*All photos taken with our iPhones. Only press are allowed to bring cameras with detachable lenses into the park.
Jordan and I love seeing our favorite bands play live but we had never attended a music festival together. This was not because we lacked the desire. I think because we lived so close to Chicago (the location of so many awesome festivals), we took "going next year" for grated... that is, until we moved!
Jordan received a press pass for Pitchfork Music Festival last summer. He was only able to go one day. The plan fell together semi last-minute, so I wasn't able to get off work, which was a huge bummer because Jordan saw St. Vincent play (ahh!). Chicago in the summertime is a special place, so after deciding to purchase three-day Pitchfork passes for this year, we created a full trip out of it! I'll be sharing more about the rest of our trip later.
I'd love to talk about our experience at the festival and some of the bands we saw. Cool? Let's do it!
Pitchfork Music Festival (which celebrated its 10th anniversary) is held in Union Park on the West Side of Chicago. Two main stages seamlessly alternate acts throughout each day while a third stage is separated just enough to allow a slight overlap to take place. The bands represent a wide range of musical taste: indie rock, pop, EDM, hip & hop etc.
^ Wilco dropped their new record, Star Wars, for free the night before Pitchfork began. They played the entire LP!
I was extremely impressed with the efficiency of the whole weekend. Bands started and stopped on time. Food vendors offered plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Whole Foods had a tent where they sold healthy snacks, gave away bananas and had a "refresher" bar with free sunscreen, hand sanitizer and body splashes!
During the concerts, free water bottles were given out by volunteers who did their best to keep people from passing out. In another area of the park there was essentially a pop up market full of records, books, trendy (and vintage) clothes and custom jewelry sold by local vendors and stores. Topshop was screen printing free t-shirts, Dark Horse had a wine bar and was giving out samples, there was even a poetry reading!
In the main concert areas, you are able to bring chairs and blankets and set up a mini "camp" for the day. Many parents brought their young children, choosing to sit a little ways from the stage but still fully able to see and hear everything.
The forecast for the weekend teased a possibility of rain, but our weather app couldn't quite make up its mind which day the rain would visit. On Saturday, I misjudged the weather report, and left our umbrella behind. As the day progressed, dark clouds started to roll in. Uh oh. Luckily, 20 minutes before the rain fell, Jordan and I went searching for an umbrella. We bought one for $20. It was worth it...
Ex Hex managed to play through a handful of songs before it started POURING. The whole crowed ran for cover.... Then lightning struck and we were forced to evacuate the park. Thousands of concert goers flooded the streets in a stampede. I can only imagine what everyone driving in their cars thought of us! Jordan and I had stayed in the city Friday night, so we had spare clothes and extra shoes in our car. We dried off the best we could while waiting to hear if and when the park would reopen.
Thankfully, the storm passed rather quickly and the rest of the night miraculously continued like nothing had happened!
^ A little mud wasn't going to stop us!
^ The sunsets were beautiful all weekend.
^ Blurry love is real love. :-)
^ CARRIE! (Sleater-Kinney)
^ Katie from Waxahatchee has killer style.
On to the music!
Music can be objective, but music taste is very subjective. I'm sure we can all agree Beethoven was talented, but we might never listen to his music, ya know? Not every set we saw was perfect, but I'm not here to bash anyone.
I'm placing the bands Jordan and I saw into three categories:
1 FORK: I'll put their song on a playlist. 2 FORKS: I'd purchase and listen to their whole album. 3 FORKS: I'll see them live again and join their fan club.
- Mac DeMarco: 3 FORKS - Super great. Love his low key vibes.
- Panda Bear: 3 FORKS - Noah Lennox (co-founder of Animal Collective) knows how to bring the jams.
- CHVRCHES: 1 FORK - They have some great songs but the performance was a little lacking on such a big stage. I did laugh when she commented that there was lot of sun for "a bunch of Scotts!"
- Wilco: 2 FORKS - You're probably a 3, but it's me not you, Wilco!
- The New Pornographers: 1 FORK - Beautiful harmonies but their set felt a little too long despite it being the same as everyone else.
- Ex Hex: 2 FORKS - I wish they could have played more but the rain had other plans.
- Future Islands: 3 FORKS - Ugh, they are so fun to watch live! It's one big dance party!
- Sleater-Kinney: 3 FORKS - My brother always raved about SK, but I struggled whenever I tried to dive into their discography. Seeing them live was eye-opening. Their talent is undeniable.
- Jamie XX: 1 FORK - Jamie captured the whole crowd. Some might say EDM isn't "real" music because instruments aren't played live, but to me it's amazing how bits and bobs are pieced together to create an original sound.
- Courtney Barnett: 1 FORKS - A singer-songwriter from Australia with witty rambling style lyrics.
- Waxahatchee: 2 FORKS - Katie Crutchfield was great and un-phased despite the scorching sun and her drummer having some tempo issues; Hey, it happens!
- Run The Jewels: 1 FORK - MCs El-P and Killer Mike are supremely talented and their aggressive, thoughtful hip-hop is critically acclaimed. RTJ is just not my personal fav.
- Caribou: 3 FORKS - Caribou's live set blew us away (Jordan loved the drummer!). At home, Jordan and I enjoy listening to their album while working.
- Chance The Rapper: 3 FORKS - Famous from a mix tape... Chance was the headliner Sunday night. Wow. He and his band, The Social Experiment, were way too much fun. The crowd sang "Sunday Candy" in unison at the top of our lungs. Chance The Rapper is about to reach a tipping point. Look out, world.
I created a playlist of my favorite songs from these artists minus Run The Jewels, who are amazing but a bit explicit for this playlist. Haha. Happy Listening!
Have you been to a music festival? Which is your favorite?
^ Chance's love for Chicago was evident throughout his entire set.