Pitchfork Festival 2019 Preview

Love it or hate it, Pitchfork has set the standard for independent musical criticism, keeping its critical edge from its early snarky blog days to its current mainstream success....
Pitchfork Festival 2021 Preview

Pitchfork Festival 2019 Preview

Love it or hate it, Pitchfork has set the standard for independent musical criticism, keeping its critical edge from its early snarky blog days to its current mainstream success. And it lives up to its diverse and trending nature every summer in Chicago’s Pitchfork Festival, coming to Union Park Friday-Sunday, July 19th-21st.



Red Stage

Mavis Staples, 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM

Pitchfork welcomes artists old and young, and one of the legendary vets this year is Stax icon Mavis Staples (QRO photos at a festival), who’s played everything from Lincoln Center (QRO live review there) to The Daily Show/The Colbert Report’s ‘Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear’ (alongside friend/admirer Jeff Tweedy of Wilco). She comes to Chicago off of her 80th birthday celebration concerts.
Mavis Staples
Earl Sweatshirt, 5:15 PM – 6:10 PM

The massive hip-hop collective Odd Future (QRO live review) keeps giving – there’s frontman Tyler, the Creator, R&B star Frank Ocean, and Earl Sweatshirt (QRO photos at a festival), who’s also worked with the likes of Flying Lotus, in Lotus’ Sealab 2021-inspired alter-ego, Captain Murphy. He returns to Pitchfork this year after having to cancel last year.
Earl Sweatshirt

Valee, 3:20 PM – 4:10 PM

MIKE, 1:45 PM – 2:25 PM


Green Stage

HAIM, 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM

Sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim, along with drummer Dash Hutton (QRO photos at a festival), only started putting out music in 2013, but have already been turning heads (QRO photos), thanks to great single “Don’t Save Me” and debut full-length, Days Are Gone (QRO review). They come to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival) after the release of 2017’s follow-up Something To Tell You (QRO review) and getting numerous high-profile fans – and even playing the legendary after-party for the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary with Prince!
Pusha T, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

Pusha T (QRO photos at a festival) began as one-half of Clipse with his brother No Malice, but has since headed out on his own, signing to Kanye’s GOOD Music and releasing his debut My Name Is My Name in 2013. He returns to Pitchfork behind last year’s Grammy nominated Daytona.
Pusha T
Sky Ferreira, 4:15 PM – 5:10 PM

Sky Tonia Ferreira (QRO photos at a festival) grabbed eyes & ears by just uploading videos of her songs onto MySpace, but shifted from her electro-pop into incorporating more experimental sounds on her delayed debut full-length, Night Time, My Time. She comes back to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival) after everything from acting on the Twin Peaks revival to touring with Miley Cyrus.
Sky Ferreira

Standing On the Corner, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PMQRO photos at a festival

Great Black Music Ensemble, 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM

Standing On the Corner

Blue Stage

Low, 7:45 PM – 8:30 PM

The ‘Slowcore’ (a term the band actually despises) outfit Low (QRO live review) have had a slow building since their start in Duluth. They got a larger audience when signing to Sub Pop for 2007’s Drums and Guns (QRO review), but didn’t quite achieve all they could on 2011’s C’mon (QRO review). However, 2013’s The Invisible Way (QRO review) was a return to form, and they come back to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival) behind 2015’s Ones and Sixes (QRO review) and last year’s Double Negative.
Soccer Mommy, 6:30 PM – 7:15 PM

Sophie Allison, a.k.a. Soccer Mommy (QRO photos), emerged from the music scenes of both Nashville and New York, coming to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival) behind last year’s debut full-length, Clean.
Soccer Mommy
Julia Holter, 5:15 PM – 6:00 PM

Presenting her latest work, Aviary, an unconventional yet precious mix of tunes and images, Pitchfork is the ideal place to once again enjoy the dreamy nature of the American songwriter Julia Holter (QRO photos).
Julia Holter

Grapetooth, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM

Rico Nasty, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM
Rico Nasty




Red Stage

Belle & Sebastian, 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM

While everyone raves about all the nineties acts reuniting, pause for a moment to praise great bands from the last century/millennium who didn’t break up, such as Belle & Sebastian (QRO photos outdoors). The Glaswegian outfit’s ‘wistful pop’ has captured hearts for years & years now, with their latest full-length, 2015’s Girls In Peacetime Wanna Dance (QRO review), pretty much saying it all, as they return to Pitchfork.
Belle & Sebastian
Kurt Vile, 5:15 PM – 6:10 PM

Even amongst all the lo-fi guitar-punks out there, Kurt Vile (QRO photos at a festival) has made a name for himself. The former member of The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile has since formed his own ensemble with his Violators, and contributed to/opened for alt-punk guitar god J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr) on his solo record, Several Shades of Why (QRO review), and subsequent tour. However, he’s since evolved into a big frontman of his own (QRO live review) with 2013’s Wakin On a Pretty Daze and 2014’s b’lieve I’m goin down…, not to mention 2017’s team-up with Courtney Barnett, Lotta Sea Lice, including doing festivals (QRO photos at a festival), even having Dinosaur Jr opening for him at this point. He comes back to Pitchfork behind last year’s Bottle It In.
Kurt Vile & The Violators
Cate Le Bon, 3:20 PM – 4:10 PM

Wales-by-the-way-of-Los Angeles, Cate Le Bon (QRO photos in U.K.) has worked with the likes of Gruff Rhys, Neon Neon, and Manic Street Preachers, but comes to Pitchfork all on her own.


