North Coast Music Festival: Jamiroquai’s First Chi-Town Set In 13 Years, Event Continues To Thrive Despite Crowded Market

North Coast Music Festival
Keith Griner / Phierce
– North Coast Music Festival
at Union Park in Chicago.

Returning to Union Park in Chicago for its ninth edition, North Coast Music Festival has announced a lineup topped by Jamiroquai for the band’s first Windy City show in 13 years, along with Miguel, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, DJ Snake, The Revivalists, Yellow Claw and many others, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

With four stages and 20,000 capacity per day, additional artists playing North Coast include include Vulfpeck, Snails, RL Grime, Gramatik, Smokepurpp, Strumbellas, Lil Xan, Cashmere Cat, Moon Taxi, Beak Nasty and many others. This year will also feature brand-new daily showcases curated by industry collectives showcasing hip-hop, house and more. 

North Coast continues to thrive despite a saturated Chicago market that talent buyer Michael Harrison Berg calls the most congested in the country, with major events like Pitchfork Music Festival happening at the same venue along with other majors such as Lollapalooza and Riot Fest.

“It’s hard to be an independent right now, especially in Chicago,” Berg said. “The sheer quantity of concerts, major festivals, street festivals, and city-related events like Blues Fest and Taste of Chicago create the most market traffic and competition possible – I’d put it up against any city.”

Amy Harris / Invision / AP
– Jamiroquai
Jay Kay of Jamiroquai is at his eclectic best during Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., April 13.
Single-day, three-day and VIP tickets are on sale now, starting at $129 for three-day GA passes, with single-day passes ranging from $45-$55.
Berg, who at Silver Wrapper is a co-founder of North Coast and one of its talent buyers since the first year, called the Jamiroquai booking “one of those full circle, awesome moments” in his career.

“I’m a huge fan, I listened to The Return Of The Space Cowboy in high school on repeat all night long,” Berg said. “It was a huge record for me when I was younger, and it’s something we’re really excited about.”

Jamiroquai’s return has been a hit with fans on both sides of the Atlantic, as Boxoffice reports submitted to Pollstar include just under 20,000 tickets sold to Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, which grossed $877,224 April 10 and more than 10,000 tickets sold to Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, in January, which grossed just under $700,000.
Berg added that Jamiroquai is also confirmed to play Suwanee Hulaween festival in Florida, with their appearance there being leaked despite the festival not announcing a lineup yet. It’s a coup for Silver Wrapper as Jamiroquai has just a handful of North American dates. 
Berg says it’s important for a festival to have an identity and stick to what its dedicated fans want.  

“This year, I feel like we really tried sticking to the core demographic and genres that make the North Coast community what it is, which is essentially based in hip-hop, dance music, rock and jam band culture,” Berg said. “We’ve been saying for years that it’s like a Venn diagram. The space in the middle off all those genres is what kind of constitutes as being a North Coast thing. If it’s not too far outside, it can still work. We really tried to cater to what our fans want, and in a positive way stayed right down the middle to not go too far left of center on anything.” 

As an urban, city-based event rather than a camping festival, Berg says the lineup is billed strategically so fans leaning toward one genre may have an easier time picking which day to attend, with Friday leaning more hip-hop and electronic, Saturday more jam band and Sunday more on the funky side with Jamiroquai closing things down.

For the local stages, the first night is curated by Aux Cord DJs, bringing DJ sets by The Cool Kids, among others, with Lyrical Lemonade curating Saturday to provide “a proper hip-hop education” and Sunday seeing a reunion set by Midnight Conspiracy and Chicago’s Most Wanted.