Ever-growing Pygmalion adds 24-hour hackathon for 13th year

Ever-growing Pygmalion adds 24-hour hackathon for 13th year

CHAMPAIGN — Now in its 13th year, the Pygmalion Festival this weekend will bring in many top indie-music acts.

But, as you might know, Pyg is more than a music festival.

Celebrating the university town in which it started, Pygmalion features other components — food, technology, literature and things handmade — plus a 24-hour hackathon, new this year.

Time Out magazine took note of Pyg this year, including it in its list of the best fall music festivals in the United States.

"You'll have to journey out of Chicago to the college towns of Champaign-Urbana to attend this festival, but it's worththe trip," Zach Long wrote.

"Taking place at venues throughout the campus of the University of Illinois, Pygmalion features sets from acts like Animal Collective, Noname and Thundercat, along with literature, tech and food programming. You can enjoy some delicious barbecue, attend a lecture from George Saunders and then catch a set from Badbadnotgood — time to head back to school."

Pyg organizers, among them Seth Fein, tout other aspects of the four-day event, which started Wednesday evening with a PechaKucha presentation at 51 Main.

The bands that are headlining, for lack of a better word, are Animal Collective, Badbadnotgood and Big Thief on Friday evening at the Main Stage near Market and Main.

Here's a little bit on each of those bands, plus GoGo Penguin, who also play Friday evening:

— Animal Collective, an experimental pop band that formed 14 years ago in Baltimore, Md., features vocal harmonies and touches on other genres such as freak folk, noise rock, ambient drone and psychedelia. Uncut magazine considered the band's most commercially successful album, "Merriweather Post Pavilion," "one of the landmark American albums of the century so far."

— Badbadnotgood from Toronto is known for its interpretations of hip-hop tracks and collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown and Ghostface Killah.

— Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., the indie-rock band Big Thief, after releasing its debut album "Masterpiece," toured the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe twice. Andrew Sarlo, who produced "Masterpiece," also produced the band's second album, "Capacity."

— GoGo Penguin was named by The New York Times as one of the 12 Notable Acts at SXSW 2017. The trio hails from Manchester, England, and is known for its mash-up of minimalist piano themes, propulsive bass lines and electronica-inspired drums.

Here's info on the other Pyg components:

— The big name at the Lit Fest is author George Saunders, who speaks at 6:30 tonight at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. He's written in all forms and has won a slew of awards, among them the National Magazine Award for fiction four times. His current novel, "Lincoln in the Bardo," is short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

Also: Javaka Steptoe, who won the 2017 Caldecott Medal for his picture book biography "Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat," speaks from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Champaign Public Library.

— The Made Festival, with a variety of vendors selling handmade and vintage wares, will be from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday outside 51 Main. Admission is free.

— The Tech component will tie into the "Share the Vision" conference all day Thursday at Krannert Center, where people may preview emerging technologies from the UI that focus on engineering and medicine. Astronomy on Tap will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Memphis on Main. The PygHack will be Saturday and Sunday at the UI Research Park.

— The food component will be from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at 51 E. Main St.

If you go

What: The 13th annual Pygmalion Festival, featuring indie music, technology, literature and food components; the Made Fest, with handmade and vintage wares; and a 24-hour hackathon.

When: Through Sunday.

Where: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Canopy Club, 51 Main, Memphis on Main, and the intersection of Main and Market streets in downtown Champaign.

Admission: Some events are ticketed and some are free.

Information: thepygmalionfestival.com.

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