Imagine your radio dial going haywire, and you begin catching tunes from every station on the dial all at once. Now replace the radio and insert Chicago's Union Park, and you have the recipe for the Intonation Music Festival, which recently played host to some of the scene's most notable names and best-kept secrets.
The two-day festival, curated by Vice Records and held from June 24-25, boasted a roster that included the likes of Ghostface Killah, Lupe Fiasco, Rhymefest, The Constantines, 90 Day Men, The Stills, Lady Sovereign, Dead Prez, Bloc Party, The Streets and many more. Thousands turned out for the genre-defying festival and were not disappointed as their favorite bands stormed the stage with reckless abandon.
“A festival like this, with a lot of cultures involved, a lot of different music, it's a blessing to be a part of,” says Houston MC Devin the Dude, who laced the crowd with his signature brand of hybrid hip-hop (which scored big with all of the, um, marijuana sympathizers in the audience). Other acts like SXSW favorite José Gonzáles, metal mercenaries The Sword and supermultitasker Jon Brion (who many know from his production work with Fiona Apple and Kanye West) also put on memorable sets, much to the delight of the eclectic bunch that filled the park in search of a good show.
“It's like a family reunion,” says Chicago-bred MC Rhymefest, who gave a spirited, crowd-diving performance to his hometown fans. “You can get a glass of lemonade and relax. But what I love about [the festival] is its balance in music. There used to be a day when you could hear Daryl Hall and John Oates' ‘I Can't Go for That,’ and the next song would be Public Enemy's ‘Don't Believe the Hype.’ Radio is so segmented into labels and groups, and this is just getting back to music, period.”
With the sound systems and the ever-unpredictable Chicago weather both deciding to cooperate, this year's festival lived up to its deafening buzz and added some definite heat to the summer air.