Photo by Neil Strebig
Shelf Life String Band performing on the corner of Foreland and Middle Street.
By Victoria Stevans
Music and chatter filled the Northside streets last weekend as over 200 bands played in 33 venues and on 36 stages at the fifth annual Deustchtown Music Festival.
“In past years we knew we were growing and we knew we had something,” said Cody Walters, co-founder of the Deustchtown Music Festival. “This year [we realized] people put this on their calendars, [that] this is a significant event for the entire region.”
According to Walters, around 20,000-25,000 people were in attended the music festival this year.
“It used to just be [an event] for the Northside, now it’s a landmark event for Western Pennsylvania. People come from all over,” Walters said.
Over the past five years, the the music festival has reached acclaim and recognition in the Northside. According to Smokey Bellows, a band formerly from Troy Hill that played during Friday’s events, they waited a year to sign up for the festival.
“We wanted to get in last year, but we didn’t apply in time,” said Brain Zalewski, a member of the band.
“We are really excited to play this year,” Zalewski said. “We had seen the signs previous years, and being musicians it was always something we wanted to do.”
The events on Friday, August 14 started at 5 p.m. at an outdoor stage in Allegheny Commons Park East and lasted until 10 p.m. Bands played in existing Northside businesses like, Allegheny City Brewing, Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse, James Street Gastropub, Scratch, and many more.
People enjoyed the late evening sunshine as they sat on blankets in the park or stood along the streets listening to the music that drifted from the event’s multiple venues.
“This is my favorite thing about Pittsburgh in the summer,” said Gina DeAngelo, the Director of Development at MAYA Organization, a maternal and infant health non-profit on Foreland Street.
MAYA was among the many organizations that set up shop on Foreland Street during the day on Saturday, August 15. The non-profit ran an open house, a garage sale, and a give-way, supplying free necessities for infants and toddlers like clothes, bibs, and bottles.
Saturday afternoon’s family-friendly events started at 11 a.m. featuring 20 food trucks along Foreland Street and in Allegheny Park East. Sprinkled among the food vendors was an artist market, a bounce house, and other activities, such as chalk drawing and Tarot card readings. Performances lasted until 12:30 a.m.
Over both days, the festival spread across the Northside, into Deustchtown, East Deustchtown, Spring Garden, and Troy Hill. However, the event collected patrons from many of Pittsburgh’s other neighborhoods, as well as neighborhoods and townships outside of the city proper.
Janice and Tom Rindfuss of the North Hills enjoyed their first year at the music festival. The two were drawn the event for the music, as well as the businesses the area has to offer.
“This is our first time in the Northside,” said Mr. Rindfuss. “We wanted to check out this event and try Allegheny City Brewing.”
“It’s been really fun,” said Mrs. Rindfuss. “Great weather and everything.”