Curtis and the Shakerz play at the 2022 Corbriwoodstock. This year’s event is over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 and 3. Photo courtesy of John Vento.

It has been a wonderful summer for live music outdoors.

I was able to see Jim Donovan & Sun King Warriors twice (in Wheeling and at Big Rail Brewing, where I also saw Clinton Clegg), North Side Music festival bands, and the Low Kings at Teutonia Männerchor, of all places. 

Big kudos to the Allegheny County Summer Concert Series organizers for a great season (and it’s not quite over yet): Joe Grushecky opening an amazing Marty Stuart show at Hartwood. Jon Bindley and the Honky-Tonk Jukebox band headlining at South Park. And that’s just the locals.

Touring bands included Fitz and the Tantrums, throwing an unforgettable Hartwood party; Rising Appalachia on a beautiful June evening at the Three Rivers Arts Festival; and road trips to see Los Lobos in Morgantown and at Flood City Music Festival in Johnstown (with the added bonus of seeing Chalk Dinosaur too!). Little or no rain at any of them — how’s that for luck?

But there’s more to come. There are plenty of outdoor shows in September — but the days are getting shorter, so get out while you can.

Punchline, along with Caleb Kopta, close out South Park’s county concert series on Sept. 1. Photo courtesy of Krista Elaine.

Corbiwoodstick, Kickoff and Rib Fest and more: Sept. 1-4

On Friday, Sept. 1, South Park closes out its season with local players Caleb Kopta and Punchline. 

The Parking Pad, which has brought some good shows to Dormont, has booked The Shameless Hex and Landline Bluegrass for the borough’s Art in the Park festival on Saturday, Sept. 2. 

Corbriwoodstock, named for the street it’s on (Corbriwood Lane in Gibsonia — also known as John Vento’s farm), is an annual “celebration of family, friendship, peace and music.” The two-day event, on Sept. 2 and 3, will feature an acoustic set on Saturday with Joe Grushecky and Cherylann Hawk playing with Vento, Bob Zigerelli and Kevin McCarthy.  Sunday is electrified, with Jimmy Mac and the Attack, Aris Paul Band and lots more. 

Billy Price headlines the Kickoff and Rib Festival at Acrisure Stadium on Labor Day, Sept. 3. Photo courtesy of David Aschkenas.

Sunday, Sept. 3, the Allegheny County Music Festival is back for its 23rd year as the season finale for the Hartwood Acres concert lineup. It’s a trip back to the Reagan era with The Re-52s (B-52s tribute band), local ‘80s legends The Affordable Floors, and Men Without Hats headlining. (What was their one big hit? No Googling. Answer at the end of the column.) A $20 donation per vehicle is requested, which benefits the county’s music festival fund.

The annual Kickoff and Rib Festival, Aug. 31-Sept 4, at Acrisure Stadium, features The Clarks on Friday evening. Sunday it’s The Commonheart, and Monday afternoon there’s a blues lineup with Jimmy Adler, Dan Bubien & the Delta Struts, and Billy Price.

Pittsburgh Irish Festival: Sept. 8-10

The following weekend is almost as busy: the Pittsburgh Irish Festival kicks off at the Carrie Blast Furnaces on Friday, Sept. 8, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 10. Featured performers include local favorites Bealtaine, Weekend at Blarney’s, the Low Kings, and the Bastard Bearded Irishmen. Headliners this year are the Screaming Orphans and Gaelic Storm. Good craic guaranteed.

Spirit’s Summer Recess Festival on Sept. 9 features local rapper lys scott, Photo courtesy of lys scott.

Summer Recess Festival: Sept. 9

That same weekend, Spirit holds its annual Summer Recess Festival on Sept. 9. It’s outdoors starting at 2 p.m., with local acts including rapper lys scott, Stone Throwers and Tory Silver. After dark, there’ll be bands including Century III and Odno Okno in the downstairs lodge, and DJs including Arie Cole and Formosa upstairs in the hall. Ticket prices vary.

Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival: Sept. 14-17

September is also Jazz Fest time. The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday, Sept. 14, with the Uhuru Jazz Session, featuring Nigel Hall and Madison McFerrin, at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. 

Friday’s concert by Ledisi is sold out, but there are still tickets for that evening’s Taste of Jazz party, featuring Kevin Howard and DJ Selecta. 

Saturday and Sunday, the festival moves outside to Highmark Stadium. Local jazz pianist Howie Alexander opens a daylong concert headlined by multi-Grammy Award producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on Saturday. On Sunday, Pittsburgh native Chelsea Baratz starts the show; Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter close it out. 

Tickets, and a long list of other performers, can be found here.

Arbor Aid: Sept. 16

Tree Pittsburgh hosts its annual Arbor Aid fundraiser on Sept. 16, and of course, it’s outside, at the nonprofit’s campus along the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville. Mani Bahia & the Mob, along with Chet Vincent, will provide the music. Not to bury the lede, but the event includes a COOKIE TABLE. Ticket prices vary.

Turtle Park is among the bands playing at Jambridge, Ambridge’s community music and arts festival, on Sept. 23. Photo courtesy of Turtle Park.

Jambridge: Sept. 23

Then on Saturday, Sept. 23, Ambridge rocks with Jambridge, the borough’s second annual community music and arts festival. The show begins at 10 a.m. with Paging Doctor Moon, and goes continuously until 10 p.m. — when one set is done, the next performers start up on the second stage. So many acts, including Turtle Park, the Norside Organ Trio featuring Steeltown Horns, Bobby Thompson and the Groove, NASH.V.ILL, Noa Jordan, Good Brother Earl, the Low Kings, Punchline, and a couple of California bands, The Wide Eyed Kids and Veni Sun.


The trivia answer: The Men Without Hats hit was “Safety Dance,” which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 1983. Coincidentally, it was also the name of my pandemic playlist in 2020.

Annette Bassett is a freelance writer and grant writer living in Bloomfield. She likes visiting local breweries, going to concerts and walking the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh while listening to audiobooks. She prefers wired earbuds.