Mamby on the Beach – Bringing Something Unique to the Community
Mamby on the Beach has a Tiki beach vibe, with a splash of Chicago character. The festival is gaining momentum but stays true to being local. This year’s lineup was diverse and phenomenal with the likes of Cold War Kids, Common, Duke Dumont, Spoon, Russ, and more. This year, the festival yet again changed its landscape, but it was for the better as attendees had more space to dance, and more activities to get involved in.
Some festivals don’t have many activities beyond dancing and drinking. Therefore, that’s pretty much all people do (and then some). However, at Mamby on the Beach organizers wanted to get attendees involved. The surrounding community and other Chicago organizations came to the festival to provide more than just a party experience. The food vendors at the festival came from local “Mom & Pop” places from the city. Some of the more well-known spots had people raving about the local food scene in Chicago.
At the entrance to the festival, the main drag included activities that get people festival ready. Attendees could go down the line and end up fully prepared for a day at the beach. Aural healing from a gong got attendees mentally prepared to relax for the weekend. From there, people could get henna tattoos, glitter tattoos, or body painting to add a little extra flair to their outfit. Next up was the silent disco yoga. Large groups could grab a yoga mat and listen to cool downtempo tunes from the local DJ while stretching out their stresses for full dancing movement later in the evening. For those unsure of their future, palm reading and tarot card readings were the next available stop to see what may be next. If these weren’t enough, the festival even had stylists braiding hair for the perfect festival finish.
The lineup at Mamby was so incredibly unique to Chicago, the event could not have happened anywhere else. The Mixmag x Beatport Tent took over the techno and house music. From the festival’s start to its finish, the tent was a place for the continuous bass beats and dancing. Some of the biggest names in techno and house hit the stage for legendary sets. Nora En Pure, Vanic, and Duke Dumont had an overflow of people under the tent on Friday. Gene Ferris made sure all the house heads came to the festival at a reasonable time on Saturday, while Walker & Royce sealed the deal and set up for the rest of the night which ended with a Richie Hawtin set for the history books.
Electronic music was only one portion of Mamby on the Beach. The festival’s diversity meant that anyone could find something to enjoy at the festival. Hip-hip lovers gushed over Common‘s heartfelt and insightful set as the rapper wore all white and spoke genuinely about his past and what he hopes for the future. Chance the Rapper attended the festival and made sure to hit front row for Common as well. Up-and-coming Towkio had a huge audience as special guests hit the stage and they gathered more fans. In addition to the hip-hop scene, groups with indie roots also took the stage such as Tune-Yards, Mansionair, AJR, Gorgon City, and St. Lucia. These groups have some of the most devoted fans and seeing them interact with their audience cannot be described. There was also a space for the pop side of electronic music, with Snakehips, Jai Wolf, and Chicago’s own Whethan returning home. Of course, rock is not to be forgotten on the lineup as superstars Cold War Kids and Spoon took to the stage. These powerhouses of music did not disappoint as they played new tracks and old favorites. Many came to Mamby simply to catch these two, and they were not disappointed.
Music at festivals can seem redundant at times. Mamby brought so much diversity that no matter what stage, each set brought something different to the table. From hip-hop to electronic to rock to pop, people from every walk of life came to the festival to enjoy the sun and dance on the beach. The diversity at Mamby went beyond the lineup and poured into its attendees.
Mamby on the Beach brought music from all over the world, but the goal of the festival remains local. Local establishments around the Oakwood Beach area welcomed thousands of customers, boosting the Bronzeville community’s revenue. In addition, the vendors at the festival also came from the community. While the traffic in a small area may be overwhelming, the amount that goes back to the community with a festival such as this cannot be matched. The Mamby Plunge last February aimed to benefit these local businesses long before the festival even began. The charities that benefitted from this year’s Mamby Plunge helped both children and the homeless. The local stage at Mamby also brought up-and-coming artists that are big in their community, but may not have had a chance to get a slot on the Beach Stage. Mamby made sure to not forget their Chicago roots while building such a large festival. Organizers remember that a festival makes a huge impact on a neighborhood. Mamby ensured that the Bronzeville community was helped rather than hurt by the thousands that flooded Oakwood Beach for the event.
Overall, Mamby on the Beach had perfect weather and amazing vibes. The lineup, the food, the art, and the sand all came together to help everyone from the inside out. We cannot wait to see what is in store for next year’s event.