This morning Pitchfork announced the lineup for its 14th annual music festival, and the three daily headliners are Swedish pop star Robyn, LA pop-rock act Haim, and legendary Cincinnati soul combo the Isley Brothers. They Isleys’ set is being billed as a 60th-anniversary celebration, though 2019 is specifically the 60th anniversary of their 1959 debut album, Shout!—the band had already been gigging for about five years at that point. Their booking is the sort of pleasant surprise that helps Pitchfork stand out in a crowded festival ecosystem. Among the other big names on the bill are iconic Chicago gospel and R&B artist Mavis Staples, indie-pop veterans Stereolab, British pop singer Charli XCX, and Scottish indie mopes Belle & Sebastian.
Staples is one of ten Chicagoans on the bill, four shy of the record-breaking number who played last year—though you could get to 11 by including Freddie Gibbs, who lives in Los Angeles but never lets anyone forget he’s from Gary, Indiana. I’m stoked to see Pitchfork booking postpunk band Lala Lala, rappers Valee, Dreezy, and Ric Wilson, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’ Great Black Music Ensemble.
Jeremih and Whitney, two of the locals appearing highest on the bill, are also among a large group of returning acts. Robyn played the 2010 festival on a Friday afternoon, and since then she’s definitely earned a spot as a closer. I’m excited for another chance to catch Neneh Cherry (who appeared in 2014), I can’t say the same about Parquet Courts, who are coming back for a third time. Among the first-timers for whom I aim to carve out time are hip-hop experimentalists Standing on the Corner and Japanese rockers Chai.
The Pitchfork Music Festival runs Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21, in Union Park. It’s shaping up to be an intense weekend for the small but specific group of fans who are interested in Pitchfork as well as in ComplexCon, a two-day style and music festival presented by New York-based magazine Complex. Held in Los Angeles since its founding in 2016, it’s finally coming here too: the inaugural Chicago version opens at McCormick Place on Saturday, July 20 (the same day as Hyde Park’s massive Silver Room Block Party), and continues on Sunday. Hitting all three events will be a challenge, but at least Pitchfork hasn’t yet raised its ticket prices this year: single-day tickets are $75, three-days are $175, and three-day Pitchfork Plus passes cost $375 (one-day Plus passes are $160). Those numbers are the same as in 2018, but they’ll all go up after May 31.
As we do every year, we’ve assembled the daily lineup below, along with links to past Reader coverage where applicable: