Words and Bad Instagram Photos Brandon Wetherbee
For the ninth consecutive year the Pitchfork Music Festival took over Union Park on the West Side of Chicago, Il. I attended the three-day festival as a #p4k (there were no hash tags year 1! #yolo) veteran. Since its humble beginnings as a two-day, mostly local fest in 2005 to the highly influential, somewhat controversial (Hi R. Kelly!) 2013 edition, the fest has brought me joy and life lessons.
First and foremost, Pitchfork is a music fest. The 2013 edition featured a wealth of quality veteran, nostalgia and buzz worth acts. See the following bands/artists ASAP. Each delivered a set worth remembering and thanks to the internet (where you get your music!), you can judge for yourself.
Björk: Next to Iggy and the Stooges, the best festival headliner I’ve been lucky enough to see (Daft Punk is 3rd). What other headliner has a Tesla Coil on stage?
Wire: Old dudes that aren’t sad and write new songs that don’t suck.
Angel Olsen: For quieter moments.
Trash Talk: For louder moments.
Belle & Sebastian: Happy Belle & Sebastian makes the world happy.
Solange: Future headliner of this festival. First performer I’ve seen that made beach balls feel appropriate.
Metz: So good I bought a t-shirt.
Savages: So good I want to start a band.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Even with only one drummer they still put on a hell of a show. Hopefully they’ll tour with Against Me! for the new record.
Pissed Jeans: FTW YOLO.
Ken Mode: More metal early in the day.
But there’s more than just music. Here are some life lessons that even non-music fans can utilize.
Sometimes the devil comes to a festival.
Lesson: Satan likes Wire.
Sometimes people mistake indie rock/hip-hop/electronic festivals for festivals that jam and people show up and try to make bubbles but can’t make bubbles because they suck.
Lesson: Don’t make bubbles.
Sometimes Ken Mode wakes you up with metal.
Lesson: Start your day with metal.
Sometimes Metz is playing a set that would fit in at Lollapalooza ’93 and it rules and some nerd plays video games while leaning against a garbage cans.
Lesson: Video games are for the inside.
Sometimes you think a Godsmack set would be interesting and Godsmack kinda agrees.
Lessons: Tweet at Godsmack.
Sometimes you meet people who know how to accessorize like a winner.
Lesson: Take photos with winners.
Sometimes you meet people who know how to dress like a loser.
Lesson: Take photos with losers if you’re dressed like a winner.
Sometimes you meet another dude five feet away who also dresses like a loser.
Lesson: Take photos with both losers if you’re dressed like a winner.
Sometimes a band that is heavily influenced by Joy Division named Savages steals the show and rules and it makes you wonder why the hell is Savages playing in the sun? Holy shit, that set ruled. This is why this fest is great. God damn, what an amazing set. Let’s all start a band!
Lesson: Go see Savages.
Sometimes the sun shines a light on what people snuck in the night before.
Lesson: Don’t sneak in bottles of Miller Lite to a festival that sells 16-ounce craft beer for $5.
Sometimes Pissed Jeans makes attending a festival for 9 hours completely worth it because Pissed Jeans has a great sense of humor, loves The Jesus Lizard, rips up 5 Tito’s Vodka tank tops and ends their set with a David Lee Roth high kick.
Lesson: Go see Pissed Jeans.
Sometimes Pissed Jeans play a kick-ass set and rip up 5 Tito’s Vodka tank tops because fuck it.
Lesson: Pissed Jeans advocates Tito’s Vodka.
Sometimes you’re short.
Lesson: Stand on your soapbox.
Sometimes one part of the festival is getting rained on and the other part of the festival is sunny.
Lesson: Hang out in the record fair tent when it’s raining.
Sometimes you’re in Chicago.
Lesson: Dress like a champion. The DJ dresses like a champion.
Sometimes the Third Man Records truck is nearby.
Lesson: Do not have shame in purchasing Insane Clown Posse vinyl. ICP sounds so much crisper on vinyl.
Sometimes there are hot dogs.
Lesson: Hot dogs make you fat but they’re delicious so whatever.
Sometimes it’s hot and there’s a Slip ‘n Slide.
Lesson: People will do anything for a free bag of chips. And fun. Fun chips.
Sometimes video game machines are set on free play.
Lesson: It’s OK to shoot at pixels. It’s not OK to shoot anything else in Chicago. There’s way too much of that already.
Sometimes the lead singer of Trash Talks body surfs/crowd walks/crowd sits-crossed-legged at the end of a thrash set.
Lesson: See Trash Talk and stretch.
Sometimes really good rappers also make really good beer.
Lesson: El-P and Killer Mike make really good rap and really good beer.
Sometimes it’s hot outside so cut up your tank top.
Lesson: Intact tank tops are for losers.
Sometimes H + M sets up a giant, air-conditioned tent with amenities like free sun tan lotion and water and photos and it’s actually really helpful but part of your DIY punk ethos or whatever makes you think, “Fuck this!” and then the more rational part of your adult brain thinks, “Well, I bet this is preventing a lot of sun burns” and then the business part of your adult brain thinks, “I bet this corporate sponsorship paid for a bunch cool bands that no one has ever heard of and that’s great.”
Lesson: Air conditioning is nice.
When there are balloons that light up, something cool is going to happen. Sometime you have to divorce yourself from the balloons and listen to the thing that is the reason for the balloons (Hi R. Kelly!) and then the balloons don’t seem too cool and the cold, harsh reality of what’s going on is revealed.
Lesson: Not all balloons can be enjoyed equally.
Sometimes a musical festival morphs into a family friendly music festival and a kiddie pool is placed near the main stage. Sometimes the headliner uses a lot of balloons that light up (Hi R. Kelly!)
Lesson: Kiddie pools are for kids.
Sometimes all good things come to an end.
Lesson: Destination festivals create jobs, bring communities together and encourage dialogue about music. Go to as many destination festivals as you can. Go to Pitchfork as many times as you can.