Millvale Music Festival 2022. Photo by Scott Gacek.

We’ve had 80-degree days and nights with snow flurries — all in the same week. Welcome to the Pittsburgh spring. No matter the weather, the calendar says outdoor concert season is upon us. 

Oakland Indiefest

One of the first, Oakland Indiefest, happens from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, on Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park. Nine local bands are lined up, including Wild Blue Yonder, Quiet Hours, Sedona and more. 

The show is free, but donations are requested to support residents and community organizations affected by the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment in February.

Promoter Adam Klenovich, a 19-year-old freshman at Robert Morris University, grew up in Beaver County, not far from the train wreck site, “so this is very personal to me.” 

There’ll be food and beverages from Cool Beans and Cancilla’s Sicillian Kitchen & Pizzeria available for purchase.

Marichka and Mark Marczyk of Balaklava Blues will perform at Pittonkatonk. Photo courtesy of Balaklava Blues.


Pittonkatonk has been called the best festival of the year, an all-day rite of spring that features American brass bands, Latin cumbia, a variety of African performers, local acts and more.  

But its mission, to support social and environmental justice through music and interaction with activists, is at the heart of it all. 

This year, Pittonkatonk lands with a bang on Saturday, May 13, from 1 to 11 p.m., at Schenley Park’s Vietnam Veterans Pavilion. 

Organizer Pete Spynda describes Balaklava Blues, one of the festival’s headliners, as a “hybrid of Ukrainian folk and electronic that speak directly about the war with Russia.” It’s all free.

Millvale Music Festival

The following weekend, yinzer music rules at the Millvale Music Festival, kicking off at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 19, and going all day on May 20. 

They’ve got 28 stages. They’ve got food trucks. They’ve got free meals and T-shirts for volunteers. Most importantly, they’ve got 300 musical acts, as well as visual and spoken word artists. 

While there are too many to name, here’s a sample list of bands performing: Gene the Werewolf, Cameron Warren, Dumplings, CPx3, Caleb Kopta, Ms. Tenaj, God Hates Unicorns, Bad Custer, The Living Street, Sulwe Okoko. Check the festival’s Instagram and Facebook pages for a complete schedule.

City of Asylum marks Jazz Poetry Month

City of Asylum describes its annual celebration of jazz poetry as one of “experimentation, collaboration and connection between art forms and between artist and audience.” 

Over 18 years, it’s grown from a single concert to an entire month of concerts and events. This year, it all kicks off with Rhythm: Setting Poetry in Motion, a concert on Wednesday, May 3, featuring saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and poets Terrance Hayes, George Abraham and Cynthia Dewi Oka

Eight more concerts follow, ending on May 31 with Coda: The Future of Jazz Poetry, featuring the multigenerational Hip Hop Orchestra and City of Asylum’s local Youth Poet Laureates

All concerts are free to attend in person or to live stream, but reservations are requested. 

The members of Murder for Girls (L-R): Michele Dunlap, Jonathan Bagamary and Stephanie Wallace. Photo by Suhail Baloch.

Murder For Girls meets Motorbäbe

Motorbäbe is a three-piece all-female Motörhead tribute band out of southern California that will be playing Preserving Underground in New Kensington on Friday, May 12. 

And if that weren’t enough, Murder For Girls, Pittsburgh’s own “melodic riotous punk rock band,” is on the bill too. 

“This will be our first time opening for a touring tribute act,” says guitarist and singer Steph Wallace. “We are beyond psyched that it is with Motorbäbe bringing their refreshingly raw feminine energy to the legendary Motörhead’s classics.” 

Murder For Girls will also be at Bottlerocket’s sister space, Little Giant, on May 27. A few weeks before that, on May 6, Cisco Kid, featuring Addi Twigg from The Telephone Line, plays Working Breed’s album release party at Little Giant.

Government Center record release party

On Saturday, April 29, at 8 p.m., The Government Center is hosting a record release show for the Harry Von Zells, along with Creedmoors featuring Joe Tarowsky and Pink Gin Marimbas, Robert Rayshich’s latest project. 

Mike Shanley, the Von Zells’ bassist, has resurrected Igor Records, his local indie label that released albums in the 1990s. All three acts are Igor artists. 

Shanley calls the Von Zells’ new record, “Play It Backwards,” a “sort of a noisy indie pop album.” Creedmoors and Pink Gin Marimbas share a 7-inch single.  

Coming in June

Three Rivers Arts Festival’s 2023 music headliners include Galactic, Lizz Wright, Taj Mahal and more. 

Check out the lineup for the Allegheny County Summer Concert Series at Hartwood Acres and South Park.

WYEP’s free Summer Music Festival will be held on June 24 at Schenley Plaza in Oakland with performances beginning at 3 p.m. The headliner is Nashville soul artist and Pennsylvania native Devon Gilfillian. National acts, including Illiterate Light and Allison Ponthier, will join Pittsburgh artists The Ghost Club and Animal Scream.

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.