If Lollapalooza is Chicago’s annual super-powered showcase of established mainstream acts with little left to prove, the Pitchfork Music Festival is the opposite. This smallish, weekend-long festival is held on only three stages and has approximately 1,000 percent fewer bros than Lollapalooza, which means a whole lot less aggressive drunkenness and shenanigans.
Fusion is at the annual Pitchfork Festival this weekend and let us tell you: if this isn’t on your annual concert radar yet, it sure deserves to be.
Union Park, one of the smallest concert venues, has only a handful of stages and is the place to be for friendly vibes and a much more carefully curated lineup. Forget big-name, muscley radio rock; Pitchfork is where you hear old legends come back to reclaim their thrones and new acts slide into their own coronations. Day one, for instance, spanned everything from freaky, folky Skrillex, favorites Hundred Waters, to elder alt-weirdo Beck.
But here’s the main reason why Pitchfork is worth it: It’s the most chill, super-pleasant festival atmosphere ever. Getting in is easy, getting around is easy, and getting to know your fellow fans is easy.
Here’s the proof: some of the coolest stuff we saw on day one.
The Stage Setup
Pitchfork has acts on three stages. Two of those are basically next to each other and the third is a short stroll away. You can hang out almost anywhere in the main area and see at least two of those acts. There’s no need to battle anybody.
You’d think most festivals would get with the program on this, right? It’s the humane thing to do. Luckily, Pitchfork had plenty of these stations everywhere and the lines are super easy to manage.
Again, this seems like a basic thing nowadays; lotion should be included in the price of admission to an outdoor concert. Pitchfork agrees. There was plenty of sunblock to protect people at the festival, where temperatures rarely broke about the mid-70s (another huge plus).
If you’re smart, you can score multiple healthy goodies like Kind Bars and cold-pressed juice. Just act interested in learning about a new product.
And, if you stepped just outside on the first day, there were free ice cream trucks sponsored by Uber.
This Missed Connections Wall
Yes, the concept of a missed connections wall—to which you can post on using a typewriter—is kind of barfy twee. But it’s also kind of sweet.
Here’s where you go to search for YOUR bae that you met during Schoolboy Q.
Poetry Readings and a Book Tent
Okay, this really depends on your perspective—it’s either cool, corny, and dangerously bordering on Portlandia, or a nice break from the revelry. We heard a lady reading a piece about a woman on the verge, forced to get through the day without Xanax. Autobiographical? Who knows. It was super entertaining.
Roger Kisby/Getty Images
Alright, the legendary synth god and producer pretty much made up for the price of admission by himself. In the penultimate set on Friday night, he crammed as many of his hits into one 50-minute set, from an amped-up version of Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away,” to Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff,” to the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams,” and finally, to a rousing, set-ending ring-out of Blondie’s “Call Me.” Also, Giorgio is adorable and may or may not have taken the stage in silk pajama pants and sneakers.
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.
Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.
Romina Puga is a pop culture reporter and producer for Fusion. You can find her on "Fusion Now," Fusion's daily TV updates, going over new movies, music, apps, and why D'Angelo is still sexy.