In summer, Chicago transforms itself into the host of hundreds of day festivals, parties and BBQs. From major festivals to block parties, you will not find one weekend without an event that brings people together through music and food. Because of this and Dirtybird’s meteoric rise in popularity amongst dance music aficionados, it perhaps seemed strange that the label had never brought its famous BBQ party to the city until this past Saturday. Regardless, it finally provided a welcome escape for the hundreds who enjoy their characteristic bassline-driven sound.
Located in a large parking lot in the West Loop, it was easy to reach via public transportation or with a taxi. I arrived early to the sounds of a promise made that the first 700 people in line would receive free BBQ, and so it was. There is something special about being served food while chatting with the likes of Claude vonStroke and Kill Frenzy, and the food wasn’t bad either with selections including burgers, hot dogs and sliced watermelon. I was however surprised to see that only one other food truck was present despite the promise that several others would be providing food. This did turn out to be a problem as people had to line up for long times for access to any food despite the initial free BBQ provided as part of the party experience.
Track selection from every artist was on point. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a line-up that featured artists whose sounds are frankly very similar, yet I was surprised to see Shiba San and Kill Frenzy build up their sets nicely without necessarily playing banger after banger. It was unfortunate for Justin Martin to experience travel setbacks that saw his set pushed late but the atmosphere was electric as he arrived in the middle of Claude’s performance at the end of the night with a chance to perform for his fans. The beauty of Dirtybird parties is the aura and feeling of family that permeates from the top of the label down to every single one of its attendees. It was normal to see the artist talk to fans and take pictures with them, proving that the idea of a “family BBQ” really works in bringing label listeners closer to the artists.
As I mentioned, this was the first time Dirtybird hosted a BBQ event in Chicago and unfortunately it did come with a few set backs. Security staff were unsure themselves on some of the rules and regulations despite an extensive list of allowed and prohibited items posted online days before the event. At first they did not allow backpacks in and attendees were told they had to exit to smoke, despite a no re-entry policy. Forty five minutes later someone must have notified the door staff of the change of policy, as people were finally allowed in with backpacks and smoking was permitted within the event space – after all it was a large outside parking lot.
Later in the evening, as hundreds more flocked to the site, entry became bottlenecked with lines of over an hour, perhaps something that could have been prevented considering over 8,000 RSVPd for the event on Facebook. There was only one entrance/exit point to the event with only three separate lines to allow people both in and out.
Overall, however, the BBQ was a success. Between the music and awesome atmosphere, it became a perfect Saturday getaway for hundreds of Dirtybird fans in the city. Here is to hoping for a repeat in 2016!