Summer is here, bringing with it festival season. Techno tourists around the country are plotting their dance destinations as we speak. Today you'll find more electronic dance music festivals in North America to choose from than ever before, but those selections are starting to feel more polarized than ever.

On one hand, you have a meticulously curated event like Mutek, which challenges the listener with the most forward-thinking sounds in electronic music. On the other hand, you have mainstream stadium-sized dance events like the Electric Daisy Carnival series, replete with fuzzy boots and all.

If neither of these extremes suits your taste, we have good news for you right here in Chicago. The Wavefront Music Festival, held July 4 weekend at Montrose Beach, finds a happy medium between the big room experience and the sweaty delights of dance's underground. What the Wavefront festival has essentially succeeded in doing is creating a European-style electronic music festival event in the United States. That's to say, they've chosen to work with very popular artists, who are also very skilled.

Europe's touch is particularly evident in this year's lineup, with techno superstars such as Maya Jane Coles and Jamie Jones heading up the roster. You can feel the organizers' desire to capture some of the allure of an Ibizan day-party with the talent they've selected. Artists such as dOP and Guti wouldn't be out of place on a breezy beach stage in Spain this time of year. But for all its European influences, this year's Wavefront lineup demonstrates remarkable commitment to the artists that helped define Chicago as the international capital of house music.

The godfather of house music himself, Frankie Knuckles, and his original vocal collaborator, Jamie Principle, make appearances amongst the international roster, along with many of this city's essential voices. From Gramaphone owner, Michael Serafini to Derrick Carter, you'll find your hometown heroes here too. Dance-rock fans of bands like LCD Soundsystem will be pleased to find DFA artists such as James Murphy, Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang. Classic big room techno purists will surely count the minutes until Lee Burridge and Sharam of Deep Dish hit the decks. There really is something for almost everyone.

When all is said and done, Wavefront achieves what few other dance festivals have managed to achieve: balance. So whether you're an underground house music lover or prefer the bass sounds of a crossover act like Diplo, there's something here for you right in the Windy City. Presale tickets range from $79.99 for a day pass to $349.99 for a 3-day weekend VIP pass.

Photo courtesy of Wavefront Music Festival

Written By Marea Stamper, Dance / Electronic Editor, ChicagoMusic.org 

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