Pygmalion festival is a weekend of celebration. I’m planning to catch Frankie Cosmos and V.V. Lightbody at the Independent Media Center, as well as local powerhouses C.J. Run, Nectar and NP0. I’ll also make a joyful stop at Popstop for a gelato popsicle to forget about the stresses of life for a while. But this year, I’m most looking forward to shaking up my festival routine when I head over to Krannert to hear from comedian and writer Tig Notaro. Attending a concert is typically an escapist experience for me. It’s a chance to forget about the realities of my day to day life and focus my energy on getting lost in the music and reveling in the chaotic energy of a crowd. I’m grateful that my Pygmalion experience will give me a chance to engage with the rest of the world thanks to Notaro’s social commentary (like the role of redemption in the #MeToo movement) and revealing anecdotes (her health and mortality). As a writer and as a curious human, I value the opportunity to hear from a comedian who manages to create a brand of humor that’s unapologetically funny but comes from a place that’s raw and personal.
Pygmalion is a staple here in Champaign-Urbana, bringing a wealth of talent each year that really goes unappreciated. This year’s fest has managed to snag a lot of up-and-coming talent, which is a nice cap to the lackluster festival season this summer. Chicago’s own Whitney will be playing at the Krannert Center, which will be a nice, intimate performance considering their last major show was at Millenium Park. Whitney has gained a lot of traction for a reason — their debut album was fully realized, a feat many artists can’t pull off until much later in their careers. Kweku Collins is another must-see — the Evanston rapper has created his own unique niche in the genre, incorporating psychedelic rock, hip-hop and pop to create one of the most hotly anticipated releases of next year. Tig Notaro, the inaugural headliner of the fest’s comedy lineup, is a world-renowned stand-up who is able to cohesively and effectively weave humor into more morbid subjects, but also tackle serious issues like the #MeToo movement. She regularly sells out major theaters across the country, so seeing her at Krannert is a unique experience of its own. Grab some empanadas from Manolo’s and let the weekend begin.
For this year’s lineup at Pygmalion, you really can’t go wrong with whoever you see. I think they did a really fantastic job this year with the diversity of artists that they are offering festival-goers. However, I think three must-see artists for this year’s Pygmalion would be: Playboi Carti, Diet Cig and Billy Strings. These artists are uber-talented, and based on their past performances, I think they will put on the most engaging shows this year. If I had to choose an absolute must-see artist above all, that I would not miss for the world, it would definitely be Playboi Carti. The rapper has been on the rise recently, after collaborating with bigger artists like Lil Uzi Vert. With his hard-hitting sound and catchy lyrics, I think Playboi Carti will be a crowd pleaser this year.
Since the festival is primarily on campus, Pygmalion-goers should head on over to The Bread Company while checking out the street stage. The menu has something for everyone, and its central location makes it convenient for all Champaign-Urbana students. Their diverse menu will provide the perfect recharge for festival attendees to snack and then head back to the stages. The Bread Company, paired with the performances of those three must-see artists, is a match made in heaven for this year’s Pygmalion.