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Guide To: Pitchfork

Pitchfork Music Festival - Day 3
(credit: Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago
1501 W Randolph St
Chicago, Illinois 60607
July 15, 16 and 17
(312) 746-5494
WXRT Radio

Cheaper than other music festivals of its ilk (at only $45 bucks a day), Pitchfork Music Festival is a bright light in the bleak landscape of a summer filled with too much of the same old same old. Seriously though, aren't you tired of overpriced bottles of water and a list of bands chosen by hipsters living in newly gentrified neighborhoods that are now too cool for you to set foot in? Or festivals where the lineup is clearly chosen by your dad, who may have good taste in music for a dad, but it's still a dad's taste in music? Blah, I'm tired of it all. If you are too, just go to Pitchfork, see a couple bands you love, see a couple bands you've never heard of, hold someone's clammy, sweaty hand, and get that bad, abused taste of all other Summer festivals out of your mouth. You deserve a break from the bland.


Get your tickets from As of right now, Sunday is sold out (bummer, right?), but you've still got Friday and Saturday. You can pick 'em up at willcall starting Thursday, July 14th, but that will entail long lines and waiting, so have 'em sent to you or print 'em out if possible.

What to and Not to Bring

Bottled water is a must, it's the middle of summer, ya dope! You wanna get heat sickness? If you're as pale as I am and the sun is your enemy, make sure you bring sunscreen - you will be outside, ya know. Make sure you don't bring alcohol, or any food (other than water, as stated). Also, no "professional" cameras are allowed, which are defined as cameras with detachable lenses. And, as always, no knives. Apparently they've heard of your underground knife fighting ring, sorry.

For a more full and comprehensive list of what is and isn't allowed on their info page.

How to Get There

Drive if you want, but have fun finding a parking spot. Seriously, it'll be a huge pain. Ride your bike, or take public transportation! Both are more fun and adventurous. Here are your options that don't involve a motor vehicle:

Biking! Pitchfork would prefer you show up on your fixie, so consider it. They've set up areas specifically to lock your bike up that will leave your sweet ride nice and safe. You won't have to worry about thieves as your precious sits in the "Chicago Reader Biker Village," which doesn't only provide space for the bikes, but grease for chains, air for tires, and water. Biker Village will be at Ashland and Warren, which is the Southwest corner of the festival grounds.

The Ashland-Lake Green/Pink Line "L" train is right beside Union Park, and therefore a great stop for Pitchfork. Doesn't matter what line you live close to, you can always take a train downtown and hop on the Green or Pink line. Easy peasy. If the Metra is more convenient, then you can hop on the BNSF Railway line, The Wester Avenue, Union Station and Halsted stops are all over a mile away, but not two, which makes for an easy enough walk.

TV on the Radio

Full List of Bands

July 15th

Gatekeeper, Ema, Tune-Yards, Battles, Curren$y, Thurston Moore, Guided by Voices, Das Racist, Neko Case, James Blake, Animal Collective.

July 16th

Chrissy Murderbot Ft. MC Zulu, Julianna Barwick, Woods, Sun Airway, Cold Cave, G-Side, No Age, Wild Nothing, Gang Gang Dance, Off!, Destroyer, The Radio Dept, The Dismemberment Plan, Twin Shadow, DJ Shadow, Zola Jesus, Fleet Foxes.

July 17th

Darkstar, The Fresh & Onlys, Yuck, How to Dress Well, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Twin Sister, Ofwgkta, Shabazz Palaces, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Baths, Superchunk, Kylesa, Deerhunter, Toro Y Moi, Cut Copy, HEALTH, TV on the Radio.

Sonic Youth Performs in Concert in Madrid
(credit: Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

Who I'd See

Or rather, who my cooler friends would suggest I see since I have awful taste in music. Both subtitles work.

Thurston Moore, of groundbreaking alternative rock (whatever alternative rock is) band Sonic Youth (you know you loved Daydream Nation), will be there on Friday! So go see one of the most influential people on, well, music. Also there on Friday is Das Racist, a funny rap duo good for a laugh, and Neko Case, whose sultry, country-esque voice I love, but would only suggest seeing if you don't mind being depressed.

For those of you with a hankering for Canadian indie rock (who doesn't love Canadian indie rock?), check out Destroyer on Saturday. Destroyer is melodic and somehow both simple and complicated at the time. Their songs might put you to sleep on occasion, but your toe wouldn't stop tapping once through your slumber.

Toro Y Moi

Toro y Moi is simply Chaz Bundick, mixing rock, electronic and R&B with poppy, but close and sentimental lyrics. He'll be there on Sunday, along with Deerhunter, a band who has been becoming immensely popular thanks to a leaked full length album, along with multiple demos they're happy to release (for free!) on their website. If you like indie music in the tradition of lo-fi rock, then they just might be for you.

Well there you have it, my picks. Judge me! I welcome it. I'd do the same, regardless of who you're going to see. Even if we disagree on which bands to see, one thing is for certain: there's something for both of us there. So let's go to Pitchfork. It'll be fun.


Need more information on everything Pitchfork-Music-Festival-y? Then head on over to WXRT Radio, who is covering every aspect of the festival with guides, a live feed and all the need-to-know news you could possibly wish for.

Mason Johnson, CBS Local Chicago


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