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Attendees gathered outside of Union Park during the Pitchfork Music Festival evacuation.
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth RivasAttendees gathered outside of Union Park during the Pitchfork Music Festival evacuation.

The 5 best things we saw on Saturday at Pitchfork Music Festival

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

It's not a Chicago music festival without some torrential, sideways rain and a midday park evacuation. Midway through Ex Hex's set on Saturday afternoon, the music went silent at Pitchfork Music Festival and officials began clearing out Union Park as heavy rains swept through the area, turning the venue into a muddy swamp. Luckily, gates opened up again rather quickly and the day went forward as planned, with just a few cancellations. We sloshed around the grounds and cataloged the five best things we saw at Saturday's extra soggy Pitchfork Music Festival.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Pitchfork Music Festival

1. Bully's rude awakening

Alicia Bognanno must have drank a couple glasses of tea and honey to prime her vocal cords before taking the Blue stage on Saturday morning. Her piercing vocals were audible from the other end of the park where Protomartyr was turning in an intense set. For those who showed up without downing a cup of coffee, Bully's down-and-dirty rock was like aural caffeine. –Zach Long

2. Pitchfork's heady festival T-shirt

Resting somewhere between ironic and reverent, Pitchfork's Grateful Dead-themed T-shirt simultaneously celebrates the jam band's 50th anniversary while poking fun at its distinctive design. Featuring a multi-colored smoking (toking?) skeleton, it's perfect for the Deadhead who also likes Wilco or the hipster who is too cool to buy a vintage replica at Urban Outfitters. –ZL

3. A late afternoon pick-me-up, care of Future Islands

Backed by an undulating silver curtain, Future Islands ushered in the evening with a set that exuded energy. Transitioning between motivational speaking, guttural singing and impressive, aerobic dance moves, frontman Samuel Herring seemed hell-bent on putting a skip in the step of each and every soggy attendee. By the time the group broke into a rousing rendition of "Seasons (Waiting on You)," it sounded like the song of the summer all over again. –ZL

4. Those useful carpet squares

Carpet company FLOR had a tent adjacent to the main entrance of the festival that was distributing free carpet squares. The day's torrential downpour led to incredibly muddy fields, and the small portions of fabric were a godsend for weary attendees looking to pop a squat between sets. It would be great to see carpet squares become a fixture at future music festivals, especially in Chicago. –Clayton Guse

5. Vic Mensa preps the crowd for Chance the Rapper

While Sleater-Kinney ripped through punk anthems in the main field, Chicago native Vic Mensa commanded the crowd gathered at the muddy Blue stage. Early in his set, Mensa sang his version of Chance the Rapper's "Cocoa Butter Kisses," a song that the rapper was featured on before he was of legal drinking age. While priming the crowd for his collaborator's headlining set on Sunday night, Mensa previewed tracks from his upcoming, Jay-Z cosigned LP and made a case for himself as the city's next big hip-hop export. –CG

Photographs: Hallie Duesenberg and Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas

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