Food For Thought: Pitchfork Music Festival 2014

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The trend in music festivals these days seems to be “all you can eat”. A hungry fan shopping for an experience would be pleased to see a former Beatle playing alongside a long broken-up, and now-reunited rap crew from the 90s. If your tastes are more progressive, here are 30 bands that you’ve never heard of – try a taste of each. In the mood for something more contemporary? Then you won’t want to miss this DJ we booked all the way from Europe – he comes with a fireworks show too!

Leave it to Pitchfork to buck the trend. The décor here can be best described as no frills, with only three stages marked by green, blue, and red banners. The menu is simple if not sparse; a lean mix of acknowledged prodigies and obscure names. Pacing is steady and reliable; when one course ends another begins, that is if you can make it through such a packed house. The mise-en-place could use some work.

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Ahh, the critics will be debate this one endlessly. “It was an unambitious lineup”, the first will say, “full of lightly-spaced words of the same size and font.”

Another pundit, this one more curt in his assessment, chimes in. “A breakfast combo at Denny’s has more grand slams than a day spent at Pitchfork.”

“Touche,” nods the first. “As if your plate arrives with only a single egg, strip of bacon, and sausage link. Savor it! It’s a tasting menu, not a buffet.”

A third critic, presumably a Pitchfork staff writer, is unimpressed with this depth of insight. “A meager portion, perhaps, but these are no ordinary eggs. Free range, organic hens. Thick-cut bacon, heirloom breed. Small-batch artisan sausages, hand-made in a former carriage factory in Brooklyn”.

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The Chicago-style hot dog vendor nearby overhears the exchange, his lifelong profession providing insight into the matter. “You’re all wrong! It’s not about the quality of the meat, it’s about the toppings!” He reaches into a jar and plucks out pickle. “Say this pickle represents St. Vincent. It’s a half-sour, not so great on its own.” Pointing to a sausage and a bun, he continues. “…but serve it between Beck and Tune-Yards, and you’ve got a darn tasty sammy, Chicagah style.”

Nearby, a concertgoer collides mid-crowd with a plate full of overtopped frankfurters, cheesy fries, and Souvlaki with Tzatziki sauce. “You idiot!” she scolds at the gourmand. “Who the hell brings a 7 course picnic into a crowd like this! You’ve ruined it for everyone!”

The fourth critic, watching all of this from afar with self-possessed amusement, quietly takes notes, plotting his story, the smirk on his face the only thing betraying the angle he’ll pursue.

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