Inner-city music festivals tend to start small, slowly beefing up, tacking on talent year-on-year at the same rate as the word spreads amongst the faithful. Pitchfork Music Festival, however, is walking into its inaugural edition in Berlin already a heavyweight. There are eight concerts over just three days and a tight, glistening line-up that demands attention.
Pitchfork is, for a certain type of music fan, as reliable a barometer of the zeitgeist as you’ll ever find in one place. So it stands to reason that the exceptional programming also bears the hallmarks of the most lauded, most up-and-coming and most hyped acts by music critics. In and of itself, that’s no bad thing. It’s just that it leaves out one of the best aspects of any music festival – the experience of stumbling across an artist you’d never heard of before and leaving the stage as a bonafide fan. Instead, Pitchfork Music Festival rather resembles something akin to a high-water mark; a yearly measuring of an unmissable event, with all too obvious actors.
Pitchfork Music Festival rather resembles something akin to a high-water mark; a yearly measuring of an unmissable event
All of this is not to take anything away from those artists themselves: there are the sharp, angular compositions of UK acts like Squid and Black Midi, the outright electricity of Crack Cloud and the luminous brilliance of The Comet Is Coming. And we haven’t even mentioned Luna Li, Hawa, Blawan, I. Jordan or Desire.
It’s a mouthwatering prospect, yet the proof is in the pudding. How much of that star quality will shine through in a 45-minute slot depends on a lot of different elements: the bands, the crowds and the venues will all play a significant role.
At the end of the day, the success of those factors can only be brought together by the injection of a little soul and a little surprise into the proceedings. There is no doubt that all of the ingredients are there. This is a festival that has been prepared with an exacting mise en place. Everything is in its right place. Except, perhaps, the heart.
- Various locations in Berlin
- Nov 4-6
Want more Berlin events and news delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter.