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The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival

Lil B in the protective arms of his fans at Union Park in Chicago.
Lil B in the protective arms of his fans at Union Park in Chicago.
Photo by Erik Hess

The cult of Lil B is often more engrossing to behold than the man himself. During the final day of the 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, the Bay Area rapper drew out thousands of impassioned followers who were ready to protect Lil B at all costs.

The set featured feverish dancing across the stage by the creator of the BasedWorld, and the upbeat music showered on the crowd was eclipsed by an overwhelming swell of positivity in his words. For each time that the word "love" was uttered, it was expressed a thousand more times by the enraptured audience. Photographer Erik Hess and Gimme Noise were in the middle of it all, and here's what we saw and felt.

See Also:
Slideshow: Pitchfork Music Festival 2013: The music
Slideshow: Pitchfork Music Festival: Smiles and Scenes
Lil B at Cabooze, 9/28/12

The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
Photos by Erik Hess

Pink bandannas were in abundance throughout the crowd, and the Task Force matched B's stylistic flair with lots of colorful patterns on their shirts. When there was an opportunity to chant along to his signature expressions -- "You can fuck my bitch," for example -- it was taken. Even Toro Y Moi, who performed after him on the stage across the park had to say "Thank you, Based God."

The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
Photos by Erik Hess

The high-energy set kept B in motion, and eventually it had to come to an end. After an impassioned speech about how he's not perfect, he ordered the crowd if they wanted him to wrap up early to chant "Lil B, leave," but it only began the eventual chants of "Lil B, stay!" Then, he took off his shirt and got into the pit to embrace his fans.

 

The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival

 

The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
The passion of Lil B fans at Pitchfork Music Festival
Photos by Erik Hess

The photos above show Lil B donning one of several pink headbands that were placed on his head as he walked along the front of the crowd. At each stopping point, he'd lean into the mass of bodies to hug and kiss his admirers, and the throng tightened and intensified as the moment stretched into about ten minutes of full-bodied adoration.

Where once there was Beatlemania, the internet-fueled Basedmania has arrived. As Lil B finally left the visible area, fans sprinted to the fence near the stage -- a few even scaled over it to chase after him -- and called for him to come back. He hugged a production fella backstage, but never reemerged. Still, the faces of these BasedWorld inhabitants were dripping with elation, and they waited for nearly 20 minutes before finally moving on. But even if their bodies shifted, their hearts stayed in that place.


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