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Dreaming in the Daytime: Arc Music Festival 2023 [Fest Review]

Over Labor Day weekend, Arc Music Festival went above and beyond in proving the hype was not only true, but well deserved. Arc Music Festival is an expertly curated, music forward gathering in the city of House that has officially sealed its status as a mainstay in its third year of life. It’s rare for a festival to have such a grand reputation this early in the game, but that’s where Chicago based Auris Presents strives to set themselves apart. 

Arc 2023. Photo by JORDAN LANDWEHR

Thanks to Auris, Chicago now has an answer to a house and techno festival set to reach the same level as Movement in Detroit (or to surpass it). Brimming with high level production, stellar performances and captivating art installations throughout the grounds, Arc Music Festival hosted an inspiring and memorable atmosphere all weekend, earning its rank as a leading name in the global scene. Arc, thank you for the non-stop dance parties and stunning summertime Chi vibes. 

Read on for our favorite sets from the weekend below:

Area 909 stage at Arc Music Festival 2023. Photo by Jordan Landwehr

Tinlicker – After having Fridays’ schedule hit with a blurry of swapped sets and a complete reschedule from Nina Kraviz, Tinlicker’s original 4pm slot at the Grid was moved to 9pm at a more intimate stage, Area 909. For me, this was a match made in heaven and the top highlight of the weekend. Other epic acts we were introduced to at Area 909 included Dax J and Sara Landry

Expansions stage at Arc Music Festival 2023. Photo by KURSZA

Hiroko Yamamura B2B DJ Minx – Watching these two queens throw down at Expansions and having a visibly good time while doing it gave me a smile I couldn’t shake. Though it was dusty and hot, the thick crowd at Expansions couldn’t help pulsing with the energy beaming out from the decks. This synergetic B2B set between Hiroko, a Chicago hometown hero and DJ Minx, a Detroit legend was a truly beautiful moment to witness. My other favorite producers to grace the Expansions stage were Mochakk, Black Coffee (CHURCH) and Fisher B2B Loco Dice B2B Nic Fanciulli.

Walker & Royce – One of the most unexpected performances of the weekend went to Walker and Royce, which I hadn’t originally planned on stopping to see. Blame it on the intergalactic Elrow vibes, or maybe this duo are that good at working a dancing crowd, but I was completely locked in with my crew. Elrow felt like a bouncehouse all weekend long, complete with psychedelic stilt walking puppets and disorienting blasts of confetti to keep you entranced. My other favorite performances at the Elrow stage included Cassy B2B Toni Varga and Kyle Walker.

The Grid stage at Arc Music Festival 2023. Photo by Blazej Zalewski

Fatboy Slim – Still serving up the dancefloor at the age of 60, Fatboy Slim was just as party ready and enthusiastic as ever on Saturday of the festival. His dance heavy set had a distinct timeless flow, full of classic cuts and addictive sampling. It was the most fun and carefree dance session I’ve had in a long time, and it wasn’t because the DJ was playing banger after banger to force the crowd into dancing. Fatboy Slim displayed total crowd control like a pro, giving us a perfect set that made it impossible to leave. 10/10 blown away and hoping for another opportunity to see this legend live again. Other highlights at the Grid were Patrick Topping, John Summit, and Tale of Us.

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