Pitchfork Festival Recap from our Intern on the Scene!

21 Jul

Hey everyone, Chase the intern here, back in the office after a long, toasty weekend at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. While the weather was oppressive at times, it didn’t do much to keep thousands of Chicago’s sweatiest hipsters from hanging out in the sun to catch a set from their favorite bands. Spread across Union Park (home to the upcoming North Coast Festival!), the festival featured three main stages as well as a record fair, poster exhibit, and tons more food and goodies.

Armed with water and sunscreen (the two festival essentials), my friends and I headed in Friday afternoon to camp out at the blue stage, the smallest of the three and the one with the most shade, a fact not lost on us. From there, we had a great view for Gatekeeper, tUnE-yArDs, Curren$y, Das Racist, and James Blake. Musically, the day was a little bit of everything, from Gatekeeper’s dark electronic beats to tUnE-yArDs’ looping ukulele, all the way to Das Racist’s high-brow lyrics and stoner personas. The highlight of the day was James Blake, a British soul singer and dubstep producer.

Saturday presented more heat and a much more relaxed lineup, with nobody playing that I was really dying to see (any dying I did was going to be heat-related). Lounging under the trees, we were able to catch sets from Sun Airway, Wild Nothing, and Destroyer, all of which were perfect for chilling out without working up a sweat. As the night cooled down, we made our way to the main stage for Fleet Foxes, who I hadn’t seen since their 2009 Lollapalooza set. They really killed it, playing plenty of old and new material, and with lead singer Robin Pecknold so humbled by his band’s success, it was a perfect close to a relaxing day.

Sunday, the final day of the festival and the only one that sold out in advance, brought even higher temperatures along with a little bit of controversy from Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. One of the most talked-about names in hip-hop right now, OFWGKTA is a group of LA teens fronted by Tyler, the Creator, and they had all the media outlets buzzing over their ultra-violent and misogynistic lyrics, even sparking protests in the park. It’s impossible to deny the energy they brought to the stage, however, putting on a show packed with stage diving, crowd surfing, fist pumping, and all sorts of general rambunctiousness.

After their set, we headed over to see Baths, one of my favorite artists right now who’s doing some really groundbreaking stuff. At this point in the festival, we were all more or less exhausted and spent much of the rest of the day wandering around from stage to stage, catching bits and pieces of the other sets and saving our energy for Cut Copy, who put on my favorite set of the weekend (also, that music video rules). The night was closed out with a typically awesome set from TV on the Radio, and just like that, the festival was over.

The heat was a pretty formidable opponent this year, but for the lineup, price, and location, there’s no question that I’ll be back for my third year of Pitchfork next summer!

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