Chicago is drunk. Let's be honest, of all the cities you've ever gone, you know it's true. And that's cool, we get it. It gets cold, but then also hot, and we just...we need to drink about it. Not to say this is promoted behavior, but it is just kind of a right of passage to party down as a citizen of the Chi. Especially in the summertime!
Then add in a Labor Day festival headlined by three of the biggest acts in EDM today (Bassnectar, Odesza, and Zedd), and flanked by other huge acts like Umphrey's McGee, Greensky Bluegrass, Action Bronson, Claypool Lennon Delirium, and Vulfpeck, and the whole city is bound to get buck. North Coast Festival has always been the veritable champagne bottle, popping off in culmination of all the greatest summer events. Summer's Last Stand.
They tower tall above the crowd so they can see first if anyone has fallen, is hurt, injured, or breaking down some b-boy moves deep into the crowd. If you've been to North Coast in the past six years, you have probably seen these guys and gals, who go by The Safety Crew. Bright and colorful in demeanor and wares, these people are kind of the best.
"It really started by just wearing bright safety vests to festivals and shows so we could find friends easier," said Skater Dave Kowalski, one of the founders and leaders of Safety Crew.
"Then we realized what a helpful tool that would be for everyone," Skater said. "All of us on Safety Crew have an inherent need to help people have the most fun, in a safe manner. It may be based on growing up and you know, letting go and having a really good time, while being young at festivals. Maybe having guidance from older friends and family. And you know, you learn over time how to do this better and treat your body right, so we just want to share that. We want to look out for others to help avoid mistakes or issues, while having the best time they possibly can at festivals. It's the same idea as DanceSafe, who has that same mission. But we just go about it this way!"
And that way is on stilts, high up in the air, wearing bright colors and smiles crew-wide as impish as Cheshire Cats. No matter one's state of mind, that is sure to bring some serious joy.
Skater explained that the Safety Crew swears by five rules to Stay Safe, which he outlines here: