The first day of Pitchfork 2019 was hot. Not like, a little hot, but the type of hot that causes you to gasp when you walk outside. With the heat index peaking at 110 degrees fahrenheit, festival-goers were not only slow to arrive to Union Park, they were slow to move from one stage to another. I saw several people stay in the same shaded spot for hours and simply shift their attention back and forth between the Red and Green stage.
Despite the blazing temperatures, the music on Friday was top notch. Many p4k attendees, myself included, started their day with hip hop queen Rico Nasty. Unlike some rappers I’ve seen, she didn’t rely on her backing tracks and was incredibly dynamic. After her set, I took the time to cool off with other photographers before seeing Chicago’s own Grapetooth. Featuring a few members of Twin Peaks, Grapetooth is a synth-rock project that had the crowd moshing and sweating their faces off.
Sky Ferreira attempted to put on a great show, but technical and audio issues plagued her entire set. “Everything that can go wrong is going wrong”, Ferreira said, frantically adjusting her earpiece. Her voice sounded great, it just was unfortunately not quite in tempo with the band. As fellow photographers sat on the lawn and drank massive lemonades, the sun finally started to fade. Pusha-T had the best set of the day and the crowd literally went wild. Crowd surfing, moshing, headbanging against the rail, you name it. The rapper has been making waves for decades, and his veteran status shined on Friday.
HAIM headlined the first night of Pitchfork, and they proved why they’re one of the best female bands out there. The sister trio started the night with “Don’t Save Me” to screaming fans, and they only got better from there. HAIM covered “Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole, and it was the ultimate 90s nostalgia moment. The first day of Pitchfork was a huge success, and HAIM set the bar really high for headliners.