First Impressions: The Dave Matthews Caravan in Chicago

Ahh…what a beautiful day for a music festival!  Dave Matthews and the Caravan have parked their trucks and are set to kick off the next 3 days of musical entertainment at the new makeshift spot on the Southside of Chicago where an old steel manufacturing plant used to reside.   This festival is either going to be spectacular or a bust, and I am not talking about the acts.

First Impressions

Driving here I was most concerned about how Live Nation and Jam Productions were going to pull this off.  The space is literally empty fields surrounded by trees and Lake Michigan.  When you are nearing the parking lots you’ll pass the old steel mills and think to yourself, “Where am I?”   The fields are a pain to walk through because they aren’t even turf and I already tripped several times on plants and tree stumps sticking up out of the ground.   The walk to the parking lot to the festival grounds will be a sobering one for many of the Dave Matthews fans as they leave when the nights close-it’s a long road.  Something else to prepare yourself for is the mulch and dirt on the main festival grounds. It’s not really solid and stable yet, but it’s literally only a couple hours into day 1.  So in close, you’ll get dirty from everyone kicking up the dirt that’s in the dried mulch.


I am not big into festival food. I feared walking in that it would be all fried like Summerfest up in Wisconsin.  They have a vast array of food choices here and are easily accessible.  You can get your share of ice cold pickles on a stick to homemade desserts.  I already had the Pulled Turkey sandwich from Robinson’s Ribs booth and was surprised at the great taste.  Be prepared to pay $3 for a bottle of water, $4 for pop, and $10+ for beer/alcohol.   Food prices start at $3 (pickles on the stick) and sandwiches start at $6 and range to $8.  You can get just about anything you want barbecued.


It’s Dave Matthews they are crazy! I mean that in the best way.  Gates opened at 11am this morning and fans lined up starting around 8am. That’s not so crazy, but when gates opened they can stampeding and stumbling down the entry way. We saw many fall and even do summersaults down the hill.  One of the gate crashers was even taken down by one of the many security guards around the gate.

The majority of the crowd is hanging out at the South Works Stage where Dave Matthews will take the stage at 8:05 pm.  DMB will performance full sets each of the three nights.  You can see more photos at Concert Capture’s Facebook Page.


Parking opens at 11am each day
Gates open at 1pm each day

What’s Allowed In

ALLOWED:                                                                                            NOT ALLOWED:

Cameras & cell phone cameras                                                          Video cameras

Soft back packs smaller than 18.5” x 13” x 8”                             Frame backpacks

Empty reusable bottles                                                                        Outside food

Lawn and camping chairs                                                                    Umbrellas, shade canopies, tents, metal poles

Strollers (only if used to transport children)                              Coolers

Service dogs (but no other pets)                                                       Pets

Legal prescriptions in the original bottles                                    Walkie talkies

Blankets                                                                                                       Musical instruments

Audio recording for personal use only                                          Laser pointers

For more information go to

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