Many never thought we’d ever see city support – or even tolerance – for a Chicago beachfront festival again. But here we are, 2015, and React surprised everyone with the announcement of Mamby on the Beach, a two day festival taking place July 11 and July 12 2015 at Oakwood Beach.
The event takes place on an actual beach. It’s not cement, it’s not a park near the beach, but an actual beach with a backdrop of the stirring blue waves of Lake Michigan and the glass and steel of the Chicago skyline. And in the foreground is the Mamby on the Beach line-up, including headliners Empire of the Sun and Passion Pit, James Murphy (DJ set), Art Department (in one of their final appearances as a tandem), along with Classixx (live), George Fitzgerald, Moon Boots, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Claptone, No Regular Play, Com Truise, Matthew Dear, Cashmere Cat and hometown heroes Greg Corner, Orchard Lounge, NorDJs, Redux, Gene Farris and Dustin Sheridan and Steve Gerard.
How did React pull this off? That’s the most interesting story, I think. We talked to React’s Lucas King about the making (and the meaning) of Mamby, Chicago’s newest festival which has surprisingly deep roots in Chicago’s House Music scene.
Many never thought we’d see another a beachfront festival again in Chicago. Yet you’ve pulled it off, and you’ve even gotten the cooperation of local authorities. What do you think made your proposal get their well-wishes and support for dance music on the lakefront again?
We have a great track record with the city through the other festivals we produce, venues we operate, and shows we promote in and around various parts of the Chicago, that benefit fans, the music community, and the community as a whole. We worked very closely with them to find the perfect location to host the new event.
For those not familiar with Oakwood Beach, what can you tell us about it? It’s a fairly new park, isnt it? There’s sand, water, and (God willing) sun? It’s not one of those big concrete slabs along the lake?
The beach is relatively new, around 10 years old. As you can see in our announce video, it is definitely a beach and not concrete!
Until I scanned my inbox looking for a recent email, I had forgotten there was an event series called “Mamby” by React a few years ago. What does the name mean?
The party Mamby actually predates React, when I was promoting weekly events with some friends and Chicago based DJ and producers at the time. With some simple Google’ing, you might be able to find some flyers from past events.
What does ‘Mamby’ mean? I think that is for you to decide. 🙂
There’s a solid blend of Chicago and international, young locals and headliners and a few legends to boot. What’s your philosophy behind booking a festival like this?
Thanks! And thank you for noticing the diversity as well as focus on local talent, it is intentional. This is the music that inspires us and our staff, and we all saw a small gap in Chicago’s festival landscape that we were confident we could fill. The goal was to provide a soundtrack to Chicago’s summer time vibes.
Will there be afterparties throughout the weekend?
Yes, expect a select number of after parties to be announced soon.
The lake itself is kind of an “attraction.” Will there be many of the visual festival outlays that we’d see at Spring Awakening, for instance? Or is it designed to focus on the natural location in the open?
There is a beautiful view of Chicago’s skyline that we’re really excited to share, and of course who can complain when you’re close to the lake. Expect some surprises on the festival grounds.