The live music scene in Pittsburgh

With spring quickly approaching, I can only think of a few things: sunshine, picnics, and live music. With each lengthening day I become more excited about spring break and the beginning of the 2012 outdoor concert season. As a grad student, summer no longer equals carefree days of freedom from schoolwork, but it still incites happiness because warm weather and concerts are plentiful. Concerts are the essence of summer and I plan to spend many days and nights beneath the midsummer sky listening to great music in the company of good friends.

I wanted to create a guide for music in Pittsburgh for current and prospective Chatham students. This is not by any means a comprehensive list, I am not an expert, but here are some places to get started.

For graduate students, free is always better. Pittsburgh has several free music events throughout the concert season. Last August I saw Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Hartwood acres, as part of the Allegheny County Concert Series, and it was a phenomenal (and free) show.

Here is a list of some free music events in Pittsburgh-

WYEP Summer concert 

Third Thursdays at WYEP

Allegheny County Concert Series at South Park/Hartwood- All Summer long

Three rivers art festival- June 1st-June 10th 2012

Station square summer street jam

Pittsburgh Banjo Club

Pittsburgh Opera’s Brown Bag Opera Concerts 

Concerts are held annually at Heinz field, the Consol Energy Center, Heinz Hall, Peterson Events center, and various other venues. I admit that I haven’t attended a concert at one of the larger venues within the city, except during an 8thgrade field trip to see the symphony at Heinz Hall. My favorite concert venues are usually the smaller stages like Stage AE and Mr. Smalls. There are also tons of bars that have music events too, like Brillobox, Club Cafe, and Sonny’s Tavern! Although Pittsburgh is a small city, it has a burgeoning music scene that caters to all tastes in music. More importantly, it has great venues both large and small, to make concert enjoyable depending on your preference.

Also, Pittsburgh hosts various festivals throughout the year with diverse food and music. Eating delicious food while listening to free music happens to be one of my favorite things to do, so I’m very excited to check out food and cultural festivals  this summer. Check out the Carnegie Library Event page for month to month festival information!

Last year I attended Bonnaroo, a 4 day music and arts festival in Manchester Tennessee and I saw some amazing shows ranging from the Black Keys, Florence+ the Machine, Eminem,  Arcade Fire, Mumford&Sons, and many more. These types of festivals allow for you to get a lot of bang for your buck and allow for you to see many diverse acts. If you are interested in larger music festivals, but do not want to drive to Tennessee, Chicago, or California, no worries. There are several options within a couple hours of Pittsburgh.


Rights of Spring Festival



All Good festival

Midpoint Music Festival

Rock on the Range

New York:

Clear Water Festival

Mountain Jam



Virgin Mobile Festival

Pittsburgh is a great city with tons of options for live music. Check out the tickemaster link to stay up on concert events in and around the city.

Link to Ticketmaster for Concert announcements




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