ARC Music Festival returns for a second year

Wed. September 7, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

ARC Music Festival returned for a second year at Union Park over Labor Day Weekend. For three days fans of house music were treated to major talent in the backyard of the Windy City.

Chicago's underground club culture was created by a collective of DJs in the 1970s growing out of disco into something more electronic and mechanical. The reason it is called house music is that technology at that time allowed DJs to make this music at home with drum machines instead of in a studio.

The popularity of this genre of music continues to grow and new generations are discovering it to this day. This was witnessed in Union Park with a massive celebration that brought major talent to the various stages such as Carl Cox and Gorgon City. There were a few LGBTQ+ acts in the mix such as Honey Djon, Derrick Carter and Italian power couple Gioli & Assia.

After North Coast Music Festival moved to a bigger space in Bridgeview, the creators of NCMF snatched up the grassy area of Union Park and wisely added more greenery to the area. The Expansions stage had a lush environment to make dancers feel like they were in a forest.

There were a few new photographic opportunities while recycling some of the ones from the year before. The massive winged lions were moved to greet party people as they entered past security. The ARC car powered by the Good Bus came back and seemed busier than ever in 2022.

VIP areas were the same with some air-conditioned bathrooms, private bars and unique vantage points to watch the various sets.

The Spanish dance company Elrow specializing in techno and house music came back for a special roofed area that provided protection from sporadic rain. The enclosure did trap heat for those dancing in that area so luckily refills for water were offered nearby.

Costumes and revealing outfits were displayed throughout the weekend with a noticeably older crowd than North Coast cultivates. Many were diehard house music fans and techno enthusiasts ready to be free for three days.

ARC is quickly outgrowing the park with music bleeding from neighboring stages this time. More clearly defined stage settings and positioning can help to install better sound quality going forward. The roots of the festival are important to continue and let's hope for many more years of reinvigorating the power of house music.

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