Initially announced with very little fanfare in March, an event billing itself as "Summer's Last Stand, the inaugural North Coast Music Festival" is set to move into the West Side's Union Park, site of the much better known Pitchfork Music Festival in July, on Labor Day Weekend, with an eclectic bill of dance, hip-hop, and jam bands taking the stage from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3, and from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday Sept. 4 and 5.
A new venture by a group of relatively untested promoters -- the Congress Theatre is the most familiar name on a list that also includes React, Silver Wrapper, Metronome Chicago, Kingtello, and Cold Grums Proudly Announce... -- the festival will be headlined by aging electronic dance mavens the Chemical Brothers, rapper Nas and superstar reggae progeny Damian Marley, and the jam-crazy Umphrey's McGee.
"Each summer, Chicago festivals offer iconic settings and undeniable mainstream, alternative, and indie acts," according to a statement issued by promoters early Tuesday (and clearly referencing both Pitchfork and Lollapalooza). "But [the] Midwest's most fervent and insatiable music fans beg for a blend of the flavors offered at these fests, and at gatherings from Indio, California, to Brooklyn, New York.
To that end, the festival also will host Disco Biscuits, a DJ set by Moby, Pretty Lights, Benny Benassi, Paul Van Dyk, Cold War Kids, De La Soul, Mayer Hawthorne & the County, Jay Electronica, Boys Noize, Flying Lotus, Benga, Jakob Dylan & Three Legs, Laidback Luke, Future Rock, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Green Velvet, Phantogram, Van Ghost, Two Fresh, the Uglysuit , Loyal Divide, Paul Kalkbrenner, Orchard Lounge, and the perennial "plus more to be added."
Tickets are on sale now for $65 for a three-day pass via ClubTix, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organization Urban Initiatives. More information is available on the festival's Web site.
With all of the talk of "festival glut" (read: outdoor music overkill) in the concert industry, can Chicago really sustain another major festival like Lollapalooza or Pitchfork? And are the promoters aware of the many (many, many) obstacles that the city puts in the way of cutting-edge music events in terms of licensing and all the other bureaucratic joys? These are just two of many interesting questions to watch play out in the coming months.
Meanwhile, another well-established Chicago music fest also announced its lineup Tuesday.
By far the most family-friendly of any of the summer festivals -- and no, I do not consider "Kidzapalooza" to be a particularly welcoming place for the young ones -- the Old Town School of Folk Music's Folk & Roots Festival will take place as always in Welles Park at 4400 N. Lincoln on Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11.
This year's main-stage lineup includes, on Saturday, the 8th Annual Midwest Invitational Fiddle Contest; the Hoyle Brothers; James King Band; Red Stick Ramblers; Gingarte Capoeira Chicago; Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int'l; Shemekia Copeland, and the Budos Band, and on Sunday, Wiggleworms' 25th Birthday Party; Wazo County Warblers & the Fly Boys; the Boils; Sanctified Grumblers; Andreas Kapsalis & Goran Ivanovic Guitar Duo; Leonard Jacome; Red Baraat; Les Saltimbanks, and Etran Finatawa.
The Dance Tent on Saturday will feature Zumba with Isabel, West African Dance with Idy, Cajun Dance Basics with Louis, the Malfecteurs, Tango Lesson with Netza, Bollywood with Alka, and a Brazilian Dance Party with Dill, and on Sunday, Hip-Hop and Urban Social Dance with Boogie, Midday at the Oasis with Erika & Layali Arabia, Family Barn Dance, Welles Park Folkloric Dancers, Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society, Zapateado Lesson with Lorena, and Fandango with Sones de Mexico.
The lineup in the Kids Tent is, on Saturday, Wiggleworms in the Park, Irish Step Dance with John, Human Tim + Robot Tim, Little Polynesia with Lanialoha Lee, Moona Luna, Kids Rhythm Circle with Lenny, and the Welles Park Special Recreation Musicians, and on Sunday, the Tricia Sebastian Band, Jazz Dance Party with Miss Nancy, Shimmy Down in Lindsay Town, HooRaRa! Haitian Dance for Kids with Dan, Family Drum Circle with Rick and Rockabilly for Kids with the Bops.
In the Nuestra Musica Tent, on Saturday, there's Jarochicanos, Hugo Gutierrez, Javier Mendez "Dedos de Oro," Grupo Cumbe, Mariachi Perla de Mexico and the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company, and Pistolera, and on Sunday, Raiz Viva, Trio Los Primos, Son Peru, Ramon Marino, Swing Brasileiro and Brazilian dancers, Rene Cardoza, and Leonard Jacome.
Finally, in the Gazebo, Saturday features Old Time Slow Jam with Danny, West African Drumming with Taylor, Jazz Ensemble with David, Teen Open Mic Showcase with Cybele, Gram Parsons Ensemble with Bob and Tom, "Tommy" Singalong with John and Cathy, and Cajun Jam with the Red Stick Ramblers and the Malfecteurs, and on Sunday, Celebrating Tradition with the Pickin' Bubs, the Woody Guthrie Folk Jam with Mark, Golden Country Singalong with Rita, the Third Half with Scott and Dan, Van Morrison Ensemble with Alton, Grateful Dead Ensemble with Steve, and Beatles Ensemble with Steve.
The suggested donation for adults' admission is $10, $5 for seniors and children, and more information is available on the Old Town School's Web site.