[Festival Review] North Coast Festival 2023 Was An Unforgettable Music Spectacle

This past Labor Day weekend from September 1-3, attendees at North Coast Festival were awestruck by a flawlessly crafted music experience. The Bridgeview, Illinois festival delivered its most monumental installment yet, which solidified it as the ultimate Labor Day electronic music event in the nation.

Every aspect of the festival felt expertly planned and carefully thought out. This is especially comforting considering the rise of logistical issues that were recently reported at other events. Ravers can confidently invest in this festival, knowing that they are in good hands with organizers who consistently deliver high-quality experiences.

After decompressing from the whirlwind of dancing and taking in all the remarkable musical moments of the weekend, we want to reflect on our favorite aspects of North Coast. Read on for a stroll down memory lane and to get a taste of the magic of the festival. Whether you were one of the lucky members of the Coast Fam this year or haven’t had the chance to attend yet, you will find it abundantly clear that North Coast is the place to be.

One of the major selling points that makes North Coast a premier destination is how easily accessible the festival is. Longtime ravers know the struggle of attending remote festivals, so the ease of getting to North Coast was highly welcomed. Located at SeatGeek Stadium which is approximately 30 minutes away from both Chicago and O’Hare airport, the festival is convenient while serving as a getaway from the chaos of the crowded city.

There are a variety of surrounding hotels to choose from. Nothing compares to coming back from the festival to a comfortable bed and a clean place to shower every day! As far as entering the festival grounds, security felt efficient and streamlined each day and there were no apparent issues, which was a huge relief.

Beyond the music, there was an abundance of activities and places to explore. You could catch magnificent views of the festival and surrounding city with a ride on the Ferris wheel. There were also interactive art installations present throughout the event grounds. These made for exceptional photo spots and resting areas where you can still have plenty of fun. The roaming performers and attendees decked out in costumes were an added bonus that uplifted the energy and creativity present.

Aside from being a world-class festival logistics-wise, the music and diversity at North Coast 2023 were truly unparalleled. Each of the seven primary stages had a distinctive atmosphere, which made exploring the festival an exhilarating adventure. The stages included The Vega, -196 Chill Dome, Club Coast, Silent Disco, The Fire PitThe Shipyard, and The Stadium, which was the main stage. 

I found myself drawn to The Vega for the majority of Friday for the WAKAAN Takeover. I began the day with heavy-hitting sets from emerging artists Drinkurwater and Cannabliss. It became clear why these acts are quickly growing with well-deserved popularity. I got my head-banging fix and thoroughly enjoyed watching the crowd go wild for Jantsen, Wreckno, and Champagne Drip. The experimental, emotive nature of the Lab Group set that followed is something I will never forget.

I made my way to The Shipyard to change up the mood with an energetic house set by Duke Dumont. Liquid Stranger melted minds beyond recognition afterward with a set that felt like a masterclass in experimental bass back at The Vega. Lastly, I ended the night with a classic Marshmello set at The Stadium, which was a fan favorite.

I made it a goal on Saturday to try to check out as many stages as I could, including the smaller ones. It was a breeze due to the concise layout and walkability of the festival. I loved the intimate vibes at stages such as The Fire Pit, which was a geometric dome structure you could rage in while watching flames shooting out above you. Daily Bread brought the heat with an outstanding set packed with his signature funky style which closed out this stage Saturday night.

The Silent Disco was also a nice change of pace, where you could disconnect from the outside world and get lost in the sounds of local talent. Some of my favorites of the night included Galena Crew and Miss B. Haven. Spending time at Club Coast to catch a Clur set was also a surprising treat that day. 

At the larger stages such as The Vega, Chris Lorenzo elevated the energy with an unmatchable house music show that was well-loved by fans. I ended the night at The Stadium with a Ganja White Night set brought to life by intense bass and entrancing visuals to match. It was the perfect pre-party before Zeds Dead’s legendary closing performance that showcased their paramount sound. The classic bangers paired with the incredible production had the whole stadium dancing nonstop. 

On Sunday, I took some much-needed time to decompress at the Chill Dome, which is an air-conditioned building filled with comfortable pillows to relax in while watching intricate lasers surround you. It felt like a true haven at the festival, especially when getting to see a special INZO house set there!

Some of the most memorable moments of the last night for me took place at The Vega where NGHTMRE and Big Gigantic played standout solo sets before converging for a show-stopping Gigantic NGHTMRE show which was an unbeatable way to close out the stage. I made my way over to The Stadium to catch Flume’s performance as the last show of the festival, and I couldn’t think of a more blissful or heart-warming way to end such a special weekend of music. North Coast checked all the boxes and exceeded every expectation when it comes to live events. From the elaborate stages, surreal installations, renowned music, and everything in between, there was no shortage of memories made.

Watching the festival grow over the years and continue to innovate makes me feel proud to be a Coastie. We are already counting down the days until the next Labor Day rave paradise that is North Coast, and we hope to see you all there!


Photos Courtesy of North Coast Music Festival 

Stay up to date on the latest festival announcements and music news HERE!

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| September 09, 2023


Arooj has been passionate about music for as long as she can remember and loves to express it through her writing and photography. She appreciates music in many forms, although is particularly drawn to electronic music, which is where she feels the most at home. She believes in celebrating the transformative power of music and art through her work.

Arooj is also dedicated to showcasing the enriching aspects of music culture by helping give incredible artists the recognition they deserve.

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