North Coast moves southwest

Wed. September 8, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

North Coast Music Festival has found a new home 12 miles from Downtown Chicago at 71st Steet and Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview, Illinois. What was initially called Toyota Park is now called SeatGeek Stadium and usually showcases sports teams. Someone had a vision for NCMF to move from Union Park to this area and it certainly paid off. 

The layout of the festivities fit perfectly in this new venue thanks to a wide area of land outside of the stadium. Ticket holders entered into a vendor area where merchandise could be purchased along with food and beverages at various tents. 


For three days from September 3 to 5, revelers were treated to incredible entertainment from world-famous DJs. This pre-Labor Day bash had folks dancing until the break of dawn at the stadium and beyond. The drive from the city could be a bit challenging and parking leading in the venue was a lesson in patience. Vaccine cards and IDs were checked at the front gates. There were plenty of options for attendees to spread out and stay distant from crowds safely while inside the festival. 

Having a Chill Dome should be a requirement for all EDM festivals from now on. We all need to place to relax, especially after a long day of dancing. A massive dark room with lasers and lights projected on the walls gave guests that quiet moment they sometimes needed to decompress. There was a separate fog room inside the Chill Dome for those that wanted to clear their head even more. For more smoke, there was a circular machine right outside that blew smoky bubbles to the enjoyment of many visitors that walked by. Sometimes it's the little touches that set an event apart from others. 


The Vega Stage held a wide-open grassy floor plan for people to partake in the fresh air while dancing and The Canopy allowed overhead covering for the sporadic rains that occurred over the weekend. There was a silent disco area that continues to remain popular at this festival after being started many years ago. There were many photo opportunities throughout the grounds from oversized chairs to painted signs that artists created live in front of onlookers.

The Stadium was the real highlight for North Coast in 2021 and a vast improvement for musicians to demonstrate eye-popping visual effects and their best tunes mixed together. There was an entire stadium dedicated to headliners and plenty of seating for everyone, including a few special VIP areas inside the arena. 

In years past, North Coast was a mixed bag of music genres including artists like rapper Post Malone and funk singer Jamiroquai. These days the festival has evolved into DJs who perform by weaving electronic dance music into art, such as this year's headliners Chicago-born Kaskade and Detroit's openly gay GRiZ.

Louis the Child have both come a long way since they were interviewed back in 2016 by GoPride. The duo from Wilmette, Illinois has gone on to play Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Lollapalooza South America. 

The exhausting three-day music festival ended with a bang thanks to Zed's Dead, a Canadian duo with a loyal following. After parties moved the crowd to the city to classic venues such as Sound-Bar and Tao where they could celebrate until the early light. 

One thing is for sure, North Coast Music Festival continues to evolve in terms of music acts and setup each year. This year showed what the NCMF team can accomplish with the right vision. Keep up with next year's happenings by visiting