Event & Festival Guide

Entertainment Lives in the Steel City - D.N. Rowe

Look no further than Pittsburgh’s busy streets and unique culture for entertainment in these almost uncertain times. The much needed distraction from the reality we face everyday can be found everywhere this year in many of Pittsburgh’s historical districts. These events provide much needed opportunity for not only musicians, but vendors and smaller business all across the Pittsburgh region, as well as help preserve the rich and vast history that is the music culture of the The Steel City. Further into this read, you will find the various event listings as an overview for the everyday anyone to be able to experience and enjoy the many events set thus far for the 2021 calendar year.

MCG Jazz is set to play every single month in a socially distance friendly concert series from the MCG Jazz stage. MCG also hosts a 60 minute radio show every Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the Pittsburgh Jazz Channel WZUM, 101.1 FM or you can stream the show online at wzum.org. Beginning in March is the Rock for Life concert series which provides financial support to needy individuals residing in Western PA and those suffering from life threatening diseases. The series is held bi-monthly starting in March and going until August, then picking up again in October and finishing up with a special Christmas Rock for Life. Rock Done Right tour sponsored by The Rock Station 97.7 also rolls through the area in March. In April, is the ever important SOS PGH Concert Series, the patrons marching for the Covid-19 relief fund designed to aide our ever suffering local and beyond music stages. As it is still uncertain as to exactly when the funding will be dispersed, you can donate at www.sos2020pgh.org

May has even more events scheduled, one of which is the Picksburgh Bluegrass Festival that aims to reinvent itself while holding true to many of the genre’s traditions. The Westmoreland County Summer Concert series provides free shows scheduled at Cedar Creek and Twin Lakes Parks throughout the summer and feature various local musicians and groups. June hosts the Three Rivers Arts Festival, consisting of 10 entire days of free music, theater, dance, public art installations, gallery exhibitions, a visual artist market, creative activities, food, and more. Honoring the accomplishments and influences of black musicians, Pittsburgh Black Music & Culture fest provides free outdoors music, food vendors, and family friendly atmosphere in Point State Park.

July rolls on with the Allegheny County Summer Concert Series every Sunday for 10 episodes on the CW and concludes in September. Then we have the Deutschtown Music Festival, the award winning 3 day festival features over 400 bands across seven outdoor stages and 26 indoor venues as a non- profit, all-volunteer event is a program of the Northside Leadership Conference. Continuing on is the Four Chord Music Festival sponsored by 105.9 The X, and Drusky Entertainment. Keeping with the heat of July is the Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival, a community-based nonprofit that raises money for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Band Together Pittsburgh.

August has a notable amount of events that will be packing the month with sure-fire entertainment. The Allegheny Concert Series, MCG Jazz, Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival, Rock Done Right, Rock for Life, and the Westmoreland County Summer Concert Series all make return appearances, as well as Corbriwoodstock, which is an annual music festival held in the woods of West Deer. Also in August, Excuseapalooza is held at Excuses Bar & Grill in South Side Flats and benefits the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. The Millvale Music Festival is a day-long event that supports and showcases local music acts of many genres while showcasing the fun and unique Millvale venues. Over 200 bands at more than 24 stages are anticipated to be part of the event. Rock, Reggae & Relief will be happening on Forbes Avenue and will host Grammy winning and Billboard top-charting artists Jason Mraz, The Wailers, UpRooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root, and Roots of Creation. Proceeds to benefit hospitality workers and food insecurity initiatives through The Piatt Family Foundation. Bringing August to a close will be the weekend long celebration that is The Band Jam Grass Roots Music Festival. This showcase displays talented acts for music lovers of all genres to enjoy and is held at Cooper’s Lake Campground.

September is hosting The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, a 10 year vision in the making that brings people from all over the world to Pittsburgh for jazz and community. The Pittsburgh Irish Festival celebrates it’s 30th year of cherishing Irish heritage, food, dancing, language and of course; music. Alongside several continuing festivals from previous months is the Thrival Innovation and Music Festival, a dynamic and inclusive platform for forward-thinking ideas and showcasing groundbreaking musical talent supporting a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative energy in the Pittsburgh region.

October slows down with the Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival, set to take place on Liberty Avenue as well as the second to last Rock for Life event; Rocktoberfest. Women Who Rock round out the October events that feature all female fronted music lineups featuring the best local and national women in music. Proceeds benefit understudied women’s health research at Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation, the nation’s largest research institute dedicated to women’s health and reproductive biology.The year comes to a close as November and December host the last MCG Jazz concerts of the year, and ending the 2021 calendar year with the final installment of the Rock for Life, with their Christmas edition of the series.

It’s easily agreeable that the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated not only many lives, but businesses and organizations all around the world. The Steel City is resilient and continues to display its never ending support to the arts, culture and music that has helped shaped the area for generations. These events give hope that even in the darkest of times, we can still take the time to preserve and cherish the things that make us unique, passionate, and creative. Get out and experience not only these events, but any local entertainment events that are happening and give support to those who bring us the opportunity to forget the crazy times in which we live, and enjoy the gift of music

This list was last updated in June of 2021. Due to the current pandemic, you should check each event/festival for their current plans.
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