There are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes attached to the word “Pitchfork”, but it would be a disservice to ignore the publication’s greatest skill: content curation. It’s a trait that stands out with every project they take on (Basilica Soundscape, Pitchfork Paris) and the Pitchfork Music Festival is the epicenter – the spot that backs their ability to forego stadium names for various acts you actually listen to.
This year’s lineup does feature the likes of Wilco and Sleater-Kinney, but it’s also packed with risers and shakers like Courtney Barnett, Jamie xx, Parquet Courts, Natalie Prass, and How To Dress Well. That small list barely makes a dent in what the festival has planned for this weekend so to help cover your bases, here are some highlights to look out for if you’re headed back to Union Park.
CHANCE THE RAPPER AND VIC MENSA’s HOMETOWN CLOSERS
They won’t admit it, but Chance and Vic are this generation’s Common and Yeezy. The pair are doing wonders for the youth, whether it’s standing up for originality or giving back to the high schoolers, and their weekend closers are bound to be electric moments with a dash of Donnie Trumpet. Neither of them have hit 23 yet, but it doesn’t matter – “Sunday Candy” is a win for Chicago and the state of Illinois.
RUN THE JEWELS’ SUNDAY ASSIST
If every Pitchfork headliner is set to have their Jordan moment, then you can expect Run The Jewels to enter Union Park like Pippen in 1994. Killer Mike and El-P are practically feeding Chance The Rapper a no-look pass on Sunday night and if their set is anything like it was at Bonnaroo, it’s bound to be a clip wig, tag em up kinda spectacle that will leave you posing like a centerfold.
EVERY FEMALE ARTIST THAT’s ON THIS YEAR’s LINEUP
It’s worth repeating: the fine folks at Pitchfork know how to curate a music festival. Others have had a noticeable issue with booking female musicians and yet P4K’s bill features Sleater-Kinney, CHVRCHES, Courtney Barnett, Bully, Jessica Pratt, Natalie Prass, Ex Hex, The Julie Ruin, and Waxahatchee. It could always use more but this just goes to show there doesn’t have to be a gender problem.
THE CHICAGO-STYLE FOOD
Pitchfork Fest isn’t exactly a food mecca but it’s becoming one. Goose Island is returning to Union Park this year and they will be joined by the likes of Chubby Wieners, Puffs Of Doom, Big Delicious Planet, Dark Matter Coffee, Black Dog Gelato, Estrella Negra, Rice Table, Robinson’s Ribs, and Chicago Diner.
THE CHIRP RECORD FAIR
The festival is set to host another Coterie Chicago Craft Fair and its own version of Flatstock, but it is hard to top or even ignore the CHIRP Record Fair. The Chicago Independent Radio Project brings in select vinyl from indie labels and local record stores, and since they never really slouch on super rare finds, they tend to comfort those who have been spurned by shipping fees for years.
THE INDIE-FRIENDLY BOOK FORT
According to Pitchfork, the Book Fort is “a roving, interactive book fair that seeks to make a meaningful contribution to communities” – whether it’s through readings, performances, or interacting with indie presses. Some of this year’s publishers include featherproof books, Curbside Splendor, Third Man Books, Spork Press, Publishing Genius Press, Sarabande Books, Haymarket Books, and Poetry Magazine.
THE DIY HIP-HOP ACTS
The fest is always adorned with a bevy of hip-hop all-stars, but it’s never been this supportive of the DIY come-up. Sure, there’s Chance, Vic, and Run The Jewels, but A$AP Ferg, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, ILoveMakonnen, and Vince Staples are must-sees because they’re performers in their own right – the kind that make you crowd surf without remorse and bang your head like a PEZ dispenser.
“THE OTHER CANADIANS”
There’s a good chance your significant other is a big fan of Viet Cong but has no interest in Ought and Single Mothers. If that’s the case, then dump them. Do it via a Snapchat of you changing the password to your joint Netflix account. Why? There’s a noticeable Canadian presence at Pitchfork this year and Ought and Single Mothers tend to throw the kitchen sink out the window when they hit the stage.
TINDER (THE APP)
It’s true: Tinder is still a “thing” and it’s still mildly relevant – especially if your interests include post-coital drip coffee or someone who enjoys shaking the sheets to Swans and Lower Dens. It can be a test of strength at festivals so just keep it creative and be less “7.2” and “Best New Music” when it’s time to flirt. Lines like “If I was Ian Cohen, I’d say you are perversely satisfying” are clear winners.
THE PITCHFORK STAFF
The only trends you should be paying close attention to this weekend are Pitchfork’s staffers. They might get a bad rap for being description hoarders, but they’re also human beings. Ian Cohen, Jessica Hopper, Jayson Greene, and Charlotte Zoller are interesting minds and if that doesn’t sway your opinion, then Brandon Stosuy’s kids will likely stunt all over you in some capacity. Seriously. Henry’s got it made.