Best late-season festival surprise

North Coast Music Festival

Union Park

1501 W. Randolph
773-598-0852

northcoastfestival.com

Most of the city's major outdoor music festivals had already happened when word got out last year that Union Park, longtime home of the Pitchfork Music Festival, would be hosting another big event over Labor Day weekend. The inaugural edition of the North Coast Music Festival boasted a genre-agnostic lineup combining hip-hop, dance music, indie rock, and jam bands, of which only a few acts—the Chemical Brothers, Moby, Nas—had much mainstream appeal. It was a bold move in a festival industry that gets safer with every passing season. The fact that there's another one happening this Labor Day weekend—featuring David Guetta, Wiz Khalifa, and STS9—indicates that the gamble paid off. —Miles Raymer