Alex Raphael, photo courtesy Society for Contemporary Craft.
Alex Raphael, photo courtesy Society for Contemporary Craft.

Sapphire Celebration: June 17

Help the Society for Contemporary Craft celebrate their Sapphire (45th) Anniversary with a a free event and a special exhibition of jewelry by Alex Raphael, Pittsburgh native and daughter of SCC founder, Elizabeth Rockwell Raphael. Largely self-taught, Raphael specializes in enameling, especially plique-à-jour (backless enamel) and cloisonné jewelry, and her works in are in the permanent collections of museums around the world. The artist will be on hand for a public talk as well as to display and sell new, blue enamel work.

Courtesy the Mattress Factory
Courtesy the Mattress Factory

Urban Garden Party at the Mattress Factory: June 17

At this year’s Mattress Factory Urban Garden Party, the theme is “LIGHT UP THE NIGHT” and dancers, DJs, artists and illuminators will be on hand to dazzle and delight. More than three dozen local breweries, restaurants, and caterers will provide delicious fare to keep patrons satiated. The event also marks the permanent installation of “Acupuncture,” a work by German artist Hans Peter Kuhn nearly 10 years in the making, on the roof of the museum. Stick around later for an after-party at nearby Penn Brewery. VIP ticket holders get all sorts of additional perks, including entry 90 minutes early. Fancy dress isn’t mandatory, but people always dress for this one.

Next Three Days
Next Three Days

Next 3 Days Kickoff Party and weekend on the Hilltop: June 17 — 19

There’s more than just grand views in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop neighborhoods. Dive into the cool, emerging neighborhoods of Allentown and Mt. Washington at the Kickoff Party for Next 3 Days, at Industry on Industry on Friday, June 17th. Featuring live music from Beauty Slap, Gone South and more such as R.A.D., DJ Climax, Kanti Kasa, and Lyn Woods & Joe the Mailman. Try your hand at block printing with help from PopCraft, and enjoy local cuisine plus beer and cocktails from neighborhood eateries, including Kavsar, Pittsburgh’s only Uzbek restaurant. On Saturday don’t miss the big street party at Grandview Park featuring Phat Mandee, Amoeba Knievel, Palermo Stone, Bill NielsMachete Kisumontao and Christiane Dolores. On Sunday, it’s yoga in the park — not to be missed! N3D is brought to you by The Mayor’s Office, the URA, and NEXTpittsburgh. It’s one cool way to get better acquainted with your city. Buy tickets.

Gotobeds Album Release Show at Brillobox: June 18

While the city’s folk and indie rock bands get most of the attention locally, it’s been the punk and hardcore scene who have been breaking out nationally. Exhibit A: The Gotobeds, who in just a few years have made the jump from Pittsburgh’s Mind Cure label and Austin’s 12XU to those mighty purveyors of grunge and guitar, Seattle’s Sub Pop Records. Their new album, Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic, is their second overall and first on Sub Pop. Check out the new singles if you haven’t yet. They’re boisterous, loud, and a little unhinged. Same goes for the songs. The Sicks and Savoy Motel open. Tickets at the door or online.

Spirit Summer Recess: June 18

Celebrate the best of what Pittsburgh has to offer at the inaugural Spirit Summer Recess. Twenty bands will be on hand at Spirit’s community garden for a free, daylong outdoor festival, joined by some of the city’s top food slingers, including The Vandal, Pizza Boat, and Butcher on Butler. The musical lineup is still being fleshed out, but three excellent local bands are already confirmed: Shaky Shrines, The Harlan Twins, and Dazzletine. There will be a skate ramp and all sorts of other shenanigans to take part in all day long. After 9, pay $5 and follow the party inside for another 5 hours of cocktails, jams, and Slice Island pizza.

Pittsburgh JazzLive International: June 24 26

So long as there are festivals like JazzLive, Pittsburgh will remain a top-tier jazz destination. Night one of JazzLive kicks off with Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution and a Prince dance party. Pittsburgh’s Jeff “Tain” Watts and Chick Corea headline night two, along with a ticketed performance at the AWC by Buika, one of NPR’s 50 greatest vocalists of all time. The weekend wraps up with a headlining performance from the Eddie Palmieri Big Salsa Orchestra.

WYEP Summer Music Festival: June 25

This is Summer Music Festival‘s ninth year at Schenley Plaza. The day begins at 3 p.m., with an all-ages Reimagination Showcase including children’s activities, the I Made It Market, and performances from the Hope Academy Teen Theater Company and Funky Fly Project. National acts take the stage at 6 p.m., beginning with Margaret Glaspy, whose debut album comes out on ATO Records (home to Alabama Shakes and Benjamin Booker) a week before the show. Folksy Aussie five-piece Boy & Bear is up next, followed by Brooklyn indie art-pop band Lucius, on tour in support of their new album, Good Grief, released on Mom + Pop Records.

Vine Rewind: a Penn Avenue Picnic: June 26

Over 10 straight hours of local music at the inaugural Vine Rewind. This free event takes place the morning of Open Streets Pittsburgh, and the stretch of Penn Ave. outside of the Pittsburgh Winery will remain closed to vehicles for the rest of the day for this daylong festival. Start the day with some yoga set to the acoustic sounds of Donora’s Casey Hanner. The Commonheart headlines with a 7:30 performance. Other performers include Paul Luc, Wreck Loose, Jimbo and the Soupbones, and a Buzz Poets reunion show. More than a dozen artists and vendors will be on hand, as well as food and libations from Blowfish BBQ, Franktuary, several local breweries, and of course the Winery itself.

Screaming Females, w/ The Lopez and Roulette Waves at Cattivo: June 27

New Jersey indie punk/Riot Grrrl trio Screaming Females played Pittsburgh twice last year, both times with Pittsburgh noise-rock duo, The Lopez. The two are joined again this time by local grunge/alt-rockers, Roulette Waves, who were on the bill for the bands’ November gig at the Smiling Moose. It’s not often you see the exact same lineup twice, let alone just 6 months later, but hey, if it worked the first time… This is a rousing Monday triple-bill with two of Pittsburgh’s noisiest bands, sure to drown out the dread of four more workdays ahead. Tickets online or at the door.

Dolly Parton at Consol Energy Center: June 28

An American original. The fourth of twelve siblings, Dolly grew up in a one-room cabin in rural North Carolina, sang in church as a child, then moved to Nashville the day after high school graduation to begin her illustrious singing career. Now at 70, and after decades of chart-topping hits, legions of fans, and her own giant amusement park, Dolly show no signs of slowing down. She visits Pittsburgh in support of her 43rd studio album, Pure and Simple. Buy tickets.

Looking for family activities? Read our Top 10 Things for families to do in June in Pittsburgh feature.

Jennifer Baron, arts + events editor at NEXTpittsburgh, contributed to this article.

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.