Ric Wilson, 1:45 PM – 2:25 PM

Cate Le Bon

Green Stage

The Isley Brothers, 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM

Pitchfork Festival is known for its diversity, with even the headliners being acts you might not expect. But it’s still a surprise to see Saturday headlined by none other than the Isley Brothers. The band of actual brothers started way back in the fifties doing gospel and doo-wop, evolving with rock and roll into soul and R&B. Time has shrunk the line-up to just Ernie & Ronald Isley, but they still know how to “Twist and Shout”.
The Isley Brothers
Stereolab, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

Today’s electronic music booms owes a great deal to Stereolab. They drew from past sounds like krautrock and sixties pop, but reworked it using modern electronics, becoming one of the most influential bands of the nineties. However, their influence was more underground, ‘musicians’ musicians’, going on indefinite hiatus over a decade ago. But now they return, and at a perfect place for it, Pitchfork.
Parquet Courts, 4:15 PM – 5:10 PM

Bringing grunge back has been the active Parquet Courts (QRO photos at a festival), who come back to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival) after last year’s release of Wide Awake!.
Parquet Courts
CHAI, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Nagoya’s Mana, Kana, Yuki, and Yuna bring their Japanese dance-punk CHAI (QRO photos) to Chicago behind 2017 debut, Pink.


Lala Lala, 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM


Blue Stage

Jeremih, 7:45 PM – 8:30 PM

After multiple delays, Jeremih’s third studio album, Late Nights, came out in 2015, followed by last year’s collaboration with Ty Dolla Sign, MihTy. The R&B star returns to Pitchfork.
Freddie Gibbs, 6:30 PM – 7:15 PM

Originally from Gary, Indiana (QRO photos in Middle America – hey, that’s the same hometown as the Jackson clan…), Freddie Gibbs (QRO photos at an NYC festival) has been compared to none other than Tupac Shakur – and even got shot at outside of Rough Trade NYC (QRO venue review) to boot! He plays his third Pitchfork Festival.
Freddie Gibbs
Amber Mark, 5:15 PM – 6:00 PM

Meet Pitchfork favorite Amber Mark, “whose soulful pop will make you dance and cry at the same time.”
Amber Mark
Jay Som, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM

Pitchfork of course includes buzzed-about alt acts like Jay Som (QRO photos at a festival), who have had all sorts of indie-buzz (QRO live review).


Bitchin Bajas, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM
Jay Som




Red Stage

Charli XCX, 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM

Charlotte Aitchison, under the moniker Charli XCX (QRO photos at a festival), is one of Britain’s most elusive dark pop songstresses (QRO photos at a festival). Already after opening slots on big-name tours as well as festivals (QRO photos at a festival), not to mention co-writing the breakthrough song for Icona Pop, “I Love It”, she started to solidify her career as a pop songwriter to be reckoned with (QRO photos), with 2013 seeing her release her debut full-length, True Romance, and playing her own headlining gigs (QRO photos). Two years ago she achieved her own breakthrough single, “Break the Rules”, on sophomore full-length Sucker, and now comes to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival).
Charli XCX
Khruangbin, 5:15 PM – 6:10 PM

Houston’s Khruangbin (QRO photos in Texas) draw from all over the world, Spain to the Middle East to Thailand, but now come to Pitchfork.

JPEGMAFIA, 3:20 PM – 4:10 PMQRO photos

Flasher, 1:45 PM – 2:25 PM


Green Stage

Robyn, 8:30 PM – 9:50 PM

Robyn (Robin Miriam Carlsson) gained international fame with nineties dance-pop hits like “Show Me Love”, but then retreated to her home base of Sweden. Back-up vocals on Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”, opening for Madonna in Europe, and being featured on Röyksopp’s Junior (QRO review) all set the stage for her three-part charting Body Talk series in 2010. More recently she had teamed up with others, such as with Röyksopp on 2014’s Do It Again and with La Bagatelle Magique with 2015’s Love Is Free. But last year she hit the big time again (QRO photos at Madison Square Garden) with the acclaimed Honey. She returns to headline Pitchfork Festival (QRO photos at Pitchfork ‘10).
Whitney, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

Shortly after Max Kakacek & Julien Ehrlich’s young Smith Westerns (QRO photos at Pitchfork ‘10) broke up, the pair formed their new outfit, Whitney (QRO photos at a festival). And they’ve certainly grown up, as debut Light Upon the Lake was one of the best records of 2016 (QRO Top Albums of 2016). They return to Pitchfork in the run-up to the release of follow-up Forever Turned Around.
Clairo, 4:15 PM – 5:10 PM

Boston electro-pop artist Claire Cotrill comes to Chicago as Clairo.

black midi, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Dreezy, 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM

black midi

Blue Stage

Snail Mail, 7:45 PM – 8:30 PM

Lindsey Jordan has been getting a lot of attention for her indie slowcore work as Snail Mail (QRO photos) – including a feature article in none other than the New York Times!
Snail Mail
Neneh Cherry, 6:30 PM – 7:15 PM

Sweden-by-way-of-London (with Sierra Leone heritage), Neneh Cherry (QRO photos at a festival) sang in a slew of punk & post-punk bands in the eighties before breaking through solo with international hit single “Buffalo Stance” (and losing the Grammy for Best New Artist to Milli Vanilli…). In this century/millennium, Cherry’s been doing some interesting collaborations, and now returns to Pitchfork (QRO photos at a festival).
Neneh Cherry
Amen Dunes, 5:15 PM – 6:00 PM

Damon McMahon brings his experimental folk outfit Amen Dunes to Pitchfork.
Amen Dunes
Ibeyi, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM

Twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz started Ibeyi in France, but they have Cuban & Venezuelan roots, and sing in English, French, Spanish, and Yoruba, the language of their Nigerian ancestors. A worldly act perfectly fit for Pitchfork.


Tasha, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM



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