Photo by Erika Fleegle

The main stage at the junction of Foreland and Middle Streets was just one of the many venues open for the 125 music acts present at this year’s Deutschtown Music Festival on Saturday, July 11, 2015.

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by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle
by Erika Fleegle

By Erika Fleegle

They say the best things in life are free, and this year’s Deutschtown Music Festival was no exception.  Hundreds of music fans flocked to several Northside neighborhoods July 11 for a day full of free music, great food and good company.

The festival kicked off at 11 a.m. at the Park Stage in East Park, with attendees drifting in and setting up blankets and folding chairs on the grass.

Cody Walters, co-founder of the music festival, noted how the event has grown in three years.

“It’s grown like crazy,” he noted. “We started with 46 bands the first year, 97 the second year, and we’re up to 130 today.”

Thanks to a fundraiser this past April, bands that had previously played the festival voluntarily were able to be paid for their performances.

After the opening act at the Park Stage, Northside came alive with the movement of people and the sounds of music from all genres. Stages were set up at 24 locations in Historic Deutschtown, East Deutschtown, Spring Garden, Troy Hill, Allegheny Center and North Shore to accommodate the 125 bands on the day’s itinerary, many of which centered Historic Deutschtown’s  East Ohio Street. Smaller venues, like Arnold’s Tea and Bistro to Go, hosted local coffeehouse-type acts while larger acts were delegated to the main stage on the corner of Middle and Foreland Streets.

Gina DeAngelo, a volunteer stationed at Bistro to Go that afternoon, was pleased with the turnout of the event.

“I think it’s very important for the community,” she said. “We’re getting people to cross bridges that they wouldn’t have otherwise and see all the venues we have to offer here. It’s great for the area.”

Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse in Spring Garden was another popular spot as guests enjoyed their music with a side of handcrafted cocktails and snacks from the Burgh Bites Cart and the Second Breakfast waffle truck.

Hugh Twyman, creator of HughShows, a blog detailing Pittsburgh’s local music scene, hosted the stage at Wigle.

“I’m really happy about the way this is affecting the community,” he said.

It was also Twyman’s first time working with the Deutschtown Music Festival.

“I really hope this is the start of something forever,” he said.

The festivities were just as fun for the performers. Paul Luc, a Pittsburgh native, performed with his band that afternoon.

“I think it’s a great day to be a fan,” he said. “I get to see a lot of friends play, which is nice because we’re always booked in different places on the same day.”

The party didn’t end after the sun went down, the main stage, and its adjacent beer garden and lineup of vendors kept festival-goers energized as the night wore on, culminating in a fun, funky final performance from Cleveland, Ohio’s Tropidelic.

Several other venues hosted acts until 2 a.m., when the festival closed the books on yet another successful year.