Pitchfork Festival vs. Outside Lands: Comparing Food, Climate, and 'Hipster Bullshit'

“I didn't expect so much hipster bullshit.”

Really? This particular sentiment, which I overheard on the first day of the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, typifies the response expressed by skeptics of Pitchfork, the website that organizes the festival. Now in its eighth year, the event skews heavily toward the sort of indie fare pushed by the site.

But aside from the scale of the spectacle, there's not all that much separating the Pitchfork Festival from “mainstream” destination events like Coachella or San Francisco's Outside Lands. All three Pitchfork headliners (Bjork, Belle & Sebastian, and R. Kelly) have played the main stage at Coachella — although Belle & Sebastian have never headlined and R. Kelly made only a brief appearance as a guest of Phoenix. Indie darlings such as Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend rode the festival circuit all the way to mainstream stardom. And I defy you to find a music festival (Coachella, Outside Lands, Treasure Island, Pitchfork) that doesn't feature at least a little “hipster bullshit.” If you haven't been paying attention, neon shades and fixie bikes are everywhere.

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