Pitchfork Festival Chicago 2022

a preview of the July 15- 17th festival at Union Park, Chicago
by John Noyd
June 2022

Hands down the best festival to gather established mavericks and rising royalty from indie, alt and associated electronic and hip-hop genres, Pitchfork Festival Chicago is a wonderful barometer for what is to come and what has become classic. Over three days, forty-two acts on three color-coded stages, outfitted in big screens and staffed by competent camera-people, promises another sturdy version packed with new finds and old friends, a little bit of something for just about everyone plus tasty food, crafted beverages and shopping in the shade. An annual tradition for many, it’s a welcome experience for the newbie who will quickly figure out the lay of the land between the schedules with minimal overlaps to the generally respectful crowds happily living in the groove.

The diverse line-up means plenty of choices of buzz-worthy bands, but personal taste is only half the game as new discoveries await the adventurous. Go early to see AROOJ AFTAB and ETHEL CAIN on Friday, CUPCAKKE Saturday and L’RAIN on Sunday. With several albums to their name these artists are still new to many but are starting to break-out internationally. Early birds have an easier flow between stages and midway there are some inevitable conflicts in seeing everybody on your list. Personally, Friday’s opposing set-times of SPELLING and INDIGO DE SOUZA makes a difficult choice as does Saturday’s appearance of MAGDELENA BAY the same time as ICEAGE. Saturday’s decision between JAPANESE BREAKFAST and LOW is magnified by the fact they both are riding strong albums and while possibly drawing different crowds, still creates a need for me to split myself in two. Sunday asks who among the Pitchfork wouldn’t profit from seeing both NONAME and XENIA RUBINOS, but choices need to be made and the lovely thing with Pitchfork is that if you change your mind a short walk to the other stage is only a song away.

Pitchfork has made a point to give female artists opportunities to shine, and this year is no exception with headliner MITSKI on Saturday preceded by LUCY DACUS and HYD mid-day. Friday’s Blue Stage has DAWN RICHARD and AMBER MARK back-to-back while CATE LEBON tops off Sunday’s incredible list of solo women including SOFIA KOURTEESIS, ERIKA DE CASIER, and TIRZAH. I am especially looking forward to indie-rock Aussies CAMP COPE Friday’s appearance, the trio’s latest record, “Running With The Hurricane,” crackles with great energy and perceptive lyrics.

If you frequent more than one festival you might have caught DRY CLEANING or PARQUET COURTS at Milwaukee’s Summerfest or already have tickets to see BADBADNOTGOOD at Desert Daze or THE NATIONAL at Newport Folk, but Pitchfork has them all plus performers like EARL SWEATSHIRT who isn’t scheduled to perform again until Afropunk Brooklyn in September. Seriously, if you claim to like today’s music and are anywhere near Chicago this summer, the easily accessible Union Park July 15 – 17th is where you want to be. Less than a month away, there are still general admission tickets available. Grab more information here: @pitchforkfestival.com.

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