Last Sunday, I experienced my first ever Pitchfork, both as a concertgoer and as a reviewer. I decided to put together a journal of the day’s events, so here are my thoughts, first impressions, and set reviews.
2 p.m. – I walk into the festival with friends after experiencing some rain delays and spend some time exploring, as none of us have ever been to Pitchfork before. We look around the various vendors, scope out the food for later, and talk about who we want to see for the day. One thing I notice right away is, compared to other festivals, Pitchfork is mostly focused on the shows rather than the overall ~experience~ which is not a bad thing. Bigger fests tend to have a lot of other activities going on which can be fun, but I normally find that I put too much pressure on myself to see everything the festival has to offer while going to sets and finding time to relax. Pitchfork gives you the time to listen to music, eat food, and actually just relax. I even saw a girl reading a book at one point. Definitely not something I’d want to do at a music festival, but to each his own.
3:20 p.m. – My friends and I head to JPEGMAFIA where I’m warned of potential mosh pits. He doesn’t disappoint, with each song being crazier than the next. The energy was really good, not only from the crowd but from JPEGMAFIA himself. He captivated the crowd with his charismatic energy, often jumping into the crowd. I also noticed how respectful everyone was whenever he came into the crowd, actually giving him space rather than mobbing him. I’ve never listened to JPEGMAFIA before the set and I probably won’t due to my different taste in music, but he was a great first set to see. It brought a lot of energy into my group and set the tone for the day.
4 p.m. – JPEGMAFIA ends, so we head to Clairo. At this point, the sun started to come out and it came with a vengeance. Thankfully, the sun let up midway through Clairo’s set. Clairo plays a lot of new songs off her upcoming album, “Immunity,” which is set to come out on August 2. Instead of the usual bedroom pop synth that accompanies her songs, she brings out a full band, giving each song a more acoustic feel.
5:15 p.m. – Clairo ends, so we head to get food. While walking around, I catch bits of Khruangbin, which sounds pretty chill. While my friends eat, I head to the press tent, where free pizza is provided. Thanks, Pitchfork!
6:15 p.m. – One of my most anticipated sets, Whitney, begins. It’s not as sunny as it was before, which is great because it brings a tranquil atmosphere. Whitney plays a lot off their upcoming album, “Forever Turned Around” (out August 30). “Before I Know” and “Day and Night,” both new songs, have the chill classic Whitney feel which fits right in with their typical sound. My favorite moment was when “Golden Days,” my favorite Whitney song, was performed. Everyone in the crowd really got into it. Overall, it was an amazing set, if the fest went on with four more hours of it I wouldn’t mind at all.
7:30 p.m. – My group splits up, with three going to Charli XCX while my friend and I head to Snail Mail early. So far, the best part of Pitchfork I’ve noticed is this: getting to the set slightly early and with minimal effort almost guarantees you a close spot.
7:45 p.m. – Ok, I lied. Snail Mail is easily my highlight of the festival. Four more hours of Whitney would never compare to the set that Lindsey Jordan and her band put on. Lindsey looks effortlessly cool and badass as she plays her guitar and sings her heart out. My favorite song of the night is “Pristine.” One of my favorite things about concerts is when the crowd sings together and you feel the connection between yourself and a group of complete strangers. Screaming the lyrics to your favorite song will truly never get old. A pleasant surprise to the set was when Clairo joined Lindsey on stage for the final song. With two of my favorite singers in one place, it was almost too much to handle.
8:25 p.m. – Snail Mail, unfortunately, ends. My friends and I head over to the final and only act of the night, Robyn, who puts on a very funky set. She inspires a lot of interpretative dance and even a workout group all the way at the back of the crowd, a first for me at a music festival.
9:30 p.m.- I head on the train early, tired from a long day of great music.
Final thoughts: Pitchfork is run really well. Every line I was in, whether it was for food or the bathroom, went super quick. Free water bottles were easy to get ahold of, rather than waiting in a long line for a refill station. Even the crowds were respectful which may be attributed to the older audience Pitchfork attracts. Either way, I’m not complaining. This will definitely not be my last Pitchfork as they’ve easily earned their title as my favorite music festival.