Pitchfork 2014: The Day-by-Day Review

After a weekend that was bursting at the seams with heat, water bottles and its fair share of tremendous performances, the 2014 edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival came to a close. As is assumed with most large-scale concerts, there were the usual ups and downs that come with the territory. But as the days wore on and the sun went down over Union Park every night, it was the positives that would tend to outweigh the negatives as crowd members reminisced about recently seen acts. Every day proved to be a new adventure and there were a lot of things that, whether they were truly miraculous or honestly overlooked, were note-worthy from the moment they occurred. So, whether you are looking to relive your festival weekend or to live vicariously through those who did attend, here’s the day-by-day breakdown of Pitchfork Music Festival.

Friday: The buzz of a new festival was in the air, and the attendees were restless. It was cool, breezy, and no one knew what to do at first. After a short time of milling around the various merch tents, most fans attended the dreamy fest-opener, Hundred Waters, at the Red Stage (a spot previously held by the recently broken up Death Grips). The day moved on and electrifying performances from Neneh Cherry (her second ever in the United States) and disco legend Giorgio Moroder kept the energy level high as Union Park became dominated by the nighttime. Those itching for a relaxing start to their festival were also not disappointed thanks to acts like Sun Kil Moon and Sharon Van Etten, with the latter also helping to design a craft beer specially made for the fest. But as 8:30 rolled around, the show peaked with a seemingly time-stopping performance from rock superstar Beck, who played a rowdy collection of old hits and powerful renditions of tracks from new album Morning Phase. The night concluded with a 10-minute plus performance of Odelay track “Where It’s At”, capped by a harmonica solo.

Saturday: A new, slightly hotter day was upon us and surfer/garage rockers Twin Peaks were called to lead it off from the Green Stage. Backed with powerful performances by fellow rockers Cloud Nothings, indie quartet Wild Beasts, and Merrill Garbus’ project tUnE-yArDs, the day was off to a strong and energetic start. Hip-hop enthusiasts were also aplenty, attending for the likes of KA and strong shows from Pusha T (despite taking the stage nearly 30 minutes late) and Detroit rapper Danny Brown. The real showstopper came from the Red Stage at 7:25, when St. Vincent stepped out to the sea of people waiting to see the headliner-capable performance. With one of the most forceful performances of the weekend, Annie Clark’s guitar work and dance moves left people raving about the performance late into Sunday. Then, the reunited Neutral Milk Hotel capped off the night with a show so quaint, that jumbotrons were taken down around the stage, fans left with much more energy than the night before.

Sunday: The mixed feelings about a festival’s end were there. Crippling fatigue, dehydration, and excitement all morphed into one as the final day began. There was no loss for dreamy, sit down music as bands like DIIV, Real Estate, and Slowdive drifted through the hottest day of the weekend. The rap fans were also back for a variety of artists, including Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt’s extreme (and hilarious) performance, along with the much-adored Schoolboy Q. DJ Spinn and Kayne West beat-maker, Hudson Mohawke, also contributed to the madness, with strong and non-stop performances as the night came to a close over by the Blue Stage. The clear favorite of the day was festival closer Kendrick Lamar, as he stepped on to the Green Stage to face just about every attendee that stepped onto the Pitchfork grounds that weekend. Backed by an insanely talented live band and a crowd of people eager to mimic every word he said, the night and the weekend closed for another year.

The Pitchfork Music Festival was by no means a disappointment this year, with a variety of great and unique performances, excellent food, and relatively decent weather. Check out the slideshow for WIUX’s three days of Pitchfork photos, and stay close to WIUX online to check out Kevin Hyland’s Pitchfork review podcast, along with review coverage from this past weekend’s Forecastle Music Festival.