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Dancing under the Chicago sky: A recap of the ARC Festival

The ARC Festival in Chicago marked a special occasion for the EG crew, as we embarked on a thrilling adventure in the heart of house Music’s birthplace. This three-day extravaganza delivered an enchanting celebration of electronic music, held at Union Park and featuring a meticulously curated lineup comprising artists from across the globe, encompassing legends, rising stars, and emerging talents in the vast realm of house and techno.

Photos are Courtesy of ARC Music Festival – Cover Photo Credit by KURSZA – @kursza

Throughout the event’s duration, over 60 artists graced the festival’s four stages, ensuring that the dance floor remained electrifying. The musical journey spanned various genres, from the iconic Chicago house to deep house, tech house, techno, and even acid techno.

The festival’s excellence extended beyond the incredible music, as its production values left an indelible mark. Each stage struck a harmonious balance, boasting ingenious designs, captivating art installations, impeccable lighting arrangements, and top-tier sound systems that combined to craft a sonic experience beyond compare. Furthermore, accessing the festival grounds was a breeze, thanks to the respectful and professional logistical and security teams in place.

On day one, we arrived ready to immerse ourselves in the festivities around 2:00 PM, greeted by perfect weather. Our journey commenced at the Expansions stage, where the beats of DJ Minx back-to-back with local Chicago talent Hiro Yakamura, were right on point. Our next stop, the extraordinary ElRow stage, treated us to an explosion of confetti and masked performers, all while Sam Divine skillfully controlled the crowd with a blend of impeccable tech house and groovy beats. The energy remained at an all-time high, even in the early hours.

After a few fantastic tracks, we dedicated most of the day to The Grid, the main stage, where Drumcode boss Adam Beyer delivered 90 minutes of pulsating techno. Following Beyer was Boris Brejcha, whose performance was a powerhouse of progressive and techno tracks. A brief 5-minute respite prepared us for the journey into The Arc Car stage, where Iglesias serenaded us with ‘Relax My Eyes’ from ANOTR & Abel Balder, among other tantalizing house and tech house tracks.

As the clock neared 8:30 PM, the Main stage came alive to welcome visual show pioneer Erick Prydz, who graced us with one of the most awe-inspiring live shows we’ve ever witnessed. Utilizing a high-tech fusion of 3D and holographic effects, Prydz kept festival-goers on the edge. This musical spectacle featured rich melodies, melancholic progressive house, and trance, concluding a perfect first day.

Day two began with a scorching sun but couldn’t deter us from dancing to the funky and groovy beats of Detroit legends Carl Craig back-to-back Moodyman at the Expansions stage. The stage transitioned seamlessly as The Blessed Madonna took over, treating the crowd to a set filled with Chicago house vibes that ignited a frenzy.

At the Area 9.0.9 stage, formerly known as The ARC Car, Chicago legends Mike Dunn back-to-back Terry Hunter graced us with a delightful house set, including classics like Todd Terry’s ‘Sume Sigh Say’ and Paul Johnson’s ‘Get Get Down.’ It was undoubtedly one of our day’s favorite moments.

Our musical journey reached its zenith when the legendary Mr. FatBoy Slim took to the stage, leading us through a timeless, cross-genre set that continues to echo in our minds. His mesmerizing performance combined 2D visuals, seamlessly integrating visual audio samples into his set, creating a hypnotic audiovisual experience. His setlist featured a blend of new tracks and classics, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

Day two concluded with an explosive set from Chicago native John Summit, characterized by Acid 303 sounds and a faster BPM than the previous artist. The stunning visuals and pyrotechnic effects made Summit’s performance the highlight of the night.

On the festival’s final day, we divided our time between the main stage, where Innervisions’ Ame & Dixon delivered a captivating deep house and techno set, and the Expansions stage, where Chicago’s own Derrick Carter paid tribute to his city with a Chicago house-infused set.

Later, Brazilian star Mochakk graced us with a well-balanced mix of house and tech house, setting the stage for South African sensation Black Coffee whose traditional afro and tribal sound kept the crowd dancing until the very end.

However, the day’s true highlight was the relentless energy at the Area 9.0.9 stage throughout the day. Artists like David Castellani, Dax J, Sara Landry, and Hiroko Yakamura delivered intense sets loaded with acid techno, techno, breakbeats, and even some hard techno. The stage remained ablaze throughout, without a dull moment.

As the festival drew to a close, we couldn’t help but reflect on the incredible journey we had experienced. With a promise to return next year, we extend our gratitude to the ARC team for hosting us on this unforgettable ride through the vibrant city of Chicago.

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