The Three Rivers Arts Festival

Kick out the jams all season long with an abundance of free and ticketed Pittsburgh summer music festivals. From Arts Fest to Deutschtown to JazzLive and more, there’s something to please any musical palate.

Millvale Music Festival

May 12. Millvale (multiple venues). Free.

We’re always looking for an excuse to visit Millvale: There’s the new Tazza d’Oro, right next to Ton Pottery’s new home, not to mention Pamela’s P&G Diner, Attic Records, Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery, a couple top-notch craft breweries, and plenty of other reasons why Millvale is the place to be. Add Millvale Music Festival to the list: Now in its second year, this grassroots festival has expanded to 20 venues in and around the riverside borough, with performances from 150 local bands and artists, in honor of Millvale’s 150th anniversary. Don’t miss the kickoff event the evening of Friday, May 11 at the new Food Truck Park.

PHiLLTER International Music Festival

May 30 – June 3. Multiple Venues. Ticketed.

Live loopers, beatboxers, and other one-person acts will take over Pittsburgh for the second annual PHiLLTER festival. The event features artists and performers from 30 cities around the world, from as far away as Senegal. Different evenings have different themes: For example, check out BEATBOXTRONiX Saturday night at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls for world-class beatbox performances, including U.S. champion NaPoM. Find the whole lineup and series of events on the PHiLLTER Facebook page. Tickets are available for individual events or for the entire festival.

Dollar Bank Three River Arts Festival

June 1-10. Point State Park. Free.

Head to the confluence for the granddaddy of local music festivals and the unofficial kickoff to summer in Pittsburgh. This year’s TRAF, now in its 59th year, kicks off with a marquee performance June 1 from famed gospel singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. Other notable performances include Memphis blues and folk singer Valerie June; Tex-Mex favorites The Mavericks, and rock star conductor Steve Hackman leading the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh in a performance of “The Times They Are A-Changin’: Words and Music of Bob Dylan.” Check out the full schedule of performances at the TRAF website.  

Allegheny County Parks Summer Music Festival

South Park: Fridays, June 1 – August 31. Free.

Hartwood Acres: Sundays, June 3 – September 2. Free.

Twice a week for the length of summer, Allegheny County Parks presents free musical performances across a range of genres, from rock and country to jazz, oldies, big band, and even ballet. Some standouts include L.A. indie pop band Lucius with Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Brooke Annibale July 29; Pittsburgh favorites The Tamburitzans June 15; “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips July 15; and Pittsburgh country singer Paul Luc — one of Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists you Need to Know” — August 31, with Kayla Schureman. See the entire summer concert series lineup at the Allegheny County website. Food trucks, as well as craft beer from Lawrenceville’s Hop Farm Brewing Company, will be on hand for each performance.

Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival

June 15-17. Downtown Pittsburgh. Free and ticketed.

Head Downtown to the Cultural District for a free weekend of world-class performances, headlined Sunday night by “The New Queen of the Blues,” Shemekia Copeland, and two-time Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter. Other standouts include Snarky Puppy’s Cory Henry, three-time Grammy winner Terri Lyne Carrington and Dominican salsa singer Jose Alberto, aka El Canario. The event kicks off Friday with a ticketed performance at the August Wilson Center by Marcus Miller, followed by the food-and-drink-filled Taste of Jazz after-party. Find the full lineup here.

Ladyfest Pittsburgh

June 15-17. Multiple Venues. Ticketed.

Now in its fifth year, Ladyfest presents the finest national and local lady-fronted and lady-dominant bands/acts at multiple venues across the city. Night one kicks off at the new Shop location in Lawrenceville, followed by a 12-band lineup at Spirit on Saturday night featuring L.A.-based punk rock icon Alice Bag, along with Blak Rapp Madusa many others. There’s also a pair of bills Sunday at Hambone’s and Babyland. DIY and volunteer-run, proceeds for this year’s event benefit the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and Girls Rock! Pittsburgh. Get the full lineup and ticketing information at the Ladyfest facebook page. The entire event is all ages.

WYEP’s Made in PA Summer Concert Series

June 30; July 27; August 31. Schenley Plaza. Free.

WYEP’s annual Summer Music Festival returns to Schenley Plaza June 30 with Nashville indie-folk act Langhorne Slim and the Lost at Last Band, and support from Philadelphia retro rockers Low Cut Connie and local soul singer Lyndsey Smith. Three local youth bands will perform at the WYEP Reimagination Showcase, and the I Made It! Market will be on hand for family-friendly arts and crafts. Later in the summer, stop back in Oakland in July for performances from indie pop band Donora and Chet Vincent’s new outfit, Biirdwatcher; and again in August for a bill with Dave Hause and the Mermaid along with pop-punk mainstays Punchline.

Deutschtown Music Festival

July 13-14. Deutschtown (multiple venues). Free.

Now that Lawrenceville’s DIY Rock All Night Tour is on indefinite hiatus, Deutschtown Music Festival gets the title of Pittsburgh’s longest-running grassroots, neighborhood-spanning, weekend-long rockapalooza. Now in its sixth year, 2018’s Deutschtown features a staggering 300 bands across 11 outdoor stages and another 26 indoor. There are family-friendly activities during the day, a beer garden, artists’ market and some 20 food trucks, plus a free shuttle to drop off revelers at stops across the Northside. Get more information on the DMF Facebook page, and snag an early look at some of the bands during “Deutschtown goes Downtown,” June 2 and 9 from 5-10 p.m. in Market Square, a part of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Night Market.

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.