Walking through the debut of ARC Music festival there seemed to be one underlying theme – people asking out loud “How has this not happened before?” And as I walked from stage to stage, being able to enjoy some of the best house music on earth I also asked to my self – “How has this NOT happened before?”
Chicago respects house music almost every weekend – so how has there never been a proper, high end music festival dedicated to the music we dance to almost every weekend? One that gives respect to the underground shows it stands on, while blowing the lid off expectations with high-end production, a true venue, and afters to go with it?
The festival was made up of four stages set up strategically through the park – The Grid was the mainstage by default, and hosted massive sets from artists like ZHU, Eric Prydz, and, Bob Moses. But the talent was spread throughout the festival. ARC went all out and teamed up with the ELROW team to curate and design a tented stage – with an entire immersive experience with sets from Fisher, Eli & Fur, and, Will Clarke.
Arc Music Festival made its debut in Chicago over Labor Day Weekend. The new 2-day festival called Union Park its home and was set up with four stages throughout the park. One of the beautiful things about dance music in Chicago is that it can be as simple, or as complex as you want it to be. Everything from the sub-genre you are listening to to how you are listening to it was represented at ARC.
Festival goers could buy a GA ticket, and enjoy the music at every stage with zero issues. The sound systems were set up properly, and the room was plentiful. Wanted some more room to yourself and you could opt in for one of the two levels of VIP Tickets or even bottle service at the mainstage. Nothing felt ‘Gate-keepery’ about the situation – it just boils down to – everyone has different tastes. And that’s ok. House music is for everyone – and they can enjoy it however they want.
The formula for a great festival in Chicago doesn’t require reinventing the wheel. Truly. Bring a great lineup, in an accessible venue, with a great soundsystem, and they will come. Chicago will always be thankful.
Oh, and always book Derrick Carter. Always.
See you next year.