As a student in Upstate New York and a Midwestern native, I know a thing or two about catching a ride, hopping on a train, or—when it’s financially possible for my tuition-dominated budget—buying a plane ticket and heading to Chicago. While these trips usually take place over holidays, the ends of semesters, or any other event dictated by university scheduling, Pitchfork Music Festival is as good a reason as any to travel to the Windy City for a mid-July weekend.
Taking place in the west side’s Union Park July 19-21; this year’s festival will feature headlining acts from Björk, Belle & Sebastian, and R. Kelly. While the opportunity to see one of Iceland’s most iconic musicians, a group of indie-folk legends, and Chicago’s king of R&B is reason enough to make the trip west, it’s the entirety of Pitchfork’s 2013 lineup that makes it one of this summer’s most appealing festivals.
Here’s a day-by-day overview of the acts I hope to see between stocking up on as many free Kind bars as possible and digging through the Chirp Record Fair:
On Friday, gates will open several hours later than the festival’s two succeeding days. Although a delayed start time brings about a smaller number of performances on Pitchfork’s opening day, I’m certainly not worried about a shortage of exciting acts. My first stop will be the green stage, where Mac DeMarco will probably be wearing his backwards baseball cap and his faded, appropriately too-big button-up that compliments his jangly Canadian surf rock so perfectly. Shortly thereafter, I’ll catch some of Angel Olsen’s set, where the longing and the range in her vocals will remind me of Roy Orbison, and I’ll feel conflicted when I decide to leave early for Woods at the red stage. For a moment I’ll feel like I’m in California as Woods plays their west coast folk rock and I appreciate Union Park’s distance from the Chicago Loop, but a set from Mikal Cronin will remind me that I’m at my fourth fantastic performance of the day and there’s no where I could possibly be other than Pitchfork Music Festival.
Phosphorescent is the act I’m most looking forward to on Saturday; with a 2:30PM set time, it’s also one of the first acts I’ll see on day 2. I recently became a fan of Phosphorescent after Matthew Houck released his 6th album, Muchacho, under the luminous moniker. Houck’s laid-back alt-country will be a suitably contrastive introduction to an afternoon/evening of punk rock (Pissed Jeans, Parquet Courts, Metz) and electronic instrumental music (Ryan Hemsworth, Andy Scott, Rustie). I haven’t yet figured out how I’m going to make it to all of these shows while finding time for The Breeders, who will be playing the entirety of Last Splash and Solange, who performs soul-infused, hip hop-influenced R&B much like her sister with a similarly mononymous name, Beyoncé.
Chicagoans Tree and DJ Rashad will play opening sets on Sunday, representing the city’s underground hip hop scene and the recently evolved footwork genre. Foxygen takes the red stage at 1:45, playing a show I’ve been waiting for since the release of We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic in January. The psych-rock duo, whose music takes cues from 70’s acts like the Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground, are known to put on a wild performance, complimenting their energetic, occasionally frantic music. At 3:45 Waxahatchee will play the blue stage; whether it’s just Katie Crutchfield and her guitar—much like the majority of her debut album, American Weekend—or she plays with the full band featured on this year’s Cerulean Salt, doesn’t particularly matter to me, as both styles display the candid songwriting and the wistful melodies that make her set one of my most anticipated of the weekend.
With tickets still available at $50 per day, it’s not too late to plan a weekend trip to Chicago and be a part of Pitchfork Music Festival 2013. If such a plan isn’t necessarily feasible until next year, however, I’ll be back next week with a recap of the festival’s best shows, photos from all three days, and an approximate number of personally consumed Kind bars.