Pitchfork head honcho seeks obscure bands to expose fest-goers to new music.
July 13-15, 2012
With a slew of music festivals dominating this summer’s landscape, it is pivotal for each one to possess their own appeal in order to avoid being overlooked. And Pitchfork President Chris Kaskie not only made this his top priority when booking this year’s lineup, he went above and beyond the call of duty to gather an eclectic and highly sought after array of artists.
From indie’s most luminous voices (Feist, Beach House) to bona fide party starters (Hot Chip, Sleigh Bells), Kaskie has his bases covered. Even Vampire Weekend couldn’t forgo headlining the last night of the festival. It’s all because Pitchfork Music Festival, much like its online publication, successfully feasts off of its sole principle: to satisfy their readers.
“This [festival] was created as a physical version of what we do online,” Kaskie explains. “We made sure that it is a manageable size and is carefully curated – it’s a tangible event for emerging music.” When it came to selecting which musicians would make for an unforgettable weekend, Kaskie’s approach is more comm
on sense than formulaic. “We wanted to have [artists] who were more obscure, since the goal is having people check out and discover great music.” At this point in our conversation, Kaskie spits responses with speed comparable to bullets. But instead of coming off as manic, it is clear that he is just a highly organized individual. “We also tend to go with bands that were a good fit before as well as ones who the fans want to see. We’re careful with how we craft our lineup.” That’s not to say putting together an event in Chicago for 20,000 music goers with scorching temperatures doesn’t have its hurdles. “In terms of logistics, I’m responsible for the well-being of all of those people. I make sure everyone can have fun and be safe,” he divulges. “But with Pitchfork, it’s for better or worse.”
Photo by Francis Chung