Day Three of Pitchfork Festival started off weary with a sheet of gray clouds in the sky and forecasts for thunderstorms. Attendees prevailed and the weather obeyed, remaining relatively cool and dry for the entire day! The sun blinked out at moments, most notably during D.R.A.M’s set when he thanked the audience just as the sun came out, and the day grew brighter as he and the crowd celebrated the rays. One of the few artists slated not from Chicago, despite being a frequent collaborator with Chicagoan artists, was D.R.A.M. He played new music that people were already singing along to (such as “Best Hugs”).
Sunday’s lineup was stacked with some of Chicago’s top artists, making a day for the books as they all ran between each others sets to support and rally the crowd. Evanston’s Kweku Collins delivered a fiery set, spitting rhymes energetically to the masses. He somehow managed to keep his breath for his long tangents of lyrics while flitting and dancing around all four corners of the stage. Ravyn Lenae then delivered my personal favorite set of the entire weekend. Crowds swooned as a stagehand brought out her pink feather boa microphone stand. She came out skipping in a silvery tassel outfit, performing a mix of songs from her latest EP Crush as well as her first EP, Moon Shoes, and Midnight Moonlight with The Internet’s Steve Lacy. At only 19-years-old, Lenae has an incredible stage presence and strong ability to command an audience.
Smino was up afterwards, hopping onstage carrying squeaky clean white sneakers while donning a bright orange safety vest with hair ties to match. He and his band grooved out energetically on stage; at one point his manager even broke out into some serious dance moves as the crowd egged him on. Noname was next up. She seemed a tad shy in the beginning, but once the crowd started rapping her lyrics with her, she couldn’t stop smiling to her music. Her background singers boosted her overall sound as it carried across the festival grounds, making the music that much more impactful.
The legend Chaka Khan then graced Pitchfork’s presence as someone on the mic introduced the ten time Grammy award winning artist. Her band and backup singers had the best energy onstage; each and every one of them could not wipe the smiles off their faces as they played some of her greatest hits.
Closing out Pitchfork 2018’s successful weekend was Lauryn Hill, performing her one and only album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, on her 20th anniversary tour. Slated to go on at 8:30PM, audience members grew nervous as the time ticked over since rumor has it she occasionally blows off performances. 9:40PM came around, and there she was. The energy was insane; the park was packed out to all of the edges with eager fans trying to catch a glimpse of her on stage and hear her historic vocals. She delivered her notable songs with a strong energy, and commanded her band onstage, making an effort to have her art come out exactly to her expected standard. I overheard in the crowd she had a two hour soundcheck.
Overall, Pitchfork powered through some unwelcome weather to host a truly incredible lineup of acts, from some powerhouse legends to ones that will be headlining festivals in only a few years to come. Pitchfork Music Festival provides a really great space for music enthusiasts of all kinds to mingle, relax, and celebrate in the uniting art form.