festival. The 2-day, multi-stage fest took place over July 2nd and 3rd on Chicago\’s lakefront. With perfect weather and an expansive lineup, Mamby was headed for a successful second year installment. With 3 stages and a silent disco, Mamby held home to a wide variety of artists this 4th of July weekend: headliners featured Chet Faker, Animal Collective, Milky Chance, Santigold, Tale of Us and Loco Dice. An impressive lineup of support included Lido, Thomas Jack, Chrome Sparks, Lupe Fiasco, Atmosphere, Tycho, and Shiba San, just to name a few.
Upon passing through security and entering the festival grounds, attendees were greeted with live art installations, a psychic holding tarot card readings, yoga, and even a place to get your hair braided. This grassy walkway was just the beginning of the festival grounds: once passed, fest-goers were greeted with the Silent Disco surrounded by a plethora of food vendors with Chicago staples like Cheesie\’s and Da Lobsta.
Mamby on the Beach featured three stages this year and a silent disco. The Beach stage (the main stage), the Park stage, and the MixMag DJ Tent. After I made it through the grassy walkway entrance and past the festival-goers showing off their yoga moves, I decided to check out the Park stage first. Sitting on a grassy flat stood tall black scaffolding holding a sign reading the name of stage with banners on the side decorated to Mamby\’s accord. Lany, an alternative dream pop band from LA was playing a set that deserved more of an audience than the 50 people in the crowd. This band single handedly had me excited for the acts in store for the rest of the weekend.
After Lany\’s set wrapped up, it was time to make my way to the sandy beach to check out the MixMag DJ Tent and of course, the main stage. Kaytranada had just begun his set at the MixMag DJ Tent when I made my way under the giant white cover. The stage was lit up with tall LED pillars, and Kaytranada himself had the crowd captivated with some bass-filled funk. From there, it was time to head to the main stage. It was just about time for Thomas Jack to take the stage, and I was curious to hear what the tropical house poster-boy would bring to the table. His set began, and just like he promised in the interview, his set rang full of new house music.
The first night of Mamby rounded out with performances from Shiba San, Atmosphere, and Wild Belle. Not to forget, Lido who surprised the Chicago crowd with our very own Chance the Rapper.
As the sun set behind the city, Animal Collective took to the Park stage for what I deemed the best performance of the weekend. With three keyboards set up on the front of the stage and a drum kit placed not far behind, the four-man band rocked a truly captivating – and interesting – set. With a quick \”thank you Chicago\” to round out the performance, I headed over to the main stage to catch Milky Chance perform their hit song \”Stolen Dance\” over a backdrop of exploding fireworks on the lake. Day one was done, and I was more than ready for day two.
Sunday morning brought cloudy skies and 75 degree weather to Oakwood Beach, and Mamby opened its gates to an eager public. Strolling down the long grassy walkway to the festival grounds, I immediately set my sites on the Park stage to catch Chrome Sparks in the 2:15 timeslot. The minimalistic, dreamlike live set was a fantastic way to kick off the second day of the festival. As Chrome Sparks wrapped up, I decided to head over to FKJ at the main stage to catch some funky live music. Gallant took the stage not long after to captivate the audience with soulful songs, and before I knew it, there were four hours left of Mamby on the Beach.
From Gallant\’s set, I headed back to the Park stage to catch Betty Who, a woman whose music I was unfamiliar with. The Australian power-pop singer took me by surprise: her voice and her band did not disappoint, even to someone like me who tends to stray away from pop music. It was finally time to catch the big acts of the night: Lupe Fiasco, Chromeo and Chet Faker. Lupe Fiasco hit the crowd with his 10-year-old \”Kick Push\”, leaving everyone with a smile on their face. Chromeo took the main stage by storm with their fancy footwork, allowing the crowd to show off their own to pulsing electro-funk music.
The sun eventually set, and I chose Chet Faker as my final act of the weekend. With mellow vibes and great vocals, Chet Faker was a great way to round out Mamby on the Beach. Playing hits like \”I\’m Into You\” and \”The Trouble With Us\”, he had the crowd dancing and singing until 10pm rolled around.
Though a smaller scale festival, Mamby on the Beach definitely held its own. With plenty of space to dance and respectful festival goers (thank you, 18+ age limit), I genuinely had a fantastic time. The second year of React Present\’s festival impressed me: Mamby on the Beach was a musical experience for much more than one genre, rather than just electronic music, and it had an act for everyone. To React Presents and everyone who helped the festival run so smoothly, I commend you on a great two days. On behalf of myself and EDM Chicago, we eagerly await to see the lineup for Mamby 2017.
Make sure to check out some amazing photos from the festival below.