Solar Concert Series returns to the Northside


Above: Large solar panels capture the sun’s rays and power SLB’s Solar Concert Series each summer at the Children’s Museum. (Photo Courtesy SLB)

For the fifth year in a row The Saturday Night Light Brigade will bring music to the Northside straight from the Sun with its Solar Concert Series.

Using solar panels to power live musicians’ equipment for lunchtime performances made SLB’s Solar Concert Series the first green and ecofriendly concert series in Pittsburgh in 2007.

Five years later, the series will move several hundred yards south to the newly dedicated Buhl Community Park at Allegheny Square in front of the Children’s Museum.

"Each year, you can kind of see how it’s gaining momentum," said Liz Adams, director of programming at SLB. "The new park is such a great context in which to set it. I think were’g toing to see a big leap this year because of that."

SLB is a radio program based out of the Children’s Museum that looks to “present innovative and engaging audio-based programming for children, youth and families, provide inter-generational audiences with the chance to take part in live music events and bring the diverse voices of local and regional acoustic musicians to its broad audience of radio show listeners.”

Yesterday was the first concert of this summer’s series and featured a performance by singer-songwriter Joy Ike.

“We kicked it off with a bang yesterday,” said Adams. “It was really great.”

Admission to SLB’s Solar Concerts is free, and concerts take place between 12:15 and 1 p.m. throughout July and August.

Before each concert, the audience is invited to check out the solar powered sound system before each show, which is built by Dave Bjornson, the Technical Director of the New Hazlett Theater.

Check out the SLB’s schedule of great local performers below and read more at


2012 Solar Concert Series

July 18: Musuhallpa: Music of the Andes
Experience Peru with this electrifying Peruvian folk ensemble that features native wind, string and percussion instruments.

July 25: Big Snow Big Thaw

Big Snow Big Thaw has been dubbed two-thirds Pennsylvania bred and one-third Kentucky fed. They’ll be bringing their own brand of rootsy and Americana originals composed for the banjo, guitar and percussion—coupled with lively and beautiful vocal harmonies—to this summer’s diverse lineup.

August 1: EMay
Solar Concert-goers may know EMay from her from her dazzling performances with the local fire arts performance group, Steel Town Fire, which she helped to co-found.  Now discover EMay’s powerhouse vocals and bluesy, soulful, acoustic folk style, which together illustrate why she has been dubbed “the renaissance queen of Pittsburgh.”

August 8: Members of the Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra

Enjoy live mandolins led by composer/arranger/teacher/director Charley Rappaport, and featuring 17-year old mandolin virtuoso, Gordon Neidinger!

August 15: Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 Jazz Trio

Experience some of Pittsburgh’s rising musical stars, with a concert by the prestigious Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts’ (CAPA) Jazz Ensemble, featuring music director and flugelhornist Paul Thompson.

August 22: Sidewalk String Band

Comprised of three talented folk artists, Sidewalk String Band is known for blending danceable bluegrass and old-timey tunes, in songs that feature fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and more! The band’s rousing vocal harmonies feature Jessica Spieser-Landes of Swissvale-based Landes String Studio.

August 29: Nameless in August
Folk-rock duo Zach Rock and Jason Buzon make up Nameless in August, a local pairing of banjo and guitar, steered by strong vocals. It has been said of the duo, that, “Every band is worth seeing once, but this band is worth seeing twice.” Don’t miss your chance!


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