This past weekend I, along with the rest of the internet, attended the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois. This was my second time going to the Pitchfork Music Festival. The first time I went was a number of years ago, while I still lived in Chicago, and I went because I wanted to see Sonic Youth play an album that I owned and could listen to at home, live and in its entirety. I also went to try and chase girls around a sweaty patch of grass in hopes that they'd let me kiss them or touch a boob. This year I went to listen to The Breeders play an album that I own, and can listen to at home, live and in its entirety, while also chasing my girlfriend around a sweaty field and grabbing her boob whenever I wanted to. We grabbed each other's boobs and kissed each other's faces in a sweaty field so much that some people who were there forcing Pop Chips on everyone asked us to kiss with a chip in our mouths so they could take a picture. We did it. We kissed with a chip in our mouths so that someone could take a picture for a chip website, because that's - almost literally - what music festivals are all about.
I don't know if I can go to music festivals anymore, and I definitely don't know if I want to be part of the music critic community anymore. I appreciate people who write about albums, and how listening to certain albums makes them feel, but I don't really care about your VIP porta-potty line stories, or about how you lost your Ray Bans during M.I.A. because you were backflipping over a keg of douche juice. I don't care about your Twitter, or your after party Instagrams. I don't care. I do care about music though, but at a thing like this, at a thing like the Pitchfork Music Festival, I could have heard more, absorbed more, and been able to comfortably process more music sitting on a bucket across the street from Union Park than I, or most other people were able to while sludging through three days of attendance. Also, here's a think piece for you: Are music festivals supposed to hurt? And if not, then why do 89% of people who go to them, spend their time there talking about how they feel like they're dying? Maybe just don't go? I can pretty much guarantee no one would die having not had access to your brilliant thoughts on R. Kelly.
My favorite part of Pitchfork, similar to my favorite part of any and every other music festival, is being at a place where you can eat maple bacon out of your shoe while smoking cigarettes in the grass, and listening to music that you like, DESPITE the verbal, physical, and mental participatory antics of the people around you.
To go ahead and make this an actual recap, let's recap. What follows is a moment by moment look at how I spent my time AT the Pitchfork Music Festival, while not realllllly "at" it. I'm using my Pitchfork Music Festival pocket guide and activity book as a reference guide, because I almost completely forgot about everything that happened at Pitchfork the minute I walked out the gates on Sunday night.
Frankie Rose 3:20 - My girlfriend and I tried to go to FEED for a chicken lunch, but got lost in a bad part of town, so we went to the general area of the Pitchfork Music Festival, but hid out at the Billy Goat Tavern drinking beers and eating various meats until we felt ready and OK enough to go into the thing.
Daughn Gibson 3:30 - Still not ready.
Trash Talk 4:15 - Still not ready.
Mac DeMarco 4:35 - We enter Union Park around this time and purchase beer tickets, and then use those beer tickets to get beers. We drink the beers while leaning up against a tree and taking pictures of each other.
Angel Olsen 5:15 - Still leaning against a tree.
Woods 5:30 - Still leaning against a tree.
Mikal Cronin 6:15 - At this point I think we found a patch of grass to sit in, and we sat in it.
Wire 6:25 - My girlfriend went to a porta-potty around this time. I somehow managed to avoid peeing this whole day, as was my goal.
Joanna Newsom 7:20 - Earlier in the day my GF and I were trying to remember when Joanna Newsom's last album came out. I said something about how I remembered it playing at the homo clinic where I get my pap smears, the last time I got a pap smear, and then we Googled the release date and came to find that it was three years ago. My girlfriend was momentarily upset because she remembered me saying that I had gotten a pap smear ONE year ago, not THREE, and thought that maybe I had lied about the frequency of my pap smears. But no, I'm just bad with dates and timelines. Joanna Newsom's last album WAS playing at the homo clinic where I get my pap smears, while I was getting a pap smear, but it wasn't the most recent time. I did actually get one last year.
Bjork 8:30 - We were excited to see Bjork. At times I thought that her dance moves were reminding me of Mariah Carey. We laughed every time she said "thank you," to the audience in her silly accent. We sat for some of the songs, and stood for the ones we liked best. Towards the end of her performance, a lesbian came up to us and told us we were a cute couple. I liked that that happened while listening to Bjork. We made it home right before a huge rainstorm happened.
Ken Mode 1:00 - My girlfriend and I took a few trains that took us from our hotel to the beach. They call it a beach in Chicago, but it's really just a lake with a little puff of sand in front of it. We both really enjoyed being outside in the fresh air, and in the water, even though it was a little bit crowded. We regretted having eaten at a nearby Chipotle during a low blood sugar attack before we got to the beach, because there was a hot dog stand there, and beers too.
White Lung 1:00 - I wanted to see this band, but we missed it on account of still being at the beach.
Pissed Jeans 1:45 - Still at the beach.
Julia Holter 1:55 - Still at the beach.
