Mamby on the Beach 2015 [Recap]
Mamby on the Beach was an amazing experiment. It seems that React is getting into the habit of taking 1 day events and turning them into full-on festivals with a huge amount of support. Mamby had a theme – happy. The music at the festival was all synthpop, techno, house, indie, and everything in between that was meant to put a smile on your face. The small fest had a big personality and with the location right on the sand, it was perfect.
The Main Stage looked over Lake Michigan from the South Side of Chicago, allowing for a view of the city’s skyline in the distance. Those with VIP passes could take a dip in the lake, but few took advantage of the opportunity because the water was still cold from the mild summer. The other VIP perks were pretty nice, with a full Tiki bar in both chill spots, letting those with passes get an elevated look at the rest of the festival. Live art and a daily scheduled yoga session were on the way to the entrance of the festival, enticing festival-goers to stray outside of their comfort zones and get comfortable.
The two day festival kicked off Saturday afternoon. A gloomy day, the clouds were rolling in from the start, but the music kept everyone’s spirits up. Goldroom brought the feel of California sunshine right as the rain began to fall. Thankfully, the humidity that day was high, so the rain was actually refreshing. It fell onto the sand, making it moldable, so several sand castles riddled the Main Stage as the day went on. Robert Delong brought a huge amount of energy, as usual. The rain eventually stopped and the heat from Delong’s set dried everyone off quite quickly. Classixx kept their live set pretty chill, keeping the grooves rolling into the sunset. Röyksopp led the crowd into the night with their unique sound. Their singer dressed all in white, her booming voice forced the crowd into a trance of dancing and wonder. The wonder continued as Empire of the Sun closed the night. Their fantastical and flamboyant spectacle of a stage show had people flocking from all sides of the beach. Once “Alive” came on the fireworks began, concluding the night with high energy for the various after parties following the fest.
The Tent Stage looked like a spaceship. A huge oblong tent with several vaults that made it seem like it was about to come and take us to another universe. That’s where the techno lived. The best in the techno/house world brought their A-game for this unique space. Matthew Gear played an extra long set of techno beats with a little taste of house swirled into one on Day 1. Someone brought a limbo stick to the fest, and an impromptu contest popped up during his set. After sunset, the stage saw the likes of James Murphy and Zhu, both acts filling the tent until people were spilling out from the edges, attempting to catch a glimpse of both extremely popular artists.
Day 2 was a day for the books. With better weather and an equally amazing lineup as Day 1, the great acts went back to back. Due to recent difficulty in obtaining a Visa to the US, acts like Klingande, who were originally scheduled on the lineup, could not make the festival. This set back a couple of sets, but when Cherub came to the Main Stage, all gripes were forgotten. Jordan had brightly dyed cornrows, showcasing his unique and give-no-fucks personality. They played all the hits, with “Doses and Mimosas” bringing the crowd into a frenzy. Then came Phantogram, with Sarah’s vocals echoing across the packed beach. At The Beach House Stage during Phantogram was Milwaukee band GGOOLLDD holding it down with the small but loyal fans wanting to see something off the beaten path. They rocked the house and made this gal forget she was missing Phantogram. Passion Pit closed out the night with high energy and a huge fireworks display at the end of the night.
Festival goers would have left the fest happier had the music not been cut short. Whether it was sound regulations or time constraints is unclear, but the last 15 seconds of both end-of-the-night sets ended with sudden and complete darkness. Alas, each day of the festival was an experience to remember. We can only hope that Mamby continues to grow as every React festival has, bringing memorable artists to unforgettable locations. We hope to see you next year.