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Summer in the Windy City brings tons of options for outdoor music, from free events such as Taste of Chicago concerts to mega-festivals such as Lollapalooza.

Somewhere in between lies the Pitchfork Music Festival, which kicks off its second decade Friday through Sunday at West Town’s Union Park.

Those looking for a venue less massive – and expensive – than Lolla can find a happy medium at Pitchfork. With a lineup that includes Beach House, Sufjan Stevens and FKA Twigs, more than 50,000 fans are expected to flock to the park this weekend.

For those new to the festival this year, we’ve scoured the countless guides and to-do lists out there to bring you the ultimate newcomers guide.

First – Get your tickets

Unlike Lolla, where tickets tend to sell out within minutes, months in advance, before the lineup is announced — Pitchfork passes are easier to obtain.

How easy? Simply log on to the Pitchfork website and purchase away.

Three-day passes sell for $165, while  single-day tickets are $65. Don’t wait too long, though —  Saturday tickets are expected to sell out.

Gates open at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday at noon. Find the main gate at Ashland Avenue, south of Lake Street.


Second – Get there

It’s a festival, folks, so expect crowds – and a shortage of parking. Pitchfork’s got you covered, though, with plenty of options for public transportation, even access by bike.

The CTA has scheduled extra buses and trains (get on and off at the Ashland station on the Green and Pink lines.)

But because of the festival, expect less elbow room on the Green and Pink lines, as well as Red and Blue lines. More frequent service is scheduled for the Pink Line. In addition, extra service is scheduled for the No. 9-Ashland bus.

Coming by bike? No problem! Cycle parking will be available at Ashland Avenue and Lake Street. What’s more, the city’s Divvy bike-share is scheduled to offer valet service 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Third – Listen up

With a full lineup of bands across the park on all three days, fans will have to pick and choose who to see. It’s all subjective about who to see – and who to miss – but in general, according to the Chicago Reader,  this year’s lineup 2016 is the “sort of eclectic we’ve come to expect and appreciate. Even the surprises—the return of jazz artists to the lineup, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds—feel entirely in character.” Meanwhile, Sufjan Stevens headlines Saturday, a spot the Reader points out has been reserved for indie-rock starts in recent years, while R&B singer FKA Twigs takes over as Sunday’s headliner, following the footsteps of Chance the Rapper last year and Kendrick Lamar in 2014.

Need more of a guide? Check out The Chicago Tribune’s not-to-miss list.

Need more? Several after-shows are scheduled for music venues such as Constellation, Beat Kitchen and Subterranean and more.