Artists To See & How to make the best of a festival weekend
By Lindsey Anderson
I’m in Chicago for the 2017 Pitchfork Music Festival and couldn’t be more stoked! Check out my ~must see~ list and a few tips and tricks on how to make the most out of a festival weekend!
One of the best things to come from working with Tom Tom is being introduced to Madame Gandhi’s work. Former drummer for M.I.A. and a long time Tom Tom fave & friend, Madame Gandhi kicks off the festival with her infectious beats and phenomenal stage presence.
I have been following Priests since last year and have been DYING to see them live. Their newest record, “Nothing Feels Natural”, is FLIPPIN SICK (WOW I LOVE THIS RECORD SO MUCH) & ‘Doctor’ from their record ‘Bodies and Control and Money and Power’ forever rips to high heAVEN.
I used to work with LGBTQIA+ youth and one of the youth who I bonded with over our love of music, would show me at least once Dawn Richard video a week. I’d always be completely in awe of her choreography and aesthetic choices for her videos. Extremely excited to see her live.
The 1st time I saw Vince Staples was at Boston Calling in 2016. I didn’t know his work beforehand; I had heard his name before but had yet to dive into his work. I was about to go searching the festival grounds for a corndog and a seltzer but a friend’s high praise of Vince got me to stay put and I’m so glad I did. Vince is for sure one of my favorite rappers; the way he intertwines the narrative of being black in America with the flyest beats is truly phenomenal.
Frankie Cosmos has always popped up as a ‘recommended artist’ for me. One day I finally clicked on their profile to listen to their catalog and honestly thank GOD I did. Frankie has some great bops that make you want to stretch out on your sun-drenched bedroom floor and escape into a fantastical daydream on a Saturday afternoon.
I have had Kamaiyah’s mixtape ‘A Good Night In The Ghetto’ on HEAVY rotation so like…. ‘excited’ is truly an understatement when I think about seeing her live. Kamaiyah knows how to make catchy bops for the cookout, the low-key kick back & the hella hype turn up. She’ll be dropping her next project ‘Don’t Ever Get It Twisted’ very soon so keep your eyes hella peeled.
I consumed TONS of music last year and the one artist I am supremely thankful that 2016 bought to me is Vagabon. One of many things I appreciate about Vagabon is how you can feel the passion behind the lyrics & musical arrangement so heavily at a live gig. Truly an artist that everyone and their cat should know.
Another band that was consistently recommended to me and I’m so glad folks continued to make sure this killer band was on my radar. Cherry Glazerr makes solid ‘windows down, scream the lyrics while drumming on your steering wheel’ bangers.
The only thing I do more than eat entire pizzas alone is listen to Mitski. The number of times I’ve listened to ‘Puberty 2’ leading up to this weekend is ASTOUNDING. Y’all…words never seem to properly express my whole-hearted appreciation for Mitski so you’ll just have to catch me screaming every song at the top of my lungs this weekend.
‘My Woman’ is still my favorite record….TRULY. Seeing her live in Boston last year was beyond fun and I’m amped to see her for a 2nd time. My soul truly transcended reality when I saw her the 1st time; hearing her sing live is truly a treat.
One of the most theatrical live performers! I saw Kilo open for Vince Staples and she really goes all IN. She uses video elements, a stunning stage setup as well as movement to craft an A +++ live music experience for long time fans and folks who are experiencing her art for the 1st time.
OKAY. Y’ALL. Jamila Woods is the Queen of crafting Black Girl anthems. I found out about her via a FANTASTIC web series called ‘Brown Girls’. Whenever I listen to her music, I’m reminded of how great it is to be in my black body.
I’m honestly going to cry during this set. ‘A Seat At The Table’ and honestly Solange’s entire discography has had such an incredible impact on my life as a human and as a creator. This will be my first time hearing some of my favorite tunes live but from the videos I’ve seen of her live performances, it’s going to be an experience I’ll be telling my grandkids’ grandkids about.
- Bring a charger! Many festivals come equipped with charging stations so it’s best to come prepared.
- Dump your photos & videos after each day. Nothing stinks more than missing that perfect shot because the ‘you’ve run out of storage’ notification pops up.
- Get rid of any apps you don’t use on a regular basis. Use this tip in tandem with the photo dump; you’ll make alot more space on your devices for photos and videos.
- Airplane mode is your best friend in saving battery. Use that when you don’t need to use your phone for texts, calls or social media posting!
- Dress comfortably! There’s this unrealistic expectation to dress up for festivals but in the end, you’re going to end up sweaty and most likely muddy. For sure, dress however you’d like but if you want optimum comfort for the long fest days, for sure be strategic. You can look great without sacrificing comfort!
- Wear shoes you don’t care about having to get rid of. Festival grounds get gruesome and sometimes after a 3 day extravaganza, it’s easiest to toss any shoes that lost the battle to mud & other festival grime.
- Stay hydrated! Festivals are fun but passing out during your favorite artist’s set is not! Water bottles are typically allowed and there are usually water refill stations. Before to check the rules and regulations of the festival you’re attending beforehand re: water.
- Eat throughout the day. Along with staying hydrated, staying fed is supremely important. If you don’t want to spend money on the food on site and it’s a festival that allows re-entry throughout the day, check out local eateries near the festival! Also see what the rules and regulations are for bringing food and snacks from home!
- Get to stages early for bigger acts. If you want to be in the very front for that big act you’ve been waiting all summer to see, it’s best to arrive when the fest gates open; yes, even if they don’t go on until 8pm.
- Attend festivals with at least one other person. Festivals are loads of fun but it can be quite overwhelming. It’s nice to have a person or group of people there that you can go to if you’re feeling overwhelmed!
- Make sure you have an exit strategy with the folks you came with. In the event you get separated or folks have dead phones, be sure you all have a meeting point outside of the festival grounds in case of emergency. If you came alone, make sure you text a friend, family member and/or guardian and set up a plan with them on how & when to get in contact with you in case of an emergency. Scope out the local businesses & chose one as your safe zone to make a phone call.
- Budget out your days. Food, transport, merch, etc. the purchases for a festival experience really add up! Make sure you’re budgeting out your days so you don’t end up breaking the bank!
- Make sure you have cash on you. While most merchants have cash and card options, it’s still very important to have at least $20 in cash on you! An old tip from my Grandma that has for sure saved me countless times!