Phosphorescent 2:30 - Smoking cigarettes in a patch of shady grass, just about to leave the beach.
Parquet Courts 2:50 - Ate some melty sweet and salty trail mix that I found in my purse while sitting near the area where this band played.
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead 3:20 - Used a porta-potty around this time.
Merchandise 3:45 - Standing in line for beers to drink while getting positioned for Swans to play in a little bit.
Savages 4:15 - Watched the end of their performance on a big screen while standing in front of the stage where Swans was setting up. I found myself feeling not okay about this band, and vaguely remembering people saying that they liked them. I like bands that make me feel things. This band made me feel embarrassed, which I feel bad about saying for some reason, but it's true.
Metz 4:45 - Watching Swans do mic checks. Feeling pretty positive.
Swans 5:15 - I like experiencing live music that is physically painful very very much. A person threw a bottle of water behind them, causing its contents to splash my forehead and glasses, and I didn't care.
Ryan Hemsworth 5:45 - Sitting in the grass smoking a cigarette and eating rice candy, waiting for The Breeders to play.
The Breeders 6:15 - A cute, youngish mom was dancing with her very small baby and we couldn't stop looking at her and kind of tearing up.
Low 6:45 - Waiting for Solange to play. I think this was around the time someone made us kiss with a chip in our mouths.
Solange 7:25 - Mostly thinking about Beyonce. Solange did a Dirty Projectors song, so then I was thinking about Dirty Projectors. Around this time someone living in Olympia, Washington emailed me and said she had just been fired as an intern at K Records for being too distracting in the office. She said she'd been told about "all the Kelly McClure stuff."Around this point I bought a bag of bacon, and also a chocolate malt ice cream cone, and dipped the bacon into the ice cream. It was the best snack choice, hands down.
Andy Stott 7:45 - Was going to see this because my GF wanted to, but then we ended up making our way over to get situated for Belle and Sebastian.
Belle and Sebastian 8:30 - It was raining a little. We sat down, and then stood up for "Stars of Track and Field," and then went back to our hotel and ate an order of crab rangoon, and two vegetable egg rolls.
Photo by Lindsey Baker
Tree 1:00 - My GF and I got picked up by Bozo #1, Ben Johnson, and we went to FEED for brunch. FEED has one of those machines where you put in a quarter and a chicken makes a cluck and then you get an egg with a toy in it. The owners of the restaurant had, at some point over the years, decided it would be best to remove the chicken's cluck, so it was completely silent while spitting out our eggs. I got a small plastic treasure box that opens and closes, Ben Johnson got a sticker with a goat on it, and I can't remember what my GF got. After brunch we went back to our hotel and napped for a few hours.
DJ Rashad 1:00 - Napping
Foxygen 1:45 - Napping
Autre Ne Veut 1:55 - Napping
Killer Mike 2:30 - I think around this time we left our hotel and walked around for a little bit. Maybe we got something to eat. I don't really remember.
Blood Orange 2:50 - Still walking around?
EL-P 3:20 - Still Walking around?
Waxahatchee 3:45 - I think around this time we were making our way over to the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Yo La Tengo 4:15 - Probably waiting in line for wristbands to get drink tickets to get beers.
Sky Ferreira 4:45 - Sitting in the grass smoking cigarettes.
Lil B 5:15 - Really enjoying watching him on a big screen. My girlfriend thought about tweeting something at him, but I don't think she did. Later that night I dreamt that I downloaded his albums from Amazon.
Chairlift 5:45 - Either buying beers or going to the porta-potty in an effort to get comfortable and situated for M.I.A.
Toro Y Moi 6:15 - I can't remember
Evian Christ 6:45 - Making our way to the stage where M.I.A. will be. We decided that now will be the time, aside from the other time - which was for Swans - when we get up front and experience being in the middle of a sweaty crowd.
M.I.A 7:25 - Pretty close up front. Dancing while also making sure our purse don't flop open. Someone passed me a bottle of water and I drank it. Lindsey was worried because the bottle was open, but I felt pretty okay about it. Some girl crowd surfed and her foot touched me, and then I touched her while trying to shove her over my head, and away from us.
Glass Candy 7:45 - Wanted to see them, but I've already seen them a bunch of times. We sat in the grass near where R. Kelly was about to perform.
R. Kelly 8:30 - Stood in the grass, watching storm clouds roll in, and also watching people dance in their various ways. Went home and ate crab rangoon and egg rolls. I read on my phone that R. Kelly released doves during "I Believe I Can Fly," but I don't think it's true, and we don't know for sure because we left early to go eat Chinese food in our hotel and cuddle.
I think that maybe people just like to go to music festivals because it's fun to always, in some way, know what everyone is talking about on the internet. I go because I like having tickets to things, while also having the option to not go to the thing I have tickets for. Heading towards a thing, and then walking right past it has always felt so amazing to me. Freedom!