Sunday, July 30, 2006

First Thoughts From Pfork Pfest

First, the obvious. In terms of attendance, this festival was a certifiable smash. By Friday, no tickets remained and by early Saturday, Union park was overflowing with hipsters. The southbound Ashland bus that I took at about 3 on Saturday was even teeming with hipsters, who judging from the exuberant conversation buzz I overheard, had all journeyed to Chicago from various other parts of the Midwest. I'm sure many indie rockers would argue that Pitchfork's line-up was far superior to last month's Intonation Fest, thus the sell-out crowd that seemed almost twice as large. However, I'd attribute the crowd surge to the vast reach of the trendsetting hype machine that is Pitchforkmedia.com. Intonation '06 probably retained the core local base of fans, while Pitchfork Music Fest '06 took that Chicago base and raised it with their legions of dedicated indie rockers from across the country. Sure, this year Intonation had Vice Magazine, which is hugely influential in its homebase of New York, as well as much of Europe. However, outside of Chicago, I'm guessing Vice's Midwest reach is pretty thin, while every 12-24 year-old music junkie from Keokuk to Kalamazoo is just a click away from reading about the next big 'Fork-sanctioned indie smash. If it wasn't obvious already, there's no doubt now that Pitchfork is no longer just a cult phenomenon. Pitchfork has now officially hit the mainstream. "Indie" is truly the new "alternative," and just as the likes of Lollapalooza, KROQ and MTV's Kennedy ushered in the flannel shirt era, Pitchfork has become the torch bearer of this generation's movement.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dave Knapik said...

Perhaps "many indie rockers would argue that Pitchfork's line-up was far superior to last month's Intonation Fest", but I don't. Maybe it's because I'm not that much of an indie rocker these days. It's the subcultural refugee in me... ;)

I totally agree that it sold more tickets than Intonation because Pitchfork has more pull here than Vice, it's their town. Personally I dug Intonation's line-up a lot more, but I also like bass, beats and synthesizers more than guitars. I think Intonation brought an eclectic line-up to the main festival area and didn't ghettoize the non-indierockers into a 100+ degree tent out back. Vice gave us rock, dance and hip hop all mixed up on the main lawn, so it's my clear winner.

The Biz3 stage had it going on more than the main stage and Diplo shook it down tonight. I wish more space had been devoted to the dance and hip hop acts, but what do you expect from a site that always makes everything take a backseat to indie rock?

All in all, not bad, but nothing truly blew me away aside from Diplo.

7/30/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Yes-Yes-Yes!!! Diplo kicked ass tonight!

7/30/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous avantchicago said...

Diplo what - funny he mixes all the shit that is on b96 and everyone loves it! Listen to b96!

7/31/2006 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Knapik said...

Well, I do listen to B96, so I don't get your point, avanthipster.

Diplo had that shit mixed tight and on point. Sure he keeps some of the current hits in his crate, but when he throws them up against electro, techno, rio baile, mash ups... it's fun and something crazy new. The Kanye cut-up and stutter brought a smile to my face and when it was time for the goddamn percolator... woo-HA, we was all in check! Not anything to think too much about, here, it was just a fun ass-shakin' time (just ask Tarzan and Jane who were dancing in the street with the ice cream truck)!

7/31/2006 01:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Duncan said...

Personally I think the more alternative music festivals in Chicago the better. I went to Intonation last year and loved it. Couldn't make either Vice's or Pitchfork's this year as I am back home in the UK. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves.

7/31/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill V said...

Not a big fan of the tent stuff, but to each his/her own. The stages kicked ass at Pfork, I couldn't have picked the artists much better. Found myself enjoying just about every act. It was a great weekend. I had fun at Intonation, the lineup was very mediocre compared to this weekend.

7/31/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Seitz said...

Last year there were bands I wanted to see more (Broken Social Scene, the Wrens, AC Newman) than any of this year's bands, but there were more bands I had an interest in this year than last. Looking forward to seeing who they sign up for next year.

8/09/2006 03:00:00 PM  

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