2012 Wavefront Music Festival

Words and Photos by Zlatko Todosijevič
Photos by Tasya Menaker
Photo by Tamara Šuša

The first year for any music festival is a unique and interesting experience in hindsight. The novelty surrounding the event, its intimate nature, and a feeling of anxiety derived from all the unknowns: they are nearly impossible to avoid. With the surging popularity of music festivals (especially electronic) in recent years, Wavefront Music Festival is primed to be a major player and mainstay among Chicago’s summertime music landscape. Nestled along Montrose Harbor on the north side of the city, it proved to be one of the most unique concert experiences offered this summer. A hometown festival in its first year that is located on the beach; there was no way this could be passed up. As soon as our feet dug into the sand for the first time, a general question arose: “why had no one attempted to pull this off before?” But as the weekend faded away, so too did that question. This thing was finally happening, and it had all the makings of something special. And while it was not perfect by any means, a few bumps in the road were not enough to soil the overall experience. With its lineup bolstered by electronic heavyweights as well as underground stars, there was enough variety to satisfy EDM fans from all walks of life. And the schedule’s programming did a fantastic job catering to that diverse audience by keeping them at respective North/South main stages with little walking necessary. If you preferred deep house taste-makers, you were probably going to be at the North Stage all weekend whereas the South Stage featured more commercial house and electro DJ’s. The balance worked out well for everyone as the walking distance between stages was just under two minutes and encouraged individuals to roam. The only initial drawback was the fence that blocked access to the lake. For liability reasons, it obviously had to be done, but when the temperature rose, you definitely wished the option was present on the table. All in all, it was a memorable, one-of-kind experience that only bolstered Chicago’s reputation for hosting diverse music festivals.

A pre-party was devised for Friday evening at Montrose Harbor and it felt similar to an open-house. It gave people an opportunity to pick up their wristbands as well as walk around the beach and become familiar with the site. The crew was still working diligently to put the finishing touches on as well as finish assembling the stages and overall site. They were not a distraction or nuisance by any means though; once the music started, they fell into the background. Spybar resident Garrett B opened up the festivities with some light, colorful house beats soaked in hip hop hooks and melodies. Remixes of Ice Cube’s “It Was A Good Day” and Luniz’ “I Got 5 on It” were a pleasant introduction and set the tone as the sun began to dip into the western skyline. He flexed his versatility and closed up with Andrew Lodemann’s “Where Are You Now” before handing off to Serge Devant, who continued with a similar theme sans the hip hop. Lee Curtiss was next up and delivered a huge set loaded with plenty of his own productions featuring new tracks “Freaks,” “Haterz,” “Body Twitch,” and a bass-driven deep house remix of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know. ” He kept things on the deeper side and delivered his usual brand of sexy, primal beats. Benoit and Sergio closed the night out with an electric performance that riled up the crowd and generated the loudest cheers of the evening. With the sun down, they opened up with newer material while also revisiting old favorites like “Principles,” “Walk and Talk,” and “Everybody.” Their dance floors anthems were well received; they walked off stage with big smiles as the crowd chanted for “one more song.” The city’s curfew derailed all hopes of that coming to fruition but luckily Spybar provided an opportunity for more dancing.

Garrett B
Serge Devant
Lee Curtiss
Benoit and Sergio

Friday Night Afterparty: Thugfucker & Garrett B at Spybar

Garrett B

The official preparty at Spybar featured the baby-making house duo from Brooklyn known as Thugfucker, alongside resident Garrett B. The latter gentlemen carried momentum from the beach and delivered with another excellent set that featured popular tracks of the moment from Justin Martin and Gavin Herlihy, among others. The set was a fine warm-up for the headliners, who proceed to carry on with a slow and steady pace. They delivered their usual brand of slow-burning deep house for most of their set, offering up gems like the Visionquest favorite Uner’s “Sol” and threw in a few twists and turns along the way. The party went late into the night but the obvious choice was to go home, rest up, and get prepared for a long day in the sun. Saturday was going to be a big day.


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Jeremy Frazier is the editor-in-chief of Soundfuse.