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Introducing the First-Ever “Forkies” Awards

We dole out some credit where it’s due at Pitchfork Music Festival.

And the award for “Pleasant Surprise” goes to: sweaters!   Photo: Cousin Daniel

Pitchfork Music Festival, thanks to its cutting edge roster, manageable crowd size, and cushy VIP tent, is often compared to summer camp for music journalists. That gave us an idea: With the 2018 festival in the rearview, why not dole out our own version of paper plate awards for the industry’s favorite weekend? And so were born the Forkies, the first (and maybe only ever) awards ceremony dedicated to Pitchfork Music Festival. The winners, below:

The “Too Big For The Blue Stage” Award: Japanese Breakfast

There’s always at least one Blue Stage performer who should’ve played the larger Green or Red stages; this year that was Japanese Breakfast. The shaded nook was packed for the Philly-based dreampop act, who played largely from their 2017 album Soft Sounds from Another Planet and even whipped out a Cranberries cover.

The “Pleasant Surprise” Award: Sweaters

It’s rare that the best item of clothing, sweaters, get to make an appearance at music festivals. Pitchfork is always one of our favorite weekends, but add sweater weather to the mix and we’re in love.

The “Why?” Award: Fleet Foxes

Just…why?

The “Short But Sweet” Award: Kelela

Though her set was cut short due to a late arrival, the R&B crooner was undoubtedly a Pitchfork 2018 highlight. Watching Kelela perform is like taking a hot shower on a freezing day: A soothing, calming reprieve you wish would never end.

The “Keeping Your Sh*t Together” Award: Tie between the weather and Lauryn Hill

You never know what you’re going to get out of both Chicago weather and ’90s hip-hop legend Lauryn Hill. We’re thrilled to announce that this weekend, both integral prongs of Pitchfork 2018 successfully kept their ducks in a row. There were no ill-timed weather evacuations, and just a 24-minute wait for the former Fugee to take the stage. Kudos to both wild cards. And on a related note…

The “Killing It Despite White Cis Dudes Talking Over Your Set” Award: Girlpool

Pretty much every mid-sized band to play a music festival has deserved this award at some point. This weekend, Girlpool earned the reputable accolade during their Saturday set. Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker brought their strikingly intimate tunes to the Blue Stage, managing to cut through the noise of a staggering number of yammering bros while doing it.

The “Artist We’d Like to Score Our Mamma Mia! Jukebox Musical” Award: Courtney Barnett

In honor of this weekend’s theatrical release of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, we bestow this very special honor upon Courtney Barnett. Her hyper-narrative lyrics and danceable licks would totally lend themselves to musical theater, right?

The “Doing The Work” Award: The woman-heavy lineup

As the Reader pointed out, more than half of this year’s Pitchfork acts include women—not an insignificant feat, given that no major festival achieved this in 2017. And women performers made big splashes at this year’s fest: From Lucy Dacus and Julie Byrne leading off on Friday afternoon, to Haley Fohr’s commanding stage presence on Saturday, and finally to Noname’s irresistible charm and the queen Lauryn Hill on Sunday, Pitchfork’s women made the weekend.

The “Corn Dog” Award: Chicago Diner

For being the only food vendor at Pitchfork brave enough to serve (veggie) corn dogs. We salute you.

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