Pitchfork Music Festival Recap: Day 1

    The 5th annual Pitchfork Music Festival is under way, and this is the first of our brief recaps of the three-night festival. We don’t want this to be a “you had to be there” situation — we’re keeping it short and sweet.


    Friday is the shortest day of the festival, with the front gate opening at 3 p.m. as opposed to 12:30 p.m. the next two days. Here were the highlights from Chicago’s Union Park:


    • Festival opener Sharon Van Etten played predictably the quietest set of the day. Not only were people still arriving after her set, but during her set her vocals and acoustic strumming kept everyone around the stage quiet to let her songs pierce the quiet Midwest afternoon.
    • Rapper El-P began his set by asking the crowd “Do you like puppies?” Not sure if he was using a euphemism or not, audience response was mixed.
    • Les Savy Fav frontman Tim Harrington emceed the comedy stage, beginning with a routine making fun of Pitchfork’s apparent hypocritcal devotion to indie rock and its simultaneous devotion to corporate sponsors. Harrington told the audience to check out the “Betty Crocker Waterslide” (fake sponsor), held a marshmallow eating contest in the name of Kraft Foods (fake sponsor) and recommended Dasani water (real sponsor) as “Coke without the suger.”
    • Predictably, people who liked Bob Dylan were mixed on whether or not they enjoyed his hipster-era facsimile, The Tallest Man on Earth.
    • Robyn’s set absoultely killed it. Never has there been this much dancing and these many happy faces at Pitchfork. She seemed to be having a great time as well.
    • Michael Showalter was depressed. He was not goofy, he was depressed, and he kept talking about the nervous breakdown he was having. It was really uncomfortable.
    • Eugene Mirman was quite upset by Broken Social Scene’s volume overpowering his from across the park. “If feel like there’s somebody else up here with me,” he said. “And every now and then he starts going (loud drumming rock sound).”
    • Modest Mouse pulled in the biggest crowd of the day. It makes sense. They were the only thing happening after 8:30.


    I’ll be on the ground tomorrow, as well. Come back then for more highlights.