November 29, 2023

Soaking It Up at Mamby on the Beach

Everyone expects the first year of a festival to be a catastrophe.

There’s no way to gauge how successful it will be, really. We just buy our tickets and cross our fingers, hoping for some sort of divine intervention from the festival gods.

Standing listlessly on the sidewalk in Chinatown searching for the scheduled shuttle to take me to Mamby on the Beach, the latest addition to the Chicago festival scene, I couldn’t help but wonder if its absence was a premonition of the disorganization and disaster to come. Dozens of us, lost, pooled together in a smattering of tank-tops and swimwear, eagerly looking out across the bustling shoppers trying to decipher which bus, if any, was the one that we were supposed to board.

After 45 minutes everyone was irritated, and I was late for my interview with Autograf.

Mere seconds after caving in and requesting a Lyft, a nice man in an orange vest walked up and gave us directions to the parade of busses that we were supposed to be boarding.

The festival itself was blissfully simplistic. With three stages (two on the beach and one in the grass), there was little confusion about where you needed to go to see your favorite artists. The vendors, although limited, were in close proximity to the stage and stocked all the necessities: beer, hot dogs, and DIFF sunglasses. Despite the fact that we couldn’t swim without purchasing VIP (I get it, drunk people + water = liability), there was plenty of beach to stretch out on and soak up the sun. You’ve done it again, React Presents.