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Pitchfork 2016 Complete Festival Guide

Pitchfork Music Festival - Day 1
Photo Credit: Tom Burns/Getty Images

A few Canadians, a British singer, a Beach Boy and some rising hip-hop artists are among the headliners scheduled to appear at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. Hosted by the city's own Pitchfork Media, this year's event will once again be held at Union Park and will host more than 40 artists, including Broken Social Scene, Miguel, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jeremih, FKA twigs and co-founder of the Beach Boys Brian Wilson, who may be the highlight of the three-day event despite recently celebrating his 74th birthday. For music lovers planning on attending one of Chicago's best summer music events, this festival guide provides an informative look on who to see, what to eat and how to get there.

For more information on Pitchfork 2016, including full lineups, photos, videos and more visit

Pitchfork Music Festival
Union Park
1501 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL  60607

Dates: July 15-17, 2016

About Pitchfork Music Festival

Now in its 11th year, the Pitchfork Music Festival is three-day event held each summer in Chicago's Union Park. Hosted by Chicago-based Pitchfork Media, an online music magazine, the annual event hosts more than 40 bands representing a number of music genres such as alternative rock, rap and hip hop and electronic and dance music. This year's event is expected to draw in the excess of 50,000 music fans from across the country and from all over the world. Also on hand will be several food and retail vendors, as well as more than 15 local non-profit organizations. Although the music festival has a particular emphasis on new and emerging talent, it also has many well-known music artists. This includes De La Soul, Public Enemy, Bon Iver, The Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, James Blake, Beck, Kendrick Lamar and Björk.

Pitchfork will also be hosting the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris in late October.

Ticket Information

According to the most recent information from Pitchfork Media, single day and three-day passes remain available. Tickets can be purchased online through Ticketfly or through its mobile app. Mobile tickets can be sent via email or via Apple's Passbook for iOS users and mobile barcodes for users with Android devices or other smart phones. A valid government issued ID is required for will call tickets. There is free admission for children under 10 years old when accompanied by an adult. There is no re-entry policy for the music festival. Additional information on tickets can be found on Ticketfly or through the Pitchfork Music Festival.

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De Nolet Presented By Ketel One Vodka, An Official Sponsor Of The Pitchfork Music Festival - Day 2
Photo Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Ketel One

Featured Music Acts

Pitchfork Music Festival 2016 will host mostly contemporary music artists like Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, English singer FKA twigs, Miguel, Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen, Jeremih and repeat performers Beach House. However, the most recognizable performer on this year's lineup is the legendary leader, singer, principal songwriter and producer of the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Wilson is in the early stages of a nationwide tour of the 50th anniversary of the 1966 landmark album "Pet Sounds," considered one of the greatest and most influential albums in music history. One other notable band scheduled to appear on Sunday is the critically acclaimed Sun Ra Arkestra, founded by the late free form jazz musician Sun Ra.


The Pitchfork Music Festival 2016 will be held at the 13.46-acre Union Park in the Near West Side neighborhood of Chicago. The park opened in 1853 and was named in honor of America's federal union, but also closely identifies with labor unions and has been the scene for political gatherings and other music festivals. Vehicle parking and camping are not available at the park for this event. Additionally, there are no sanctioned parking lots for public use that are associated with the promoters. The main gate for the Pitchfork Music Festival is located on Ashland Avenue, on the west side of Union Park. Storage lockers are available and reservations for a locker may be made from one day or all three days. The event will be held rain or shine.

Lodging Options

Accommodations may still be available from Pitchfork-recommended Chicago hotels including Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, Hotel Allegro and Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC. Additionally, hundreds of other lodging options should be available all across the city, at such places like the W Chicago-City Center, Sheraton Grand Chicago and Central Loop Hotel. The closest campgrounds in the Chicago are located at Illinois Beach State Park in Zion and the Chicago Northwest KOA in Union, but are both several miles away from Union Park.

How To Get There

Public Transportation

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has an "L" train station at the northwest corner of Union Park known as Ashland. The Green and Pink lines offer service to the Ashland station. Passage on the "L" train is $2.25 with a Ventra Card or personal bankcard and a transfer for up to two additional "L" trains or bus rides within two hours is 25 cents. Single and multiple day CTA passes are also available. Additionally, the CTA offers public bus service to Union Park via the Ashland #9 route and the Madison #20 route. Bus fare is $2 with a Ventra Card or personal bankcard and cash fare is $2.25. Ventra Cards may be purchased for $5 from a Ventra farecard vending machine at any CTA train station, at local retailers or directly through Ventra Chicago. A disposable, single ride or day pass Ventra ticket may also be purchased at any CTA train station.


Biking is one of the most efficient ways to get to the Pitchfork Music Festival. A secure bike parking area will be available at the northwest corner of Union Park near the corner of Ashland and Lake. Several Chicago-area bike shops offer bike rentals and Divvy, the city's popular bike share system, also offers a large number of bikes at hundreds of stations. Additionally, Divy staff members will be on-hand to offer valet bike service with guaranteed bike parking at the Ashland station.


Because no vehicle parking is available at Union Park, Pitchfork recommends Lyft, the music festival's official ridesharing partner. Lyft is offering a $50 ride credit for new users only by using the code PITCHFORK. Uber also offers ride sharing services in Chicago.

De Nolet Presented By Ketel One Vodka, An Official Sponsor Of The Pitchfork Music Festival - Day 3
Photo Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Ketel One


The Pitchfork Music Festival is committed to providing accessible facilities and services to all visitors and patrons. Ramps from the sidewalk to the street will be installed and ADA-certified restrooms will be available. Festival attendees interested in watching performances from viewing platforms should check in at the ADA entrance on Ashland, just north of the main entrance.

Visitors who require space to store medical equipment or medications at the music festival are asked to email medical services at ahead of time in order to make accommodations.

The Ashland "L" train station is wheelchair accessible as well as all CTA bus routes.

Food, Beverages & Merchandise

More than 10 independent food vendors are currently scheduled to offer food and beverages at the Pitchfork Music Festival. This includes Big Delicious Table, the Chicago Diner, Rice Table and Wooden Paddle Pizza. Of the vendors, approximately one third will be offering gluten free and vegan items. Additionally, a handful of retailers will also be on hand, including Buffalo Exchange, MADE and Transit Tees. Also available will be original artwork at Flatstock, Coterie Craft Fair, Book Fort and Chirp Record Fair with vinyl selections from independent music artists, local record stores and independent vendors.

What To Bring

The following items are among items that will be allowed on the festival grounds: two bottled waters, non-professional digital cameras, fanny packs and backpacks, sunglasses, cigarettes, hats and folding chairs. Complete information on what's allowable and what's not can be found in the Explore section of the Pitchfork Music Festival website.

What Not To Bring

The following are among items that will not be allowed past the entrance gates: outside food and beverages other than bottled water, pets, professional cameras, weapons of any kind, tents and drugs or drug paraphernalia.

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Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. He may be contacted via Twitter or Linkedin .
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