Organizers have cancelled the annual arts and musical festival, citing concerns about the health of attendees, performers, and staff.

Photo of Chip & The Charge Ups performing on the Skyline Stage at the 2019 Deutschtown Music Festival. By Alexander Oh

By Janine Faust 

The Deutschtown Music Festival, a program of the Northside Leadership Conference, has been cancelled this year due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced on April 6. 

Cody Walters and Ben Soltesz, co-founders of the festival, said in a statement that the decision was made to protect the health of the festival’s fans, musicians, and venue operators. 

“We love our neighbors and feel that cancelling at this time, even though it tears us apart to do so, is the wisest decision to make,” Soltesz said. “Just know that we will be back next year in July 2021 with a new and improved festival that regional and national music lovers have come to expect and appreciate.”

The free, annual three-day music and arts celebration grew out of bar crawls Cody Walters hosted in 2011 and 2012 to promote local bars and musicians. The first official Deutschtown Music Festival was hosted in 2013, when organizers decided to translate the neighborhood’s existing music scene into a music festival. The original festival featured around 40 bands performing on one day across multiple venues. Music lovers came from all over Pittsburgh and the event inspired several local businesses such as Max’s Allegheny Tavern to add live music to their weekly schedules. 

The most recent festival, held in July 2019 in Allegheny Commons, hosted more than 400 musical acts across about 40 indoor and outdoor venues, along with children’s activities and local food vendors. Tens of thousands of people attended performances over the span of three days. 

This year’s celebration was originally scheduled for July 17-19, however, a U.S. federal response plan predicts that the coronavirus outbreak could last up to 18 months. 

“Please stay safe and thank the heroes who deliver the goods, stock the shelves, check out your groceries, and especially the first responders and medical professionals who keep us healthy and safe during these trying times,” Walters said. 

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