Chicago is a hotbed for music festivals this summer, but one that stands out from the rest is Mamby on the Beach, which took place this past weekend, June 24-25, 2017. A relatively small festival on Chicago’s South Side, Mamby is like a little vacation away from city living. If you are coming to this festival for the Chicago experience, you might be better off waiting for Lollapalooza or Northcoast.
On Oakwood Beach a few miles south of Chicago’s loop, Mamby gives off the vibe of a tropical getaway. The two-day festival sits around Fourth of July Weekend and hosts two main stages, a silent disco, and a bass tent. It is the epitome of summer fun, with water balloon fights, beach volleyball, and lots of sand. Bring your shades, because the sun will surely be in your eyes looking at either stage at some part of the day. It sits right on the water, although you need a VIP wristband to actually dip your toes in. On the plus side, VIP is affordable with tickets starting at $99. Mamby has a ton of amenities like free hair braiding, yoga, tarot card readings, temporary tattoos, and tons of food. They also have fashion shows and art installations scattered all around the festival grounds.
Getting into the festival was no easy task. Although the lines were short at all hours of the day, attendees were greeted by confused and disorganized staff with no knowledge of the festival whatsoever. Left to their own devices, festivalgoers trekked through the sand to find their desired sets. No worries though, the layout was small enough that if you went in the wrong direction, you could get back to the other side in just a few minutes. In the middle of the festival were the VIP areas, which hosted two bars with numerous drink choices, a lounge with special bathrooms and chairs to cool down, and elevated platforms to get a better view of the stage. Around the sanded area of the festival, people could enjoy some classic summer fun with bags, volleyball, and giant Jenga. The best part is that you could be in the middle of a match and still catch a set at the nearby Beach Stage.
Saturday’s lineup hosted some local talent at the beginning of the day with the likes of Saba and BJ the Chicago Kid. Both put on great sets and represented their city well. Later in the evening, indie mainstays Local Natives and MGMT drew major crowds. They pulled out all of their classic hits and the crowds left satisfied. Tchami finished out the day at the Mixmag Tent with a set of bangers for the bass-inclined crowd. He always throws down a good show.
On Sunday, Cut Copy was the upbeat set that got everybody dancing. With their groovy electronic tunes and energetic stage presence, they personified what Mamby is all about. The set that ended it all was Flying Lotus at the Park Stage. FlyLo’s hypnotic hip-hop beats and mesmerizing visuals had the crowd swaying back to back.
At the end of the day, Mamby on the Beach 2017 might not have been the most organized on the outside, but on the inside it was nothing but great vibes and good times.