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Chicagoist's Tips For Attending Wavefront Music Festival

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 2, 2013 7:30PM

Soyoung Kwak/Chicagoist

Many of Chicago's festivals have been around for awhile, meaning we're old pros at them. However, Wavefront Music Festival will be just a spry two years young when it hits Montrose Beach July 5 - 7, so we're still getting the hang of it just like everyone else.

Wavefront has proven to be popular enough with the local house music heads to return for a second summer (and hopefully many more) but it's clearly still a learning experience for attendees and producers — the same folks who run Spy Bar. So if it's your first year out on the beach, you won't feel like too much of a rookie but here are some tips we picked up last year that we're willing to pass along.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Wavefront is an awesome experience. Since it takes place right on Montrose Beach, you get to kick off your shoes, listen to 100+ house and techno DJs and dance in the sand. But don't get too caught up in it. With sunny skies and 80-degree temperatures in the weekend forecast, you'll want to make sure you're replenishing all those fluids you'll be sweating out on the dancefloor.

Last year, water refill stations were a little hard to come by and drink ticket lines were lengthy. We're confident that Wavefront's logistics will have its first year jitters shaken out but be sure you down a water bottle or two before hitting the beach. According to the fest's website water refill stations and misters will be on site, so save that first water bottle you buy. You can also bring empty Camelbacks/hydration bladders into the festival.

Pay homage: Wavefront Music Festival is a celebration of the origination of house music in Chicago so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone to see gobs of local house and techno talent on the bill along with national headliners like Fatboy Slim (performing Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on The Wave stage) and Justice (performing on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on The Wave XIV stage).

Take some time to hear a few local sounds. We're excited to hear the colorful disco and techno beats of Kid Color (performing Friday at 4 p.m. on the Solar Beatz stage); a two and a half hour set from one of Chicago’s earlier house music stars Diz (performing Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on the Chicago Heritage stage) and back to back to back to back sets from other Chicago legends Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principal (all performing Saturday on the Chicago heritage stage, starting at 7 p.m.).

Take note: You'll want to pay close attention to your surroundings at Wavefront. Be sure to grab a lineup printout and map when you arrive as set lengths are irregular, ranging from one to two and a half hours long, and stage names change daily. For instance, Friday's DFA stage features mostly acts from the DFA Records including Holy Ghost! (performing at 7:30 p.m), former LCD Soundsystem member Pat Mahoney (performing at 4:30 p.m) and the record label's founder and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy (performing at 8:30 p.m.).

However, on Saturday the DFA stage becomes the Chicago Heritage Stage and Sunday it's the All Day I Dream stage. If you really want to stay on top of things while you're there and make sure not to miss your most anticipated set, there's an app for that.

Don't sweat the schedule: If you're anything like this writer, festival schedules can induce anxiety the nanosecond they're released:"Such and such act are playing the same time as so and so act. There is no justice in the world!"

Well, if there was one thing we liked about Wavefont without a doubt last year, it was the atmosphere. It was as laid back and fun as any good beach party should be. Generous set lengths allow you to take a quick bathroom or beer line break from your preferred performers without missing too much.

Even better, a relatively small festival site eliminates the daunting hikes that arise at other festivals every time you want to switch stages (*cough*Lolapalooza*cough*). We loved being able to easily catch several different artists in an allotted set time slot and still feeling like we caught the bulk of their performances. There were complaints that the sounds from the different stages overlapped so if you're having trouble hearing, here's a tip: move up! We could hear fine at 30 or 40 feet back from the stage.

Well, that's all we've got for you. Get out there this weekend and dance a lot, stay safe and pray the much needed summer weather actually arrives.

Single and three-day passes to Wavefront Music Festival are still on sale starting at $80 and $220 respectively. We'll see you there!