Surviving a musical festival that takes place in mid-July can be challenging, given the often-sweltering temperatures, humidity and possibility of a thunderstorm at any moment. But to do more than simply survive, here are The Phoenix’s tips for making the most of the Pitchfork experience.
The 14th annual Pitchfork Music Festival will be making indie music dreams come true at Union Park (1501 W. Randolph St.) July 19-21. Gates open at noon each day and the first act goes on at 1 p.m., so those thinking about running straight to the barricade of one of the three stages should plan accordingly.
Union Park is right off the Green and Pink Lines’ Ashland stop, making for easy public transit access. For those planning to drive, it might not be too soon to brush up on parallel parking skills — there’s no set parking lot for the fest.
The Obvious, But it Bears Repeating
For the love of all that is good, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
Get to Know the Artists (their music, anyway)
Pitchfork has been known to put together a lineup full of indie favorites and this year is no different with headliners indie-rock group HAIM, genre-diverse veteran performers The Isley Brothers and electropop singer Robyn.
Chicago-based duo Grapetooth will be bringing their ‘80s synth sound to Union Park on Friday afternoon. Later in the day, gospel and blues legend Mavis Staples will be gracing the Red Stage in support of her newest album, “We Get By.”
Indie-alternative artist Amber Mark and singer-songwriter Kurt Vile and his guitar will be competing for attention as they play at the same time Saturday evening.
For the fest’s final day, popstar Charli XCX is set to take the stage Sunday evening to prove she’s more than her 2014 hit “Boom Clap.” Earlier in the day, lo-fi newcomer Clairo will be showcasing her dreamy vocals.
Check Out the Shops
There’s plenty of opportunities to spend any left over cash after buying a ticket at the series of vendors selling everything from clothing to keepsakes.
To pick up physical copies of some of the albums being performed, Chicago Independent Radio Project is hosting a Record Fair supporting indie labels and local record stores. Just be sure to keep new vinyl safe if venturing into the pit afterwards.
The Renegade Craft Fair and Flatstock Poster Fair will be the place to support local artists and artisans while gathering some creative inspiration and some new art, of course.
The spoken word gets its own moment in the spotlight at the Book Fort, a book fair complete with readings and performances. Meanwhile, at the Blue Stage, Louder Than A Bomb Poets will perform poems between sets to keep the crowd engaged.
What to Bring (and what not to)
When venturing out into the wild that is Union Park, being prepared with all the necessities is of the utmost importance. Make sure the fanny pack is stocked with a fully-charged portable charger, factory-sealed sunscreen and a poncho, just in case.
Less essential, but a blanket is sure to make lounging in the grass more comfortable and a point-and-shoot camera will make for fun photo shoots and long-lasting memories.
The fireworks, stuffed animals and pets will have to stay at home, but they probably weren’t needed anyway.
Double-check which festival must-haves are allowed with the full list of prohibited and permitted items on Pitchfork’s website.
Can’t Make It?
Pitchfork Radio will be broadcasting live sets and interviews from the festival to make sure everyone gets the chance to hear their favorite artist live. The content schedule can be found on Pitchfork Radio’s website.
For those who can’t come down to Union Park for the day, a handful of artists including Snail Mail and CHAI will be hosting aftershows at various venues from Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport St.) to Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.) after the Union Park festivities conclude.
Tickets to Pitchfork are still available on its website starting at $200 for a three-day pass and $95 for a one-day pass.