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One of Chicago’s best music festivals — Pitchfork — returns to Union Park on the Near West Side this weekend for the 12th year.

In addition to headliners like A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, PJ Harvey, and LCD Soundsystem, there are plenty of artists that are worth getting to the festival early for. See below for our recommendations.

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Over the years, the festival has expanded to be more than just about music. For those moments when this feels like musical overload, the Book Fort will be hosting poetry readings and interviews throughout the weekend and the CHIRP Record Tent will have artist signings.


Additionally, the festival has partnered with non-profits and other social initiatives, like the anti-gun violence Wear Orange program and artistic projects like the Saint Heron House, which will have on- and off-site events throughout the weekend.

Check out the Pitchfork website for tickets, FAQ, information on how to get there, storage, and food vendors. Drink plenty of water, don’t forget the sunscreen, and check out these incredible artists.

Friday

Madame Gandhi: The Los Angeles-based activist and artist Kiran Gandhi (stage name Madame Gandhi) is a self-proclaimed “drummer whose mission is to elevate and celebrate the female voice.” Red Stage, 1 PM. Madame Gandhi performs an aftershow at the Ace Hotel Friday July 14th.

Priests: The DC post-punk group is probably best seen in a sweaty basement, but will provide a much need jolt of energy to start off the weekend. Green Stage, 1:45 PM. Priests also play an aftershow at Schubas on Saturday July 15th.

Vince Staples: One of the latest unstoppable forces in hip-hop, Vince Staples is fresh off a recent collaboration with Gorillaz, and the critically acclaimed Big Fish Theory. Green Stage, 4 PM.

Saturday

Vagabon: Under the name Vagabon, producer and multi-instrumentalist Laetitia Tamko has created a dynamic sound that ranges from dreamy to cathartic, with lyrics that cut deep. Red Stage, 1 PM. Vagabon plays an aftershow at Beat Kitchen on Saturday July 15th.

Mitski: Last year’s Puberty 2 was a standout album that saw the New York-based songwriter expressing vulnerable, anxious, and way-too catchy indie rock. Blue Stage, 4 PM.

Angel Olsen: A Pitchfork Festival veteran, the former Chicagoan writes heart-on-the-sleeve acoustic ballads to punch-in-the-gut folk-rock crooners. Green Stage, 6:15 PM.

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Sunday

Ne Hi: Local buzz has followed the four-piece band for the past few years and they’re well on their way to getting more national recognition. Green Stage, 2:15 PM. Ne Hi plays an aftershow July 15th at Lincoln Hall.

The Avalanches: One of the most anticipated reunion acts of the weekend, the Australian electronic group are unparalled when it comes to creating experimental sample-based beats that get you bobbing your head along. Green Stage 6:15 PM.

Jamila Woods: The Chicago soul singer first got major recognition from collaborating with Chance the Rapper song “Sunday Candy” but her 2016 album HEAVN was a monumental achievement in its own right. Blue Stage, 6:30 PM. Jamila Woods also performs at Thalia Hall Thursday July 13th.

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