The Pitchfork Music Festival has been around for long enough that by now it’s probably somebody’s favorite thing about summertime in Chicago. But the city has so much to offer between June and September that I decided to ask the locals performing at this year’s Pitchfork fest what they like best about music in Chicago in the summer.
Guitarist and vocalist in Ne-Hi
2:30 PM Sunday on the Green Stage
My favorite thing is going to DIY shows in the summertime. I particularly like when it’s a cool bash. There’s always somebody throwing some show where there are ten bands. Just recently Bunny [bassist Alexa Viscius and front woman Jessica Viscius] hosted an event where ten bands played for the two sisters’ birthday. The nice element of those kind of events is the vibe—it’s really laid-back and it’s about the music. But it’s also about hanging out and community—and having a nice, sometimes grassy space. This was in their backyard, so there’s tons of green trees.
2:45 PM Sunday on the Blue Stage
It’s really not summer until West Fest. Memorial Day’s all right—everybody’s happy, you can wear white again, shit like that. But West Fest, I’ve been doing it for a few years now—maybe nine? Ten, maybe? Eight? I forget. I always close it, so to me that’s special anyway. The people that I see there are a lovely group, a lovely mix of old friends and new friends, various age groups—people come out with their kids and their dogs. I live in the neighborhood, so I like my neighborhood to be hot. I don’t want to have to go to River West, Lincoln Park, or these other places where other people can celebrate in their locales. West Fest is mine. It really is the quintessential version of a Chicago street festival.
4 PM Sunday on the Blue Stage
Honestly, all the music festivals. Chicago’s really big for music festivals—there’s a ton of them here. Every single summer for the last, like, I don’t know how many years—maybe close to ten, or seven, or something like that—I’ve been in a music festival or two or three, or one of my friends played one. Chicago’s a great place for music in the summer.
I haven’t done this in a while: going to Rainbow Cone. My family used to all go, open my dad’s minivan, and blast music while we had ice cream. I just like using cars as speakers—pulling over somewhere and listening to music that way, with some kind of Chicago food. It would be, like, my parents’ music. This is kind of embarrassing, but—Bruce Hornsby. Stevie Wonder—I can stand by that. Maybe Will Smith, Willennium. . . . Kind of an eclectic mix.
Guitarist and vocalist in American Football
7:45 PM Sunday on the Blue Stage
‘Cause the kids are off [school], we just have dance parties in the kitchen with, like, Taylor Swift and their favorite music. It’s a lot of Taylor Swift; there’s a little Bieber in there. I throw in a little Nicki Minaj sometimes, and I get some faces—I sneak it in there. The doors are open, which they haven’t been open all winter—the patio doors—and all that. v