Monday, August 10, 2009

The Best Fest in the Midwest


No, it's not Lollapalooza.

Don't get me wrong, there were some great acts there this past weekend. Most of which you should have seen on their fall tours in 2007. Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective are great, but not while you're crowded by thousands of sweaty people in 95 degree heat. These are acts that need walls. Spaciousness is for U2 and Coldplay, not indie rock.

I found a festival that plans on doing indie rock right. It's like a mix between Pitchfork Fest and SXSW. It's called Pygmalion.

It's comparable to Pitchfork because of the lineup. A few mainstays and a swarm of up-and-comers fill the slots. The big names are Iron and Wine, Low, The Books, RJD2 and Ra Ra Riot. The up-and-comers are many: YACHT, Japandroids, Wavves, Lymbyc Systym, The Antlers, The Daredevil Christopher Wright, the 1900s and many more. And then there are a bunch of Asthmatic Kitty related acts like My Brightest Diamond, Denison Witmer, Jookabox and Liz Janes (no Sufjan though).

It's comparable to SXSW because of the venue(s). Pygmalion takes place over the course of four days, within the various clubs and venues that can be found on and around the campus of the University of Illinois. A college town, and home to the Polyvinyl record label, it's one of America's most beautiful campuses in the autumn. And even if it does happen to be a record-setting 90 degree day in September, it'll be cooler inside the clubs.

So it's basically indie rock as it should be. Dark venues, close proximities and inexpensive shows. So to all of the Midwesterners, make the road trip to Champaign-Urbana for September 16-19. (Sorry if you already blew your summer concert money on Lollapalooza this weekend...)

For the entire lineup of artists, check out Pygmalion's website.

For schedule updates, check the Pygmalion blog.

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