2014 Pitchfork Music Festival Preview
You know Pitchfork as the online authority for all things cool in the indie music world. They’ve also been hosting a festival since 2006 in Chicago’s Union Park with headliners like Bjork, Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, Robyn, and other big names. Perhaps the best aspect of the fest, however, is how much discovery is possible if you’re open to exploring new music. They pair recognizable names with lesser knowns – usually those on the rise who have generated some buzz for themselves – and throw down for three days every July. The festival has drawn crowds of between 35-50K people since its inception, usually selling out three-day passes, which were a modest $110 this year, within the first day of their onsale. Lucky for you, this year’s fest still has Friday passes available, and it’s a driveable distance from Pittsburgh, making this an ideal opportunity to get away this summer. There is also a VIP ticket giveaway going on over at Beats Music. If you haven’t already, consider attending their 2014 edition this upcoming July 18-20 and hang out in Chicago while you’re there. With the help of our guide, you can optimize your party potential and get the most out of your visit.
How to Get to Chicago from Pittsburgh
Chicago is a little over 7 hours away from Pittsburgh, so if you’re planning on driving, bring some buddies to share the load of the road. You can also take a train and get there in about 10 hours, but as of now, they’re sold out for a Thursday departure/Monday return. Megabus is a no-go, as they canceled all their routes west like dip shits, but Greyhound is still alive and kickin’ with multiple departure times to/from Chicago which will set you back anywhere between $125-$150 round trip and take 11-13 hours depending on your reservation. There are definitely flights still available, but the cheapest flight we could find on Hipmunk was $352. In our opinion, your best bet is driving with a crew.
Places to Stay in Chicago
Now that you’ve established how you’re getting to Chi Town, you’ve gotta crash somewhere, and not all of us are lucky enough to know peeps in Chicago, so what to do!? Airbnb is always a good option and an excellent way to make new friends while exploring a new city. Looking into a hostel is also a good choice, as you’ll pay less than you would to stay at a hotel. The Pitchfork Festival website has a good list of hotels, but at this point, we’d imagine most of them are sold out. Definitely consult Hipmunk, Priceline or Hotwire for a list of cheap hotels easily accessible to the fest. And don’t forget about dat AAA discount! Save yourself a couple bucks by using your membership!
Things to Know About the Pitchfork Music Festival
The #1 thing to know about this festival is that they do not allow re-entry, so be prepared to stay all day when you get there. It’s also quite hot this time of year, so bring sunscreen, shades, and a floppy hat or two to keep yourself protected from the sun. They strongly encourage biking, walking, taking the train or bus, or carpooling to the fest and there is plenty of secure bike parking available. Visit their site for full details. Lockers can be rented for $40/weekend or $15 a day, and are a great way to keep your things dry if it rains or to lighten your load for a bit. The usual things aren’t permitted into the fest, but they do allow sealed bottled water and camping chairs, which can make a big difference during a long day outdoors. Another important thing to note is that alcohol is not served after 9:30PM, so drink UP. Other notable attractions include a record fair hosted by The Chicago Independent Radio Project, a Flatstock poster fair, and a Coterie Craft Fair, which hosts juried, purchasable art featuring designed and crafted clothing, jewelry, unique paper goods, home furnishings, and more. Come with a ticket, leave with a couch! Pitchfork also does their best to support local cuisine and works with the city’s best local food vendors each year. A list of 2014 participants can be found here.
Our 2014 Pitchfork Music Festival Must-See Acts
This year’s lineup features 40 of the best acts in new and emerging music. Sure, you’ll come for headliners like Beck, whose live show is rumored to be absolutely incredible, but you’ll stay the entire day to check out the acts you’re curious about. 2014 is really the year of the lady, in our opinion, when it comes to indie music, and this year’s bookings reflect that sentiment. Peep acts like the feisty Perfect Pussy, who played Pittsburgh earlier this year, and the surf-tinged rock of the Dum Dum Girls. Electronic songstress Grimes, perhaps one of the festival’s most anticipated acts, is complimented well by more underground acts like FKA Twigs, who is on the same label as SBTRKT, Young Turks. Also be sure to check out Neneh Cherry with Rocketnumbernine. Although she’s been around for quite some time, Cherry’s latest album, the Four Tet-produced Blank Project has even the youngest of hipsters’ eyebrows raised. Hip hop is also well represented, with the likes of Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar and R&B-tinged Kelela reppin’ hard. Since dance music is our bread and butter here in Pittsburgh, we’re particularly excited for the minimal sounds of The Field and synth disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder. Miss an act at the fest that you really wanted to see? Not to worry. Many of those on the lineup are playing official afterparties. A full list can be found here.
While we love Pittsburgh, there’s more to the world than partying with a bunch of our favorite jags at Hot Mass, eating late night Primantis and drinking Iron City as a guilty pleasure. Going to other cities makes Pittsburgh that much better to return to. It makes you appreciate the things you take for granted here and the things our city as a whole needs to work on. So get out, explore other places, and know that the PGH will always be here when you’re ready to come home.