There’s nothing quite as invigorating as a quick burst of chaos. Just as Saturday afternoon was getting going in Chicago, a quick but torrential downpour sent the entire mob of people at Union Park scrambling for cover. It let up just long enough for four really good Ex Hex songs, and then it came back with a vengeance. Midwestern storms come in so quickly that you can barely process what’s happening as it’s happening, and it threw the entire Pitchfork Festival into chaos for a while. An announcement came over the PA saying that the festival was closing, that everyone had to leave immediately. In the VIP section, some official types told everyone they had to leave, and others told everyone they had to stay. The rain was so thick and so merciless that you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you. From what I’ve been told, tornadoes came close enough to Chicago that the city came close to shutting things down entirely.
But as quickly as it came, the storm was gone. Messages went out on everyone’s phone that the festival would be starting again at 4:20 — which, fortuitously enough, was the time Kurt Vile was coming to the stage. And then everything was just back on, with no complications beyond the vast mud-pits that people didn’t seem to mind trudging through. Chicago’s often-oppressive heat broke, and the day suddenly turned beautiful. Other than that curtailed Ex Hex set and Vince Staples and SOPHIE missing the festival because of canceled flights, there weren’t even any musical casualties. It’s a testament to how friendly and well-run this festival is. They had to kick everyone out, and then they got it going again without a hitch. The moment we all got word that gates were opening again was one of the day’s great highlights. But there were others.