Marginalia, Graduate Blog

‘Pitch’ing in at Pitchfork Music Festival

Nikki Hartel

Pitchfork soundcheck. Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Chicago is an epicenter for summer music festivals.  When you say July to any Chicago music fan, they automatically think Pitchfork.  It is an annual summer music festival that takes place over one weekend in July (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) at Union Park.  The music spans from indie-rock, rap and hip-hop, dance, punk, experimental, electronica, and jazz.

During the festival, the Green/Pink Line stop located at Ashland and Lake receives a higher volume of traffic than normal.  Outside the festival gates the street is flooded with music fans, scalpers, promotional teams, people hustling to try to sell stuff, and a sense of excitement, like Christmas in July.

The July weather did not disappoint—festival goers endured the rain, which turned the grass into sloppy mud puddles and the hot rays of sunshine, turning some fair skinned noses pink.

The Mud people at Pitchfork Music Festival. Image obtained at Chicagoist.com.

A three-day festival makes it hard to keep track of all the bands you want to see.  With the help of phone app company, Diacarta, Pitchfork came out with the handy-dandy phone-app to help keep track of who is playing when and where.  You could even create your own schedule.

Diacarta's Pitchfork app allows you to set up your own schedule.

While attracting local music fans, people from all over made the trek to the Windy City,, including the lady who likes to “Just Dance.”  Ms. Gaga made an appearance checking out Kendrick Lamar.  Who knows, maybe a future collaboration is in the near future.

Lady Gaga hangs with Kendrick Lamar backstage at Pitchfork. Picture obtained at Gorillaleak.com.

This was my second time attending Pitchfork as a volunteer.  Chicago NFP, Rock For Kids (RFK), got to “pitch” a tent and host a mini-auction.  Some of the auction memorabilia included signed items from Hot Chip, Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sleigh Bells, Iceage, Dirty Beaches, and other items obtained from previous years, like the 2010 Pitchfork poster signed by the members of LCD Soundsystem.   The auction lasted the entire festival, beginning on Friday and ending at Sunday at 8pm.  The auction raised funds that help contribute to music education for at-risk youth living in the Chicago area.  Also, it gave fans the opportunity to go home with the coolest concert swag ever.

On the far left is a 2010 Pitchfork poster signed by LCD Soundsystem, on the top right is the RFK Auction House and the bottom right is a 2012 Pitchfork poster signed by Feist. Pictures taken by Lisette Medina.

On a final note, of the bands I was able to see, my favorite performances were by Grimes, Hot Chip, and Beach House.  Who did you enjoy?!  Check out Grimes’ “Oblivion” music video below.

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‘Pitch’ing in at Pitchfork Music Festival

Chicago is an epicenter for summer music festivals. When you say July to any Chicago music fan, they automatically think– Pitchfork. It is an annual summer music festival that takes place over one weekend in July (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) at Union Park. The music spans from indie-rock, rap and hip-hop, dance, punk, experimental, electronica, and jazz. This year I attended as a volunteer on behalf of the non-for-profit, Rock For Kids, helping run their charity auction, which benefited music education for at-risk youth.

Arts, Entertainment & Media Management MAM Nikki Hartel, aemm.mam@colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605