Photos by Daniel Boczarski and Karen Chan
For its second installment ever, Mamby on the Beach music festival brought summer vibes to the southside of Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend. Taking place at Oakwood Beach and essentially kicking off Chicago’s festival season, the two-day fest combined a variety of different musical acts and had the crowd dancing throughout at two of its stages. With fun activities like palm reading, henna tattoos, volleyball, lake access for VIP attendees, and even an appearance by Instagram famous dog Manny, it was a weekend full of activities and full-on good summer fun. Live in Limbo was on site and checked out the highlights.
Saturday’s lineup was very varied and started off strong with an early performance by dreampop act LANY. Despite a small crowd due to the early timeslot, the three-piece brought a lot of stage presence and kept the fans that did show up early entertained. Singer Bishopp Briggs also rocked the main stage during an early 2:30PM timeslot, joined by a backing band who provided bassy electronic backing tracks that were perfectly complemented by her vocals. Next up we checked Miami Horror, an indietronica band from Australia who put on one of the most exciting performances of the weekend. Singer Josh Moriarty climbed on speakers, jumped out into the crowd to join an ongoing dance party out on the beach, and basically made his way all around the stage which really set the stage for the day’s shows. Wild Belle were next up on the mainstage, a two-piece hailing from Chicago who brought along a full band with them. Singer Natalie Bergman’s soulful voice captivated the audience and slowed down the pace a bit following Miami Horror. Over at the side stage, producer Tycho brought his moody ambient sounds to the beachfront, which was a perfect transition as the sun was setting over the beach. With melancholy melodies, attendees could take a bit of a break before headliner Milky Chance took over the main stage. Vocalist Clemens Rehbein sounded great with his husky, melancholy vocals layering perfectly over producer Phillip Dausch’s electronic tracks. The crowd’s energy kept up with the band throughout the performance, with fans lifted up on friends’ shoulders singing along to a lot of the group’s songs. The evening was capped off with a fireworks display over the lake.
Sunday’s lineup was just as impressive as Saturday’s, and included Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco who unfortunately conflicted schedule wise with Canadian electropop duo Chromeo, who played at the same time. Opting for Chromeo, we were not disappointed with the band delivered a fullout danceparty to the beachside, with tracks like “Night By Night” and “Fancy Footwork” really getting everyone moving despite having been out in the sun all day. Another unfortunate schedule conflict was Santigold, and Chet Faker, who we opted so see instead, and who provided a nice nightcap for the evening with his soulful electronic music.
Overall Mamby on the Beach seems like it has the perfect formula; good location and shuttle access, great lineup of varied artists, and plenty of activities for attendees to be entertained. While not as big as other festivals in Chicago, it seems as more of a benefit as nobody wants to be walking miles over a beach anyway, and the fact that it is not a 3-day festival makes it that much more appealing as there are enough of those already.