For the last few years, Labor Day Weekend has been blessed with one of Chicago\’s most anticipated end-of-summer events. North Coast Music Festival has quickly turned into a tradition and something massive to look forward to.

I am not exaggerating when I say massive; North Coast has gotten HUGE. The lineup is stacked, the grounds itself have expanded, and there is much more to do. Three-day passes sold out earlier this month; more people eye North Coast as a legitimate music event now more than ever before.

Since the lineup is beyond loaded with talent, we thought we\’d provide you some shows to see along with their proper set times and a little background information. Considering that we mainly cover dance music, we\’re leaving out some acts; still, you shouldn\’t disregard legends like Snoop Dogg or Slightly Stoopid. With that being said, I present to you:

EDM Chicago\’s 5 Acts You Should Check Out At North Coast.


5. What So Not

Future Bass has taken over the summer. The genre consists of hip-hop built beats with an array of warm synths. It is sometimes referred to as \”Australian trap\” and there is a sure reason behind it. There\’s no doubt that the Aussies have taken the up and coming genre to the mainstream. In front of the Aussie trap raid lies What So Not, a side project of the young sensation Flume. Their huge collaboration with RL GrimeTell Me, has been implemented in many sets over the course of this year. Check this Aussie duo out on Friday at the 630 Stage from 5:30 – 6:30 PM.


4. W&W

Following up What So Not\’s performance is Willem and Ward of Dutch duo W&W. First emerging as trance producers supported by the legendary Armin van Buuren, these guys are not to be disregarded; if you like thumping, stadium shaking, big-room house, W&W is the right choice for you. They have yet to play a proper festival in the actual city of Chicago; let\’s give them a warm welcome on Friday at the 630 Stage from 6:30 – 7:30.


3. Cashmere Cat

I don\’t really know how to introduce Cashmere Cat; I guess I can really just say that his music makes me quite happy. The quirky, fun sounds blended with well-produced hip-hop beats make for a fun time. His work has a perfect balance of love-making beauty and high energy. Expect to get weird with Cashmere Cat on Saturday at the 630 Stage from 6:45 – 7:45.


2. Zeds Dead

One of the most talented and original dubstep-orientated acts around have to be Zeds Dead. The Toronto-based duo has been around for quite some time; the improvements they\’ve made over the last year are nothing short of spectacular. From the first time I saw them in 2012 when they just started to become well-known, to seeing them headline Electric Forest 2 months ago, they have fully developed as producers and performers to bring absolute mind-blowing live sets. The best thing about them? They\’ve kept their distinct sound alive throughout the years, only tweaking and evolving it to be above the current norm of dance music. You can catch their genre-blending set on Sunday at the 773 Stage from 7:45 – 9:00.


1. Bassnectar

What Bassnectar brings to the table (or festival grounds in this matter) cannot be duplicated by any artist in the music sphere as a whole. Lorin Ashton is a musical genius; taking roots from the farthest genres and smashing them head-first is what Lo does best. Who would have known heavy metal hip-hop would be so appealing? I wouldn\’t even call his music dubstep; let\’s just call it bass. If this is your first Bassnectar live show, prepare yourself; buckle your seat belt, because you\’re in for a rowdy treat. Lo brings more to the scene than just sensational music; enjoying Bassnectar is being part of the culture. BassHeads from all over the country travel to see him multiple times throughout the year; you can join the family, too. Welcome to the judgement-free zone: a place where you can simply get weird. Lo closes out the festival on Friday at the 312 Stage from 8:30 – 10:00.


Without a doubt, North Coast is my favorite festival Chi-Town has to offer. It feels like a scaled-down version of Lollapalooza with an exponentially better crowd. Different genres of music come together to create a friendly environment welcoming those who live for raging and newcomers from all around. Whether you\’re immersing yourself into the Living Arts Gallery, stopping by the fan-favorite Grassroots California booth, or just frolicking around Union with your friends, North Coast is a blast every ticking minute.

I hope everyone has a safe and superb North Coast experience! Whether you\’re a first year Coastie or a fifth-year veteran, we all come together to celebrate music and family hand-in-hand.

In case you wondering how to navigate the festival grounds, here\’s a map of all the stages and key locations; be sure to hydrate at the water stations. We care about all of our readers\’ well-being!

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