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React Presents: Mamby on the beach 2017

Written by: Zac Hall

 

For most of the year, Chicago is an oppressively dark and frigid place. Then summer comes and the whole city rebounds in unison for those precious few months of warmth and celebration. Mamby on the Beach harnesses that energy on the longest days of the summer, bringing a weekend of sun, sand, art and music to Chicago’s Oakwood Beach.

Sir The Baptist closing his set with the crowd at Mamby on the beach 2017.

As Chicago’s only summer beach music festival, Mamby pretty well nailed it. Lines were short, looks were fierce, and while there  wasn’t a shortage of people, laughing, dancing and genuinely having a blast, I never once got covered in the sweat of an over-zealous party fiend.

Other festivals often outsource visuals and artistic talent from the coasts, but Mamby came through strong with some of Chicago’s best underground creators. Michelle Mink painted bodies, while Afrokilla painted a giant geometric structure, but the most visually arresting installation at the festival had was Davis McCarty’s Pulse Portal: an 18 foot-tall archway made from gleaming pyramids of iridescent dichroic plexiglass: a material originally developed by NASA for communication antennae.

Another Chicago powerhouse surging up from the underground is projection mapping and virtual reality virtuoso DRMBT. The last time we saw him was in a small crowd as he beamed 360 degrees of geometric magic onto the walls of Canvas, the artist collective he cofounded. Flash forward to Mamby where he was producing mind bending visuals to back up Cut Copy and MGMT on the Beach Stage.

Mamby on the Beach isn’t Chicago’s biggest music festival. It doesn’t have the most incredible lineup, or the biggest crowds, but perhaps those are the very elements that create an environment to let your guard down and truly enjoy a day at the beach.