This year marks the sixth year of Champaign-Urbana’s annual Pygmalion Music Festival. Organized by Seth Fein, Pygmalion brings in fans from all over the Midwest every September for a weekend of incredible shows. Past years have already seen groups as big as Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and RJD2. These shows take place all over town, especially at venues like the Canopy Club, Krannert Center, and the Courtyard Cafe, but there are usually so many bands that the lobby of the art museum and places downtown are used.
In 2009, Pygmalion welcomed mainly indie rock and electro bands, but also had a few other genres as part of the sixty band lineup. I have participated in this festival for a few years, but only last year did I buy a festival pass. Because the shows start as early as Thursday and continue throughout 4am on Saturday night at afterparties, it is a long weekend of music. As with most music festivals, there is no way you can see all the shows even if you run and stay for five minutes. Fein usually does a great job of scheduling the shows so that all the good ones don’t overlap, but that’s only my music taste. Last year had the perfect timing on the last night, making it easy to go from Iron & Wine and Princeton at Krannert to the Hood Internet and RJD2 at the Canopy Club, both filled to capacity. So if you are planning on seeing multiple shows in a day, it’d be best to get a few free shirts with a festival pass and guaranteed spot.
The lineup for 2010 has not yet been released, but with a glance at the increasing turnout of concert-goers and more famous bands, it looks like Pygmalion is gaining a lot of momentum. There are a few bands we can count on performing, like local Headlights, Santah, or Curb Service, but I have no idea what the headliners might be. My fingers are crossed for Yeasayer, or maybe something more along the lines of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Maybe one day.
Pros: A lot of bang for your buck. Tickets are usually pretty inexpensive, ranging around 50 dollars each for the whole weekend.
Cons: Difficult to get around to see everyone you want, but still a great amount of artists you get to see.