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What the Heck is a Mamby on the Beach?

Chicago’s newest music festival kicks off at Oakwood Beach this Saturday. Your burning questions, answered here.

Wavefront 2013—Chicago’s last beachy music fest.   Photo: Caroline Dixey

If Chicago’s ballooning festival scene isn’t your chief priority, you might not know that we’re getting a new one—and it’s happening this weekend in Bronzeville. The EDM-leaning Mamby on the Beach debuts at Oakwood Beach Saturday and Sunday, and besides some flashy headliners (Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun), the festival remains shrouded in mystery. Who’s going? Will there be beer? What happens when it storms both days? These questions and more, answered below.

So. What the heck is an EDM festival?

EDM stands for electronic dance music—basically anything tracked by a DJ that you can boogie to.

Doesn’t Chicago already have two of those in Spring Awakening and North Coast?

Yep, and React Presents owns all three of them. But Mamby specializes in the kind of EDM you’d hear in an Urban Outfitters. Here’s a good example.

EDM at a neighborhood beach. Didn’t Wavefront try this in 2013?

Indeed, and people were none too pleased. What’s worse, Oakwood Beach is closed all week, which is the type of shenanigans that got Riot Fest booted from Humboldt Park this spring.

Who’s playing that’s good?

Besides the aforementioned headliners, Art Department, Matthew Dear, Phantogram, Tan Lines, George FitzGerald, Röyksopp, Classixx, and Com Truise are all solid. Some benevolent fan has a Spotify playlist here.

How big is this thing gonna be?

The Park District anticipates 8,000 fans each day. For comparison, Pitchfork draws 19,000 and Lolla tops off at 100,000, so Mamby is amazingly, thankfully small. There are also only three stages, so you’ll be spared scurrying between sets á la Lolla.

This sounds cool. Can I go?

Yes. Tickets are available for $68–$160 at mambybeach.com.

How do I get there?

Take the train, dummy! Free shuttles are available from the Cermak-Chinatown red line and Cermak-McCormick green line stops. If you’re riding the Metra, get off at 35th-Lou Jones. The #39, #43, and #4 busses are also things. If Divvying is your bag, there are docks at Cottage Grove & Oakwood, Cottage Grove & 43rd, and Woodlawn & Lake Park. There’s also free bike parking at the main gate on the beach’s north side.

But I want to drive.

Fine. There’s parking for $14 at the McCormick place lot, from which you can take the shuttle to Mamby. There’s no parking at the Oakwood Beach lot, since it’s reserved for busses and Uber drop-off. Find detailed driving directions here.

Can I go swimming!?

Yes! But it’s going to cost you an extra $100 in the form of a VIP ticket.

What if it rains?

You’ll get wet. The festival is rain or shine, and storms are forecasted for both days.

Tell me about alcohol.

There will be beer for all, but liquor is only available in the VIP area (again, $100 extra). Sorry, gluten-freebies.

Does the party go *~all night long~*?

No. Mamby on the Beach runs from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

What if I need to rage later than that?

There are a bunch of afterparties, including sets by Art Deparment and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem at the Mid. Check out the lot of them here.

Are you going to Mamby on the Beach?

Yes, yours truly will be slinging snark on Twitter all weekend.

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