Friday, the opening day of Pitchfork, may be the strongest lineup even though it features the smallest number of acts. The opening performances creates an immediate conflict. The great Frankie Rose is the first to play at 3:20 p.m. but the intriguing Daughn Gibson’s set is scheduled to start 10 minutes later. Wear your running shoes to sprint between stages.
From there, it’s the hardcore of Trash Talk vs. cool singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco. Angel Olsen and Woods overlap a bit. I’ll try to see both as well as Mikal Cronin. (Lace up those running shoes.) For me the evening could end with the legendary Wire starting at 6:25 p.m. (6:25 p.m.!) but Joanna Newsom and Bjork will follow to close the first night. Must see: Wire and Woods.
The side stage at Pitchfork’s annual music festival in Chicago featured some standout performances in recent years. And this year’s lineup is strong, too. The caveat is that the great bands playing the Blue stage force some difficult choices between the main stage acts. The just-released Pitchfork schedule confirms there will be some conflicts again this year.
On the Friday night of Pitchfork (July 19), Mikal Cronin begins his set on the Blue stage 10 minutes before Wire plays the big field. That’s a real shame. You have to pick between the rising star Cronin (who made one of the best albums of the year) and the legendary Wire. That same night, Woods starts 15 minutes after Angel Olsen’s Blue stage set begins.
On Saturday night, there’s another dilemma. I predict Savages and Swans will play two of the most memorable sets of the festival. But if you want to sneak over to side stage to catch Metz, you’re going to have to cut a set short.
One positive is that Union Park is relatively small and you can get between the main stages and the side stage relatively fast. (This isn’t Lollapalooza).
Here’s the full schedule.
Pitchfork rounded out the lineup for its annual three-day Chicago festival and there’s a lot to like this year. I’ve said that this is one of the most interesting music festivals regardless of headliners. The up-and-coming early acts are often a highlight for me.
The biggest name added to the fest is M.I.A., who will play Sunday night before R. Kelly (at least that’s how the schedule appears now). Also joining the lineup are indie vets Yo La Tengo (Sunday) and the punk legends of Wire (Friday).
What really excites me are the additions of Woods, Frankie Rose and Mikal Cronin Friday; Parquet Courts and Metz Saturday; and Waxahatchee and Glass Candy Sunday. But there are a number of other highlights. See the full schedule here. The festival runs July 19-21.