- Andrea Bauer
- Some of the attendees who chose to get muddy
I just watched a video shot at the Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend, and the sight of the festival grounds alone was enough to trigger a wave of somatic anxiety and exhaustion. Even for those of us who don’t consider a policy of avoiding dehydration by drinking one bottle of water for every two beers to be “stupid,” like some of the interviewees in this video, the festival weekend can be physically grueling.
Despite its inherent brutality, Pitchfork is still my favorite of Chicago’s big summer festivals—partly because it’s so well run and conscientious of its attendees. The rainstorms during the weekend only resulted in slight deviations from the planned schedule, and a phalanx of staff and volunteers managed to offset the rains’ effects on the grounds to the point where the only people who got muddy were the ones who wanted to. And when the weather turned sunnier and hotter, there was free sunblock available—and the security guards in front of the stages gave free bottles of water to the fans dancing up front, who needed hydration the most. Given that Lollapalooza often resembles a strangely festive and hypercapitalistic refugee camp, these small gestures matter.