It’s hard to not get emotional thinking about the 10th anniversary of Pitchfork Music Festival, which took place in the West Loop’s Union Park last weekend. Since it’s beginning, Pitchfork has brought eclectic lineups of indie artists together and has solidified a position as one of the best music festivals in Chicago. In my 5 years attending the festival, I would definitely say this year was the most impressive year yet.
The presence of Chicago music was definitely felt throughout the whole weekend, with Wilco on Friday, Vic Mensa on Saturday, and Chance The Rapper closing out the whole festival on Sunday. With Pitchfork originally from and based in Chicago, this heavy dose of local music was very fitting for an anniversary year and gave the festival an extra glow. The festival also showcased tons of new artists from around the country and the world, like D.C. singer Shamir as well as rocker chicks MOURN from Barcelona. After all was said and done, I didn’t see a bad set at Pitchfork this year (however I was kind of sad Vince Staples couldn’t make it to his set).
Mac DeMarco, feelin’ it
There isn’t a way to describe how it feels to walk through security lines into a world revolving around music. Excitement is probably the closest feeling, but it’s heightened. In that moment, the world is your playground and all the stress from your job or heartbreak from breaking up with your significant other is thrown out the window. It’s an even better feeling knowing you’re in a giant American city feeling this way. This feeling is what has gotten me addicted to music festivals in my short life. Every harsh winter in this city is worth it when summer rolls around and I get to experience that feeling after freezing my ass off for 6 months. Also, being this was the first year I could really embrace the after parties now that I’m of legal age, I WENT BRAZY. Thanks to Boiler Room and 1833, I was able to catch the trifecta of super chefs (Lil B, ILoveMakonnen, and Father) and even hit up some other sweet yadig’s, courtesy of Them Flavors.
When it came to the festivals performances, I couldn’t have asked for a better display of amazing musicianship and showmanship. Whether it was Ariel Pink freaking the shit out of a crowd of people expecting to see Vince Staples or Mac DeMarco flirt with basically performing a stand up routine, I was impressed with every set I saw. I’m also pretty sure you could feel the earth shake from Michigan Ave. during A$AP Ferg’s set. Oh, and how could I forget Vic Mensa’s Saturday night performance? I mean dude brought out damn near half the city on stage with him to perform “U Mad”, creating what Fox News would’ve probably called “a riot”. All jokes aside, the performers seemed to share the same excitement the fans had throughout the whole weekend, which created so many lifetime memories.
When it was time for Chano to close out the weekend festivities, there was a buzz in the air amongst festivalgoers, eagerly waiting to see what the young rapper had in store for his hometown. What we got was nothing short of spectacular. In true Chicago fashion, Chance brought out the Chicago Bulls bucket boys, a church choir, and Chicago legend Kirk Franklin in what most people have dubbed the best performance they’ve ever seen him put on (most Chance The Rapper fans have seen him several times. I’m probably at close to 30 times myself). At one point, when Chance was performing “Everybody’s Something” (just one of all the amazing songs on Acid Rap), I started to tear up thinking about how someone I personally know has such massive influence on his city and the hip-hop community AND WE’RE THE SAME AGE. I mean, seriously, this kid had a whole fucking park full of people singing every word to damn near every song he played and dude would’ve just graduated college (if he had gone). Though I didn’t see Chance at Lollapalooza last year, I imagine I would’ve felt the same way. However, the fact he was THE headlining act this year made the whole festival feel like his, or what he probably would’ve called “all of ours”. And that’s just it; Chance was the perfect pick to close out the 10th anniversary of Pitchfork Music Festival because we all feel our own ownership of his music, like we do Pitchfork. It is truly a festival for artistic young minds to gather and be joyful while the weather is nice and the vibe is right. It was only right the most positive member of our booming music scene got to send everyone home satisfied.
After three days of dancing, trekking through an unbelievable amount of mud, drinking good beer, seeing ALL of your friends, and nerding out about who to see and what you’ve seen, Pitchfork ended with not a stone overturned. In its 10 years in Chicago, Pitchfork Music Festival has become a hub for Chicago’s coolest to gather and enjoy the better things in life: music, friends, and good weather. As I prepare to move out of the only place I’ve ever called home, I am so happy I was able to experience what I would call was Pitchfork’s best year. It makes it a little harder to prepare to leave, but I know if I ever need a dose of summertime Chi, Pitchfork festival will give me a very hearty dose. Until next year…