The crowd at 2018's Thrival music festival. Image courtesy of Thrival.

The seventh annual Thrival Festival will happen in and around the Pittsburgh Innovation District in Oakland this fall beginning on Sept. 18. A two-day Innovation Summit in the Carnegie Museums complex will be followed by a free community music festival at Schenley Plaza.

The theme for 2019: By Pittsburgh. For Pittsburgh. For the World.

The festival, which explores the impact of technology on business, society, music and culture, will focus this year on “celebrating and supporting Pittsburgh innovators and entrepreneurs,” the organizers said in an announcement. It will feature “Pittsburgh innovators in business, research and the arts.”

Art and artists at last year’s Thrival. Photo courtesy of Thrival.
Art and artists at last year’s Thrival. Photo courtesy of Thrival.

“We are taking Thrival back to its roots — showcasing the ideas and talent that put the Pittsburgh region at the center of innovation, entrepreneurship and creative energy,” said Barrie Athol, CEO of Ascender, which produces the festival. “It’s a platform where all Pittsburgh stakeholders — corporations, startups, universities, community groups, government — can come together to establish Pittsburgh as a place of choice for startups, talent, companies, institutions and investors.”

Music producer Buku, a Pittsburgh native, will headline the music festival portion. Additional performers will include local acts Beauty Slap and the TITLE TOWN Soul & Funk Dance Party.

Thrival is again partnering with MAYA Design to help develop and design the Innovation Summit, and is collaborating with Attack Theatre to showcase installations, performances and immersive experiences.

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will host the free outdoor music event in conjunction with Wicked Pittsburgh, Hear Corp and The Porch.

“Wicked Pittsburgh is thrilled to kick off our third year of partnership with Thrival Festival,” said Michael Schwarz, founder and CEO of Wicked Pittsburgh. “With larger-than-ever installation plans — we look forward to empowering over 50-plus local artists, actualizing fair wages and bringing Pittsburgh together to celebrate our incredibly talented and diverse creative community.”

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The Associated Press. Find a selection of her work at