The second annual Wavefront music festival exploded on Montrose beach over the 4th of July weekend. Over 72,500 electronic dance music fans gathered to enjoy the sun, beach and top name djs from all over the world.
- This second annual version of the event offers a lot of improvements. One of the biggest crowd pleasers during hot and humid conditions is the free water filling stations. Organizers allowed empty bottles and camel-back backpacks into the fest. This accommodative policy pleased everyone except the venders.
There were decent food options available – from burgers, Chinese, Mexican and pizza – that were complemented by a couple of food trucks offerings like Cheesie’s and Jerk. Vegetarians had to make do with the $8 grilled cheese of a cheese pizza, so there’s room for improvement on that front. Also, next year I’d like to also see food light enough satisfy someone dancing in the sun all day. The beverage menu was limited as well; other than free water (no complaints there!), only Red Bull, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew suggested themselves as non-alcohol options.
The multi-colored Ferris Wheel stood as a beacon to already excited guests. The Gravitron was available as well. A 35-foot high inflatable water slide was just about the only water action the crowd on the beach was getting. An improvised swing set was put together using a stage light structure, some chains and wooden seats. It was consistently full of people who were positioned to have a great view of The Wave main stage.
The positioning of the stages was carefully planned to take the fullest use of each stage’s relative proximity to the others. The Cube stage positioned at the north end of the festival, while at south end was The Wave, in-between was Legends, and at a nearby mid-point and closest to the water was Oasis. By some quirk of ingenious sound management, none of the simultaneous performances overlapped the sound of other performances nearby.
Two ancillary stages were set up. The Solarbeatz was a box truck with a large solar panel on top that fanned out produce its own energy. The Gateway was positioned between the Gravitron and Ferris Wheel. The locations of the various stages – large and small – guaranteed that no matter where you were or what you were doing there was music and dancing.
The fest began at noon on Friday with Six60 on the main stage to get the early birds ready for the weekend. Later, Madgda took to The Cube stage as crowds filled in the beach. Danny Tenaglia closed out the first day at The Cube stage with some classic techno.
Wavefront opened on Saturday at 11 a.m. The smaller stages got going with Pipes at Gateway and Lazrface at the Solarbeatz. Saturday was the most popular day to attend, as evidenced by the everpresent day-pass wrist bands. Proxy got the evening going at the main stage, who put on a great show with stage dancers and outrageous back drop graphics. The evening was full of big names on every stage. The Cube stage was the better stage for most of the evening, as Davide Squillace played a funky tech-house set to warm the crowd up for Steve Bug. Later, Guti moved the crowd to his new tech styles and a great light show. But no lightshow could compete with Dubfire’s, which included 10-foot tall dancers in robotic suits who made their way from the stage into the crowd.
Meanwhile, the Legends stage offered Gene Farris, followed by Derrick Carter who tag-teamed with Mark Farina. This stage was closed out by Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principal taking over the decks.
Over on The Wave stage, Bad Boy Bill – an old Chicago favorite – came out to get the crowd moving and warmed everyone up for Rusko. Fatboy Slim who closed out the stage with an hour-and-a-half set. Fatboy Slim’s was packed with hits, both his and others’. The track that sent the crown into a frenzy was his Eat Sleep Rave Repeat. When this track dropped the crowd began singing along and dancing wildly. Fatboy Slim’s set pulled every last ounce of energy out of the crowd.
The closing day the crowd gathering at Montrose Beach was smaller and – probably owing to experiences the night before – arrived later than the previous two days even though the fest opened at the same time. Soul Clap dominated the Legends stage Sunday by performing a tag team set with Wolf + Lamb and Nick Monaco until 4 p.m. Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap returned to this stage later with a set of pure funk. Backed up by saxophone players, this funk set was truly something to behold.
The Wave stage had several heavy hitters to close out Sunday, including Crookers and then Diplo. Finally, Justice took the stage to close out the weekends’ festivities. Justice played several Fatboy Slim hits to honor a forefather of techno. The fest was closed out by Justice, who played several oldies to shut down the festival. The crowed seemed to enjoy the innocence suggested by a few oldies throwbacks.
The weekend was an overall success for the second annual Montrose electronic music beach party, Wavefront.