Heading To Pitchfork? 9 Reasons Chicago Is The Best Festival City

Wander in the desert no more.

If you’re heading down to the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend you’re probably aware that it is in Chicago, because that is what your plane ticket says. However, are you aware that this makes Pitchfork a fest that is different from all other fests (it’s like Passover that way)? [Insert rousing rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Chicago” here.]

As someone who has attended Pitchfork many, many times (and resided in Chicago for half a decade) I have compiled a handy list for first-timers below that highlights why it’s a wholly unique experience to attend a fest in The Second City the city that still haunts my dreams with its storied streets and pervasive chocolate smell. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

1. You Can Have A Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger

A famous “Saturday Night Live” sketch, seen here, was inspired by Chicago’s iconic Billy Goat Tavern. One of the outposts of said tavern is walking distance from Pitchfork’s Union Park location. You know what you have to do.

2. You Might Just Hear ’The Super Bowl Shuffle’

Embedded from w.soundcloud.com.

“The Super Bowl Shuffle” is a bizarre sports novelty song recorded by the Chicago Cubs in 1985. It exists on many Chicago bar jukeboxes. At the beginning of the year, a cadre of Pitchfork-esque bands (including Man Man, My Morning Jacket and Les Savy Fav) recorded their own version of the jam. Hearing said song on your trip to Chi-Town (no one calls it that, by the way) is inevitable.

3. You Will Be Right Near This

If you are from another city, (say… New York), you will feel very bad about your life.

4. And This

This is “The Bean” a.k.a. “Cloud Gate” a.k.a. “The Perfect Place To Take A Selfie!”

5. You Will Hear The Soothing Tones Of The Voice Of The CTA

If you spend any time partaking of the CTA this coming weekend — which you will, if you don’t own a car — you will become intimately familiar with Lee Crooks, the uber-soothing voice of the Chicago transit system. Service delays have never sounded so polite.

6. Speaking Of Polite…

People will be, like, a little less polite than the denizens of, say, Alabama’s Hangout Fest, but maybe nicer than folks at New York’s CMJ. With Austin’s SXSW, it’s a toss-up, because that fest is basically Mardi Gras 2.0 and people tend to get rowdy when the streets are running with beer.

7. You Can Get A Foie Gras Hot Dog

FOR NOW. Chicago’s iconic hot doggery Hot Doug’s is closing come October so you should probably snag their most controversial menu item while you can. If you’re OK with waiting in line forever and potentially missing, like, Neutral Milk Hotel, that is.

8. Speaking Of Hot Dogs…

You can’t have ketchup on your dog. That goes directly against the Chicago-style preparation. So if you hate ketchup, this is a plus. (It’s the reason why I had to move away…)

9. Also The City Periodically Smells Like Chocolate

Thanks to The Blommer Chocolate Company, Chicago smells like chocolate on the reg during the summer. Beat that, hot garbage smell!

Senior writer/editor at MTV News. Former Mashable associate editor & CNN columnist. "Stuff Hipsters Hate" co-writer. Moshpit fan.
@BrennaEhrlich