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Three's Company?

By Sarah Dahnke in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 13, 2007 3:30PM

While most Pitchfork Music Festival coverage will undoubtedly focus on the headliners, we think it would be a shame to not mention our favorite part of the festival: the side stage. The Balance Stage, aka “the tent,” has been our escape at the past two Pitchfork-involved festivals. During the afternoon, much of the Union Park field is full of immobile patrons only half-interested in who’s on the stage, making walking around the festival a mile-long hipster obstacle course. Jump over the shirtless guy sleeping in the grass with his flannel over his face. Don’t run into the girl moving like molasses because her poorly planned three-inch heels are sinking into the ground. Weave between the two strung out hippie dancers to the side of the stage. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Oh wait, that’s a different game.

2007_7_12_biz3tent.jpgEither way, while people are milling around the park killing time before The New Pornographers take the stage, we will once again take refuge in the tent. Yes, it’s hotter than a ball sack under the plastic rooftop, but it’s also a source of shade. Even better is that the stage is only about three feet tall, meaning the performers and the crowd share much of the same space, and the resulting atmosphere is much like a small club, rather than a large, often disconnected concert or festival.

This year the tent is not curated by dance-music enthusiasts Biz3, a fact that has some disappointed. Last year dance party rockers Flosstradamus and Diplo DJed sets under the tent, along with niche solo acts, such as Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, who wailed on an elaborate kit for about 45 full minutes, and avant-garde instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton, now of Battles fame. But this year, the lineup is nothing to sneeze at. In addition to obvious hype-starters Girl Talk and Klaxons, the tent will be home to artists such as Ken Vandermark, Fujiya & Miyagi, Brightblack Morning Light and Dan Deacon.

Last year a lot of our fest mates were surprised with the frequency with which we visited the side stage tent and made comments like, “What tent? I haven’t seen any tent” or “The tent? Oh yeah, I never go over there.” But we know we're not alone in our love of the tent, as there are always interested festival goers hanging out by the side stage. But from our experience, to the majority of Pitchfork attendees, the tent is lost and forgotten. So we pose this post as a reminder that there are indeed three stages at the Pitchfork Music Festival. And if you’re looking for us, you can probably guess where we’ll be.

Biz3 tent photo is part of the Chicagoist Photos collection.