One Happy Fringe Music Fest


The summer’s winding down. Kids are going back to school, stores are prepping for their fall sales. But for those of you who don’t want to let summer go just yet, there’s one last chance to hang out, have fun and listen to outstanding music.


The first annual North Coast Music Festival is taking place over Labor Day weekend at Union Park, home of the Pitchfork Music Festival. The line up for North Coast though carries a different tune and melody. This festival’s goal is to show how some prominent genres feed on each other, namely Hip-Hop, Electronica and Jam.

Michael Raspatello, a co-founder and promoter, says that he along with everyone else involved in this project aim to make this festival a yearly event in Chicago. “We wouldn’t have begun this uphill battle if we weren’t confident that it was going to be,” he says.

The group of about 15 local and regional promoters, who together have over 50 years of experience in the music business, decided that this event would be something different for a growing Chicago scene comprised of Hip-Hop, Jam and Electronica fans.

“There was a need [for more attention on this scene] and the fans of the shows we promote let us know it by coming out in increasing numbers to other shows we’ve done,” says Raspatello, who primarily works on the Bluegrass and Blues Festival in Chicago. The different promotional companies involved, like Metro Chicago, Cold Grums, Silver Wrapper, React Presents and Kingtello Productions, have worked with acts such as Deadmau5, Tiesto, Chromeo, Crystal Castles, Dead Weather, Mos Def, Thievery Corporation and Paul Van Dyk.

“There isn’t a limitation, but there’s been a slow acceptance of the surging commercial appeal of these three genres when grouped together,” adds Raspatello. “The musicians are clearly influenced by one another, and the scenes perpetuate one another.  It’s becoming one big happy family of ‘fringe’ genres, when it comes to live music.”

The daily headliners range from Moby to Umphrey’s McGee to De La Soul, Lupe Fiasco and the Chemical Brothers. Gearing towards DJ-type sets, this festival is giving major exposure to musical acts that only get a fraction of time at other big festivals like Lollapalooza, with Perry’s Stage, and Bonnaroo, where many of the DJ sets occur later at night.

Loyal Divide, a native Ohioan band that made their move to Chicago about five years ago, was asked to play at the festival after playing all over the city in bars such as Schubas and the Empty Bottle. Andrew McCarthy, the band’s drummer, says that the band identifies with psycho-pop, a newer fusion of music that incorporates electronica beats to psychedelia.

Loyal Divide, who will release their first album “Bodice Ripper” this fall, feel that playing at the North Coast Music Festival came at the right time. “We hope to meet new people and new bands,” says McCarthy. “We’re hoping to tear it up.”

The festival will have four stages located around the park: the North Stage, Coast Stage, Groupon: What’s a Music Stage? and Red Bull Local Stage, featuring bands like Hey Champ, a electro-synth band from Rockford who played at Lollapalooza two years ago. The festival organizers have decided to endorse after parties throughout Chicago at such diverse venues as the Double Door, Schubas, the Metro and Kinetic Playground.

Originally published by Cafe Media, LLC.

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