Written by Duncan Walgreen & Meredith Wasson || FSHN Staff
Photo Credits: KURSZA For Arc Music Festival
This Labor Day weekend, the birthplace of house, Chicago, will host ARC Music Festival’s second edition 3-day weekend experience. Immersing a collection of worldwide attendees and performers, the second instalment aims to deepen exposure to the influential genre and further blur the line between dance music, art, and design. Following the groundbreaking success of its 2021 debut as a 2-day event, ARC will play full force on themes of electronic music festival culture by intersecting top-notch production and thoughtfully curated visual stimulation.
For those new to electronic music, this year’s ARC looks deep into how to best access the most immersive and intimate moments in dance music culture by curating what occurs between parties and moving beyond the club. This year’s theme is about preparing for an experience through set & setting, social skills, anticipation, and fashion-forward rave attire. Both newcomers and seasoned festival goers will appreciate the diverse and dynamic settings across all four stages and the spaces in between.
Upon entering the festival grounds in the city’s epicentre of Union Park, attendees are greeted by a massive installation of LED screens suspended by repurposed technicolour containers known as the Grid Stage. This is ARC’s main stage which leaves little to be desired by the tangibility of a professional sound system that reaches far beyond its impressive dance floor capacity. Elevated viewing areas within the VIP lounge provide an unparalleled perspective of the Grid as guests enjoy the unique amenities of the wide selection of festival pass accommodations.
Travelling beyond the Grid leads attendees to the Elrow stage; a colourful, outrageous, and psychedelic production challenging the often-assumed darkness of house and techno with a playful, circus-like environment. One step into the Elrow tent is greeted by wigged and costumed characters moving about a dance floor sprinkled with confetti blasts, inflatable props and eye-catching details of the absurdity and flamboyance that the Spanish collective brings to countless destinations worldwide.
A journey onward makes a pit stop at the Arc Car powered by The GoodBus. The embellished school bus resembles a festival campsite renegade vibe while maintaining ARC’s prioritization of high-quality sound. Dubbed The GoodBus by Chicago’s very own DJ group, GoodSex, the Arc Car stage offers an intimate lineup of locally-renowned artists in-between the larger productions—essential for those who wish to make a stop in between stage hoping to discover a new Chicago favourite.
Reaching toward the wooded corner of the festival grounds lies the Expansion stage. A carved wooden arch infuses the stage into the tree-lined oasis with colourful lanterns strung from tree to tree above the crowd. The jungle-like vibe of Expansions weaves natural and digital elements into one as the trees move along to the deep sounds permeating throughout the dance floor.
Laying the foundation for the weekend ahead, ARC welcomes patrons on Thursday evening to the underground setting of SpyBar for an unforgettable pre-party fueled by deep, melodic techno beats from Berlin duo Pan-Pot. SpyBar is just one of the nine local venues tasked to keep the energy pumping after hours. As the weekend carries on, ARC After Dark faithfully promises dancers relief from the late summer sun with a diverse witching hour lineup of primed sound selectors including Chicago’s very own fashion icon, Honey Dijon.
ARC After Dark allows access to festival pass holders only, seamlessly fusing the festival grounds to nightlife spaces at premier venues. This exclusivity boasts un-commodified exposure paying homage to house music’s rich history, intentionally curating each evening to set you free in all directions.
ANNA | ANN CLUE | BORIS BREJCHA | CHRIS LAKE | CLOONEE | DE LA SWING | DJ HYPERACTIVE | EATS EVERYTHING | HIROKO YAMAMURA | KASABLANCA | LANE 8 | MIANE | MORITZ HOFBAUER | NORA EN PURE | PAN-POT | RICHIE HAWTIN | SAMA’ ABDULHADI | SKREAM | TINI GESSLER
CARL COX | CARL CRAIG | CHARLOTTE DE WITTE | CHELINA MANUHUTU | DE LA SWING | DERRICK CARTER | DJ LADY D | ENRICO SANGIULIANO | GENE FARRIS | GET REAL | HONEY DIJON | JOSEPH CAPRIATI | MAHER DANIEL | MARK FARINA | MIKE DUNN | PACO OSUNA | RICARDO VILLALOBOS | RON CARROLL | SETH TROXLER | TINI GESSLER
ACID PAULI | ADAM BEYER □ CIREZ D | AZZECCA | BEN BÖHMER | CHIP E. | CLAPTONE | DE LA SWING | DJ TENNIS | DJ THREE | FATBOY SLIM | GIOLÌ & ASSIA | GORGON CITY | JUSTIN MARTIN | KRYPTOGRAM | ÖONA DAHL | TINI GESSLER | VINTAGE CULTURE | WAX MOTIF
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