Three Rivers Arts Festival


July 15 – 17, East End (multiple venues). $8-$10 (one venue) – $25 (weekend pass).

Ladyfest, now in its fourth year, showcases a genre-spanning 40 local female-centered bands and solo artists alongside a handful of national acts over 3 days at 5 East End venues, including Howler’s, Hambones, Spirit, Roboto and The Shop. Some notable performers: 1hood’s Blak Rapp Madusa, The Lopez, Dream Phone, Dumplings, Chattel Tail, Brazilian Wax, and NEXT’s own Jennifer Baron and The Garment District. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Details at the Ladyfest Facebook page.

Feed More Festival

July 17, Stage AE. $40 adv/ $50 d.o.s.

Formerly Blues Fest, the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s signature annual fundraiser is rebranding this year, and moving to Stage AE.  This year’s lineup features as headliners California indie rock band, Cold War Kids. Also on the bill: Brooklyn folk-rockers, The Lone Bellow, and The Stone Foxes. Pittsburgh bands The Commonheart and The Mixus Brothers will also perform.


August 6, McKees Rocks Municipal Lot. Free.

Now in its fourth year, McKees Rocks’ Feastival continues to grow in both size and funkiness. Forgoing local acts, this year’s headliners include a pair of Brooklyn-based funk bands, Turkuaz and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, as well as another funk band, Dumpstaphunk, from New Orleans. Over a dozen food trucks are committed to the event, with plenty more to come. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available on the Feastival Facebook page.

Rock All Night Tour (RANT)

August 12-14, Lawrenceville (multiple venues). Free.

Before there was Deutschtown and before the Strip District Music Festival there was RANT. “It’s this unusual hybrid of the Cookie Tour, a family-friendly event and SXSW with no cover charges,” said Michael Devine, RANT co-organizer, in an interview with NEXTpittsburgh last year. “It’s a true showcase of what this city has to offer in the world of live music,” adds co-organizer Mary Jo Coll. “It’s not [WDVE]-friendly; it’s not just [WYEP]-friendly. Everything from singer-songwriters and bluegrass, to metal and hip-hop are invited in.” This year, RANT expands to three nights, Friday-Sunday. The final lineup announcement has not yet been made, but over 200 bands have submitted to play. Check out the RANT Facebook page for updates.

Thrival Innovation + Music Festival

September 23-24, Carrie Furnaces. $59 (two-day pass).

Thrival has grown in leaps and bounds since 2013, when RJD2 and Frightened Rabbit headlined at a East Liberty construction site. Now at the awe-inspiring Carrie Furnaces, this year’s headliners embody the future-tech aesthetic Thrival has been striving for since year one. There’s one of hottest EDM groups on the planet, The Chainsmokers, along with electro-pop acts Chvrches and Metric. Other notables: Taylor Gang’s Ty Dolla $ign, and DC world music DJs Thievery Corporation, in their first ever Pittsburgh appearance. Hats off to Grey Area Productions for their work in helping book this year’s festival. And we can’t wait to see what LUXE Creative has in store for event site. Get the full festival lineup, as well as learn about the innovation events leading up to the event, at the Thrival website. Or you can just watch this video with pancakes in it:

VIA Festival

October 4-9, East Liberty. $TBD

Few details have been released about this year’s VIA, but festival co-organizer Lauren Goshinski tells NEXT that the cutting-edge music/art/tech festival will return to East Liberty in 2016. “We did the festival there in 2011, 2012, 2013 and had our space 6119 there for a year, so it’s an opportunity close to heart and we are excited to be back,” she says. Also, VIA will be partnering with CMU’s ART && CODE Symposium, with a focus on virtual & augmented reality. Keep an eye on the VIA website in the coming months for more details as they are made available. Headliners in recent years have included Blue Hawaii, MC Lyte, Lower Dens, Cakes Da Killa, and Big Freedia.

Also consider:

  • Free performances by  The Turpentiners, The Allegheny Rhythm Rangers, The Strange Monsters, LEFTFIELD and The Turbosonics at Pizzafest in Lawrenceville, May 14
  • Kesha headlines Pride in the Streets, June 11.
  • Musical acts at this year’s Picklesburgh, July 17-18, Downtown, will be announced soon.
  • Reservoir of Jazz brings free jazz to Highland Park Sunday evenings, August 7-September 4

Brian Conway

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.