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Live from Pitchfork Music Festival

Want a first hand account of history in the making here at SheKnows Entertainment? Fresh from the Pitchfork festival, we let you in on the best of the Chicago-centered three day music festival to to keep you in the know.

A festival evolves

Organized and curated by Pitchfork Media, Pitchfork Music Festival was originally started in 2005 under the moniker Intonation-Pitchfork. In 2006 the festival adopted the name Pitchfork and continued a four-year-long tradition, thus far, as a multiple-day independent music showcase in Chicago’s Union Park. Did we mention SheKnows was there?

Pitchfork Music Festival is second to Lollapalooza in popularity and attendance in the vein of Chicago-based music festivals. The festival, often referred to as Pitchfork solely, as those who adore it affectionately call the fest, draws an increasingly growing underground music fan base from all over the world.

In 2007, Pitchfork paired with All Tomorrow’s Parties in conjunction with hosting the “Don’t Look Back” concert series. The series hosts artists to perform one of their previously released albums in its entirety during the first evening of the festival. In 2007, Pitchfork and ATP invited Sonic Youth to perform “Daydream Nation,” GZA to perform “Liquid Swords” and Slint to perform “Spiderland.”

This year, the audiences were treated to Public Enemy’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” Sebadoh with “Bubble and Scrape” and Mission of Burma with “Vs.”

Artists who have adorned the stages of the Pitchfork Music Festival in the past have included The Walkmen, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Hot Machines, Yo La Tengo, Aesop Rock, Yoko Ono, Cat Power, De La Soul, The New Pornographers, Stephen Malkmus, of Montreal and The Cool Kids.

On Saturday the festival hosted Caribou, Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, Titus Andronicus, Fleet Foxes, A Hawk and A Hacksaw, Jay Retard,  Icy Demons, F*** Buttons, Dizzee Rascal, The Ruby Suns, Vampire Weekend, Elf Power, !!!, Extra Golden, The Hold Steady, Atlas Sound, Jarvis Cocker, No Age and Animal Collective.

On Sunday the festival hosted headliners Spoon, Dinosaur Jr., Mahjongg, Times New Viking, High Places, Dirty Projectors, Boris, Health, The Apples in Stereo, King Khan & the Shrines, Les Savy Fav, The Dodos, Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, M. Ward, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon, Spiritualized, Bon Iver, and Cut Copy.

The 2008 festival sold out all three days, brought in over 50,000 fans and accommodated 40 bands on three stages in three days. Not bad for its fourth year running. In addition to the quality music line-ups, Pitchfork hosted CHIRP, a non-profit organization formed to bring a new community radio station to Chicago, FLATSTOCK by American Poster Institute, an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring the work of many of the most popular concert poster artists working today, and DEPART-ment, a network of individuals with an interest in self-representing their crafts and hand-made goods. These organizations were dispersed throughout Union Park, providing Pitchfork patrons valuable distractions during their down time between sets.

Pitchfork pitches

CHIRP divided two large tents in a designated area of the festival and rented spaces to independent record dealers such as Music Direct, Permanent Records and Hard Boiled and record labels such as SubPop, Matador and Touch and Go. Vendors were selling everything from obscure albums such as, Richard Petty’s ‘Nascar Experience’ and Jeannie C. Riley’s ‘Harper Valley’ to albums by the widely popular indie band Neutral Milk Hotel and post-punk band Television.

Those who attended the three-day festival probably noticed the dozens of volunteers walking the grounds with clipboards signing individuals up to vote. These volunteers are part of an organization called Interchange, formed to register voters before the last Presidential election. Over the course of the festival’s four-year span, some 70 or so Interchange volunteers have registered over 1,200 voters from 34 states and the District of Columbia.

By maintaining a grass-roots mentality, Pitchfork has created an excellent atmosphere to enjoy quality music, at an affordable price, in an amicable environment while surrounded by like-minded individuals. Kudos Pitchfork! You won us over.

Stay tuned for more Pitchfork Music Festival 2008 on including interviews and photos from the scene.

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