I’ve never been to a music festival before so you can bet that I was really excited when I got the opportunity to be a photographer at North Coast Music Festival this year.
For those of you who don’t know, North Coast Music Festival (or NCMF) is a music festival that is held annually on the last weekend of August. The music festival is located in Union Park right off of the Ashland CTA train stop in Chicago. North Coast just celebrated it’s fifth anniversary this summer. The festival lasts for three days and it highlights a wide variety of known and unknown musical acts, featuring genres such as rap, indie, reggae, instrumental, and EDM. I didn’t know what to expect when I went to North Coast, but let me just tell you, I had a blast!
When I first stepped onto the festival grounds, I was overwhelmed by the amount of things that were going on around me. I arrived at North Coast ready to brave a storm (raincoat and all), but then realized very quickly that that was not needed. Contrary to the news, the weather was great throughout the entire weekend and I was more than relieved.
There were multiple musicians playing sets at the same time, artists spray painting murals, lots of food trucks and merchandise venders, and hundreds of concert-goers or “Coasties” everywhere. There were all types of people there, some dressed in unique costumes, some dressed in rave gear, and others dressed in more bohemian-inspired festival outfits. Although there were a lot different kinds of people, everyone was there for the same reason: to enjoy music and to have fun.
Though there were people who only attended one or two days of North Coast, many people were there to experience all three days of the festival, myself included. Before I went to North Coast, I only knew a few of the musicians that were performing there (I initially went there knowing only about Kid Cudi, Little Dragon, Bassnectar, Lettuce, Washed Out, Riff Raff, and Snoop Dogg), but after I saw a lot of the performances, I instantly became a fan of many of the musicians.
Some musicians that I became a fan of after being at North Coast include: Wild Belle, Midnight Conspiracy, Papadosio, Future Islands, Cashmere Cat, Alex Wiley, The New Deal, and Dr Dog. Those who know me are well aware that I have a strong bias towards alternative and rock music, but after listening to all of these very talented musicians, I started to appreciate a lot of the other genres as well.
My favorite performance out of all of the ones I’ve seen at North Coast is definitely Little Dragon’s show. The lead singer, Yukimi Nagano, put on a fun and energetic one-hour set and did not disappoint. My second favorite performance would go to Dr Dog. This was the first time that I have heard of the band. As I watched them perform, I was instantly pulled in by their indie-folk-rock sound and stayed for almost their whole set to photograph them. One other group that I absolutely loved was Wild Belle. Wild Belle has a very unique folk-jazz-reggae sound which was very refreshing to hear. Although I missed most of their performance, I was glad that I was at least able to catch their last song “Keep You” which also happens to be my favorite song by them. After hearing them live, Wild Belle has become one of my favorite bands.
Overall, I had a great time at North Coast Music Festival. I got to see some of my favorite musicians, discover new musical acts, make new friends, and I even got to capture all of these moments on film. You can bet that I’ll be going back next year. I’ll see you coasties in 2015!
(All photos taken by Pearl Shin)
**Edit: Photos are now available on the UIC Radio Facebook Page