Festivalist '09: Pitchfork Starting Lineup

Last week, the internet’s #1 source for all things indie, Pitchfork, announced the early list of bands scheduled for its annual Pitchfork Music Festival.  At first glance, its probably not something I’m checking Expedia deals for, but it has a few things in its favor:

A) Its cheap.  You won’t find a better 3-day fest for less than $100.

B) Chicago.  I don’t really need to express how much I love this city.

C) Pitchfork’s line-ups usually end up being the “it” bands soon afterward (see Girl Talk, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Animal Collective, and Klaxons to name a few).  Pitchfork doesn’t need to scour the Billboard charts of the ’80’s and ’90’s to get people to come, its not that type of party.  Pitchfork is known for breaking bands and booking acts that have a fervent following.  Look for more of the same in ’09.

When: July 17-19

Where: Union Park in Chicago, IL

Headliners: Built to Spill, The National, Grizzly Bear

Other Highlights: The Walkmen, Yo La Tengo, Pharoahe Monch, Vivian Girls, The Jesus Lizard, Tortoise, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, more tbd.

Tickets: On sale March 13th (3-day ’08 prices were $65)

Cool idea: Typically, Fridays at Pitchfork feature a cult favorite, performing a classic album in its entirety.  This year, fans who purchase tickets are able to vote for which songs the bands play in “Write the Night: Set Lists by the Night”.  Really a great idea.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t name a song by any of the Friday night bands if I had to.  More research is necessary I suppose.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of many of the already announced bands (for now), I wouldn’t write off Pitchfork yet.  The Walkmen are amazing and I’ve heard many good things about their live shows.  The National are the best band that I never used to give a chance.  Pharoahe Monch, Vivian Girls and Yo La Tengo are buzzworthy enough to make me intrigued.  Besides, last year featured Cut Copy, The Hold Steady, Bon Iver, Spoon, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon and Fleet Foxes.  I’d bet Pitchfork is rightly holding back some of its best cards.

Built to Spill – Liar

The Walkmen – We’ve Been Had

Pharoahe Monch – Body Baby

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks (live on Letterman)

The National – So Far Around the Bend