After two weekly mural-painting sessions, today Pitchfork finished announcing the lineup for its three-day festival in July. (The mural will be completed, of course, but the rest of the acts were made public in advance.) Headliners are the previously announced Tame Impala, fest veterans Fleet Foxes, and Lauryn Hill, who will perform all of 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on Sunday night.
Festival organizers began this prolonged announcement in February, when Chicago artist Shelby Rodeffer painted the names of the first 14 acts onto a Violet Hour mural designed by illustrator Camilo Medina. They repeated the process last Tuesday, to the chagrin of those of us whose professional responsibilities obligated us to pay attention to it for hours on end (instead of, say, just reading a single e-mail release). Former U. of C. professor Daniel J. Boorstin, in his book The Image, classified stunts such as this announcement via mural “pseudo-events,” and I’m sure he’s yawning in his grave.
Reader intern Rachel Yang, who covered both sessions, is probably especially glad she doesn’t have to watch the painting this week—someone helping the mural team last time tried to block her view and told her it was “uncool” to tweet the names of the acts before Rodeffer had finished them. (If the Pitchfork folks didn’t want anybody guessing the names early, then I’m not sure why they were live-streaming the whole process on their website and on Facebook—maybe there was some miscommunication among the members of their crew.) At any rate, the last chunk of the lineup dropped all at once this morning, and we’ve compiled the whole thing below. We’re also linking each act’s name to past Reader coverage wherever we can.
The full lineup showcases plenty of acts Reader critics have repped for years, but to my eyes the whole isn’t greater than the sum of its parts. It’s hard to get excited about Fleet Foxes headlining a festival in 2018—I can still remember their previous headlining set, in 2011. (This will be the band’s third Pitchfork appearance.) Lauryn Hill, on the other hand, is definitely exciting, but she has a reputation for starting her sets late—and since Union Park has a strict 10 PM curfew, every minute of lateness could shorten her performance.
On the plus side, Pitchfork has booked the largest number of locals in the festival’s history: 11 Chicago acts, or 14 if you include Smino (who lives here but still reps Saint Louis), Julie Byrne (who lived in Chicago briefly but broke out in New York), and Open Mike Eagle (who grew up in Hyde Park and lives in LA, and whose most recent album is about the Robert Taylor Homes). There’s even one local who’s played before, Circuit des Yeux, which complicates my feelings about the fest leaning hard on returning acts (only nine this year).
Whatever my reservations, I’ll likely be waiting outside Union Park before the gates open on Friday, hoping to get a good spot to see Melkbelly.
Friday, July 20:
Open Mike Eagle
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society
Saturday, July 21:
The War on Drugs
This Is Not This Heat
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Circuit des Yeux
Sunday, July 22:
Ms. Lauryn Hill
(Sandy) Alex G
Kelly Lee Owens