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written by Bobby Evers
On the third day of Pitchfork, my true love gave to me: dancing with my friends, no brief evacuation and no warning of a heat advisory.
In the early afternoon of the Sunday of Pitchfork 2019, I got off the red line at Jackson to transfer to the pink line. At this particular CTA station, the escalator had stopped working and was blocked off, with a sign that said “We’re restoring your escalator!” Every time I see this, of course, I am reminded of the Mitch Hedberg "sorry for the convenience" joke. It was still raining when I got to the Ashland pink line stop, despite the fact that the forecast said only a 15% chance of rain. Surely this will add a fine muddy texture to everything.
written by Bobby Evers
On the second day of Pitchfork, my true love gave to me...a brief evacuation and a warning of a heat advisory.
As of this past July, I have been coming to Pitchfork for 12 years. I guess technically that is actually 13 festivals. I first heard of the festival in 2007 when my then-girlfriend Laura suggested we drive down to Chicago to see it. Iron & Wine. Cat Power. Even Yoko Ono, definitely a bucket list, must-see-before-you-die personality.
In 2007 I was in a rut; I was a year out of my college bubble, living “in real life” in a small city in Minnesota, not a lot of friends or job prospects, creatively stunted. I knew I needed a change. I had a college friend in Chicago named Stevo who said we could stay with him while we were in town for the fest. He also said there was going to be a room opening up in their apartment and I should definitely consider moving to Chicago. That sounded like too much at the time, but I assured him I would keep it in mind.
The plan was to drive from Rochester, MN to Appleton, WI in my car, hang out a day or two at Laura’s, then drive in Laura’s car to Chicago for the fest. I remember making a road mix that earnestly featured Sufjan Stevens song “Chicago” prominently. When I got to Troy street just south of Diversey, I was blown away by how picturesque the brownstones were, shaded under a line of tall trees. What if this was my street? I wondered. We found out that Stevo had not gotten a ticket for himself to attend the fest with us, and we would have to find our own way there. We were too nervous to drive there and didn’t want to deal with figuring out the deeply complex and unnavigable CTA (transferring from one line to another? Surely we would mess it up somehow). In our defense, for whatever reason that particular weekend the pink line wasn’t stopping at the Ashland stop, so taking the train seemed out of the question anyway.
written by Bobby Evers
On the first day of Pitchfork, my true love gave to me...a warning of a heat advisory. Over the years, I’ve come to think of Pitchfork Music Fest as the Christmas of Summer, and there are many parallels. Very music-heavy! Lots of seasonal fatty foods! Holiday specific fashion choices! Rituals that oscillate between tired cliches and sacred traditions (sometimes simultaneously!) And of course, being around your dear ones. At least that is what the experience has been for me; show up, see who I run into.
This year was no different; I dashed out of the office at about 2 pm, ready to find my friends, and hopped on the 66 bus to Ashland, waited just a few moments for that bus going South, and immediately saw people in festival clothes: band t’s with loud colors, sunglasses, fanny packs. Typically, there’s no one I really care to see during the first slot of the Friday portion of the festival, which is probably a tough spot for a working musician.
I’ll sometimes walk the less than 2-mile distance from my work to Union Park, since it’s a straight shot down Ogden once you get that far West. But, the aforementioned heat advisory made me think I should bus it. Embarrassingly, I didn’t plan my stop correctly and ended up having to backtrack on foot a bit to the vendor entrance (as a CHIRP volunteer, I am able to get in through the vendor entrance (all three days if you play your cards right) which is even further south than the main entrance). I say embarrassingly because I feel after 12 years I should have the bus stops on Ashland memorized by now. Alas.