Backstage Bash celebrates WYEP’s 40th anniversary

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Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel & The Byham Theater

November 6

5 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Maybe you remember its earliest days broadcasting from studios located in the basement of 4 Cable Place in South Oakland, or perhaps you tune in for your daily dose of Rosemary Welsch’s Afternoon Mix. On and off the air, 91.3 WYEP has been a central part of Pittsburgh’s cultural fabric for 40 years and counting, and now it’s time to celebrate the next four rocking decades.

Ready to go backstage? Marking the culmination of its year-long 40th anniversary festivities, WYEP’s Backstage Bash invites friends and fans of the radio station to a special celebratory fundraiser on Thursday, November 6th at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. Tickets to the Backstage Bash benefit are $100, and for for an additional $50, guests can add on a ticket to see Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue perform later that night. Co-presented by WYEP and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the renowned Nola bandleader and frontman will take the stage at the nearby Byham Theater at 8 p.m., following Backstage Bash at the downtown hotel. Opening for the Grammy-nominated funk, rock, jazz and hip-hop ensemble will be local band Jimbo and the Soupbones.

“We are honoring the past, present and future of Pittsburgh music, ” says Abby Goldstein, who has served as the station’s general manager since November of 2012. “When we set out to spend this year celebrating our 40th anniversary, we wanted to tell the story of WYEP’s life as a local cultural institution, and that takes time. We’ve done of number of things programmatically, such as short on-air features and creating an oral history of the station. From an event standpoint, we wanted to create different opportunities for people to meet and mingle, and to appeal to a broad cross-section of people who want to celebrate with us. We have some people who have been on staff and involved with the station for almost all of its 40 years. We are so fortunate to have our history still at our fingertips. It’s been so cool.”

Party-goers will be treated to exclusive acoustic performances by a lineup of Pittsburgh musicians who represent the past, present and future of WYEP. Featured performers include Scott Blasey of The Clarks, Bill Deasy of The Gathering Field, local folk duo The Wreckids and teen singer Jessica Bitsura.

Backstagers will also mix and mingle with and WYEP on-air hosts Cindy Howes, Kyle Smith and Joey Spehar, along with Afternoon Mix host Rosemary Welsch, who will serve as emcee for the special evening.

Guests will savor local fare, including roast beef, stuffed mushrooms, mini crab cakes and basil marinated watermelon at carving stations throughout the event, along with wine and craft beers and the station’s signature WYEP 40th anniversary cake. Wash it all down with tasty craft beer selections, as well as WYEP’s new 40th anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, created in partnership with the Pittsburgh Winery.

Fans of music memorabilia and local music history won’t want to miss the chance to vie for unique items and happenings during the event’s one-of-a-kind silent auction.

Bid on the chance to be a guest DJ alongside Rosemary Welsch or host a house concert at your home with members of The Clarks or Rusted Root. Additional auction prizes include a Fender Stratocaster guitar, a private party with Joe Grushecky, autographed posters and CD collections, and rare music memorabilia. “You will not find stuff at this silent auction that you can find at any other auction table in town. This is the silent auction of the century,” says Goldstein.

With the help of  Mike Sauter, the station’s director of content & programming, Goldstein adds, WYEP has even unearthed 100-plus hours of audio from its storied past, which will be archived and available for listening online in the future.  On the air since 1974, 91.3 WYEP is housed in a LEED Silver Certified Community Broadcast Center located on Pittsburgh’s historic South Side.

Read the station’s interviews with the Backstage Bash performers to hear about their firsthand and favorite experiences with WYEP.

All proceeds from the Backstage Bash will benefit WYEP. Purchase tickets.