by Rob Levy
With LouFest, Pitchfork and Lollapalooza done you may think the music festival season is over after Labor Day. But there's still more:
Those who crave an indie rock festival featuring creative, innovative and up-and-coming artists will be glad to know that their audio paradise is only 178 miles away in Urbana- Champaign. The 7th annual Pygmalion Music Festival takes place from September 21-25 at various venues in Champaign, Illinois. The 2010 festival drew over 7,500 people, but with this year's vastly upgraded lineup look for that number to increase significantly.
Festival organizer Seth Fein is excited and hopeful about this year's festival. "I think if anything, the level of quality in the artists is rising year to year, as a result of the reputation of the festival having grown, and because I have been able to develop sponsorships with more success," he says. "Certainly, having national festival headliners like Explosions in the Sky and Cut Copy, along with hosting Polyvinyl Records' Fifteen Year Anniversary Party makes this year's festival a bit more triumphant than any in year's past. We're just honored to be able to host so many fine artists in one weekend."
The process of scouring the nation for acts to perform at Pygmalion was an arduous one. Fein and his team began to book artists this past January and finally finished tweaking the major part of the schedule in July.
This process has harvested an amazingly diverse schedule of music that stretches Pygmalion out for five days. Highlights include the textured bliss of Explosions in the Sky, Pains of Being Pure At Heart and Big Troubles, the chillwave of Washed Out and the electronic grooves of Cut Copy, Toro Y Moi and MiMoSa. The festival also features the blues rock dirge of Viva Voce, the experimental genre bending sounds of Gang Gang Dance and the pop lavish joy of Brass Bed and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Pygmalion also affords a great opportunity to the Champaign scene by featuring local artists like Dirty Feathers, Horrible Things and local heroes, Elsinore.
In addition to an already stellar lineup, Polyvinyl Records will be turning fifteen and celebrating at Pygmalion. The Champaign-based label is marking its birthday with performances from Braid (the band that got the label on the map), Deerhoof, Joan of Arc, Japandroids, Xiu Xiu, Asobi Seksu, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, STRFKR and Owen for a massive outdoor show on September 24.
The festival will happen rain or shine. Remember to bring some snacks and really comfy footwear since there will some short walking to get about town. Expect to wait in line for many of the smaller venues. Festival passes are sold out, but tickets to individual shows are available a la carte from the various venues.