It was a slow start to the sixth annual Pitchfork Music Festival. Indie fans trickled in to the Union Park field. Those that did arrive early were greeted by the biggest change we've noticed this year: increased marketing. Young women in black tank tops patrol the site, offering boys and men samples of Axe body spray. A team from Heineken asks if you'd like to take a survey on your beer consumption. Fake friendly folks with backpacks shaped like Red Bull cans offer up their little pistons of medicine-flavored candy water. Considering that Pitchfork's main defence for booking Odd Future is the group's "punk rock spirit," it all feels slimy.
The record fair is lighter. The dying market for tangible music product has even reached its choking fingers into the hipster vinyl market. One vendor tells me, "It's been a ghost town."
Fortunately, one thing unchanged is the music bookings. It's still a mix of fresh-out-the-box hopefuls, non-platinum rappers and solid veterans of the "college rock" era. The general consensus ranks Guided By Voices' set as the clear winner.
Here are our reviews and photo galleries of each act: