ARC Music Festival – Day 1 (Chicago)

Orlando Entertainment News focuses on the DJ scene in Central Florida as you know but when we had this chance to attend a festival in Chicago dedicated to just House and Techno, we jumped on the opportunity! And thus on this Saturday afternoon of Labor Day weekend, here we were at ARC Music Festival.
At the 2PM opening time, the ARC security team was poised to begin the entry process for thousands. Proof of a covid vaccination or recent negative covid test was required to get in. What a great idea!
Taking place in Chicago’s Union Park, the downtown skyline including Willis Sears Tower was never far away.
VIP entry was via this tunnel beneath a grandstand seating area.
And it brought you directly into the field of The Grid mainstage.
Chicago is the birthplace of House music so the lineup was jammed with Chicago-based DJ talent.
Opening mainstage House set from DJ duo Portals & Parachutes (USA).
Opening acts have to contend with a spartan opening crowd but the early-arrivals were already dancing.
Like EDC with art car stages, ARC had the “ARC CAR” stage with the DJ booth up on top of an old school bus! This stage would go all evening with just Chicago DJ’s including the opening duo Chilaquiles (USA).
Small contingent here already too dancing to House.
Reminiscent to tent-based Neon Garden Stage at EDC was this large covered pavilion home to the Elrow stage.
It was impressively decorated in neon dayglow colors. And this was as empty as we would experience!
The DJ booth looking like the back of an old 60’s VW bus!
With the music delivered by DJ Xenaa (USA).
I had to ask where the 4th stage “Expansions” was as it was cleverly tucked into a far corner of the grounds.
Where we found back-to-back Soulful House sets fro DJ Idriss D (I) and DJ Pierre (USA).
Early crowd filling in the space.
Back at mainstage for DJ Rodriguez Jr. (F).
First time seeing him play.
Early crowd building here too on a typical overcast Chicago day. With temps in the low 70’s and a light breeze, it really was perfect conditions though for a concert.
When the pace went up, his cap came off!
Back inside the Elrow stage!
For DJ Toni Varga (E).
The rapid increase in the number of people in here foretold what was about to come!
Back at the bus for DJ Twitchen Skratch (USA).
A few years ago we saw him close-out a DJ Sandra Collins (USA) show here in Chicago and his set blew-out the place! LINK
Like at Primary Nightclub that night, he had the peeps bouncing!
Back to Expansions for DJ Layton Giordani (USA).
Up until now all the music heard had been House. His set switched things over to Techno.
The peeps want Techno!
About as close as we could get to him.
The ARC Car bus was centrally located to all the other stages.
DJ Bucky Fargo (USA) going Techno on us too.
They say you can never go wrong with Go Go girls.
They were right!
There were some interesting art installations around the grounds.
Not a lot of them but interesting nonetheless.
Not sure what this was!
Things lighting up after the sun went down.
Back inside the Elrow tent where moving about came close to impossible.
Great House set from DJ Mason Maynard (GB).
And over at The Grid…..
A DJ with a handlebar mustache can only mean Luttrell (USA). Luttrell and Fur Coat (YV) play at Ace Cafe in Orlando next Saturday night.
Filling up but still lots of space!
Luttrell’s set was a bit more on the Deep side of House music but the crowd seemed to love it.
Another visit past the bus as the dance platform filled-up.
DJ Blu 9 (USA) playing the music. Again, only Chicago DJ’s yesterday on this stage from a town so-filled with DJ talent!
The crop top first caught my attention.
But the booming Techno set from DJ Azzecca (USA) held my attention.
All too soon it was over but wasn’t disappointed to see who was taking over next!
DJ Inphinity (USA)
I didn’t get to see them when they played Orlando recently…..
Duo Bob Moses (CDN) doing a club set on the main stage.
Including live vocals!
A different style of music than you typically hear at these large concerts.
Over at stage right, we spotted DJ Nicole Moudaber (GB).
She would be coming on next.
She still has that hair though! Not sure if I’ve seen her since 2012 at Senso Supper Club. LINK
Her set bridges that line between Progressive and Techno.
We spotted several groups of people from Orlando!
There were a few others but forgot to get their pics. Orlando was definitely representing though!
Elrow was pretty much impassible by now, lol.
Advertised as a set by DJ duo Eli & Fur (GB), we just got Eli.
But we also got a massive confetti explosion!
Among the trees, back to the corner stage at Expansions.
It was 6PM and jammed too!
The best view we could get at this point of DJ Deborah DeLuca (I). It was actually a pretty nice view.
Giving the Elrow Stage another try.
Catching a far-away glimpse of DJ Patrick Topping (GB). He had played the Neon Garden stage at EDC – Orlando in 2018. LINK
Most people wore civilian clothes to ARC yesterday; far fewer costumes than we see at EDC. We’ll see if that changes for Day 2 today where the temps are suppose to go into the low 80’s under sunny skies.
Nighttime had arrived and it was too crowded to see the DJ’s up close any longer at Expansions but this one spot stage left provided a peep of DJ Eric Prydz (S) doing a set under his Cirez D alias.
Big crowd too at the bus.
For DJ Cinna (USA).
A 20-minute intermission over at the mainstage as they set-up for the closing act.
Never could actually see him, even from the pit. DJ Zhu (USA).
To be honest, it was the only set in the festival yesterday that I didn’t care for. Not sure what music niche it was but it was definitely more on the Heavy Bass side but I can’t label it that either.
But the crowd around me were all singing the words to opening song “Came For The Low” so he definitely has a following.
This was the crowd outside Elrow for the final set. It was far crazier inside.
Too far away to get a good picture of Fisher (AUS) from my Kodak Instamatic with flash bulbs.
The closing set at the ARC Car was supposed to be by local DJ collective Aathee (USA) but no one ever came up to the booth even though pre-programmed was playing. Not sure what happened but their crowd would begin to dissipate.
One final visit to the Expansions stage for a Techno set from DJ Luciano (RCH/CH).
Not as crowded as was here for Eric Prydz in the prior set but still a big crowd dancing to the music.
Another shot from stage left.
Fog along the barrier.
We’ll be back out at Day 2 of ARC today; if you’re in the area come check it out as it runs from 2PM to 10PM. It’s nowhere near as big as EDC-Orlando but it’s a well done music festival. Most importantly, a good time was had by all.