Review: Mamby on the Beach, day 1

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While Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival, and Spring Awakening Music Festival have become essential to Chicago’s summer festival season, some music lovers often find themselves intimidated by the paralyzingly nature of these mega-sized events. Overwhelmingly large crowds, drunken clumsy fans, and tight-knight security are often the recipe for a less than spectacular experience for the expensive price of a wristband, especially those shelling out extra dollars for a VIP package. Luckily, for those who prefer smaller stages and more intimate crowds, Mamby on the Beach has the potential to be the perfect paradise.

Mamby on the Beach markets itself as a weekend-long dance party that showcases some of the best acts from around the world in electronic music. The location for the festival, Oakwood Beach, provided the ultimate getaway atmosphere. Tucked away on the city’s south side just minutes away from Chinatown, the beach boasted acres of lush jade forestry and golden brown sand, making it the perfect turf for festival goers to dance. Unlike the plethora of stages that larger festivals often have, only three stages made up the festival grounds at Mamby on the Beach; “The Beach House” for smaller acts, “The Tent” for slightly larger audiences, and the “Main Stage” for headliners.

Though 2015 marks the launch of Mamby on the Beach, the festival’s lineup boasted world-renowned electronic music acts like Norwegian-producer Cashmere Cat, Venezuela born singer Tei Shi, and Swedish duo Röyskopp. Thanks to the smaller parameters of Oakwood Beach, the chances of seeing each of these acts was also greatly increased as festival attendees flocked from one stage to the other in a matter of minutes.

As soon as festival gates opened at 1 p.m., eager electronic music fans flooded the entrance gates. Girls sported shorter than short shorts, homemade flower crowns, and sandals while guys flexed their muscles in brightly-colored bro tanks, oversized sneakers, and cargo shorts. Many also took advantage of the free shuttle service that offered Loop rides from the Cermak-Chinatown station to the festival grounds.

At “The Beach House” stage, local DJ collective NORdjs blasted their mix of dance, house, and electronic music in the early afternoon for a small yet excited crowd. Historically, earlier slot times at festivals make for smaller and less enthusiastic crowds, but the rambunctious audience that was captured by NORdjs eclectic mixes was a good indication for a long night of fun.

The evening continued with a high-energy set from Cashmere Cat at the “Main Stage”, attracting a crowd so large it trickled into the audience watching acts at “The Tent.” Known for his biggest hit “Adore” with collaborator Ariana Grande, his set consisted of a mix of several popular tracks from DJ Mustard and Kanye West. The crowd was far from disappointed, dancing nonstop during the set while simultaneously waving glow sticks and bouncing beach balls.

As day one of the festival came to a close, hundreds of fans, now drenched from the rain, shuffled back towards to the shuttle buses, ready to rest up for another day of raving.