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Arts, Sports & Culture

Third Annual Deutschtown Music Festival To Feature Wide Variety Of Live Acts

More than 125 bands on a total of 24 stages, with five outdoor stages and 16 separate venues, will play in the North Side the second weekend of July.

The third annual Deutschtown Music Festival takes place July 11, consisting of free live music from 128 bands performing a wide variety of genres.

“The musical styles are all over the board,” said Ben Soltesz, co-founder and organizer of the Deutschtown Music Festival. “We have bluegrass, Americana, rock, some punk rock, some rap, you name it. There’s a style for everyone and we kind of mix them up a little bit on the stages too so you’re able to get around the North Side and see just about anything that you’re interested in seeing.”

The bands all agreed to play for free according to Soltesz, but organizers of the event felt that every band that shows up deserves to get something back in return.  

So this year, they started a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to pay each band $100. The effort only managed to raise $2500, according to Soltesz. Since they didn’t hit their goal, the organizers of the festival are looking to restart the campaign and run it through the festival.

Also, this year bands could submit a web application in order to play at the festival. More than 200 submissions were received, but there weren’t enough stages to fit everyone, according to Soltesz. Bands were selected based on a number of criteria: when they submitted, how large their fan base was, how many people are in the band (based on how large a venue is to hold them on stage), where they fit genre-wise, overall talent and sound and how they fit the bill. 

The majority of the bands are local bands, however there are a few bands from Ohio and a touring band from Michigan who decided to stop by during its travels.

“All of these Pittsburgh musicians are really talented. There’s some really great, quality bands out there and it’s gonna give you an idea of the great scene that we have here in Pittsburgh, in addition to the food trucks and music and art,” said Soltesz.

The festival begins at 11 a.m. Saturday on the Allegheny Commons Park stage and runs until everyone goes home.

“It was created by a bunch of North Side residents, just a couple of us that really wanted a way to showcase the central business district of the North Side. There’s a lot of great bars and restaurants there, there’s kind of a burgeoning music scene that is taking place,” said Soltesz.

Soltesz said the event grows every year, from 3,000-4,000 attendees the first year to 6,000-7,000 last year. Upwards of 10,000 people are expected to come to the event this year. The number of bands has also increased, from about 40 bands in the pilot year to almost 100 bands last year.

At night, a local troupe of fire dancers will perform outside of a beer tent set up in a city parking lot on Foreland Street, right near the main stage.

The Pittsburgh Dance Center will also be doing an aerialist/circus performance in the park during the day.

More than 20 food trucks and vendors will be present so visitors can sample the food truck movement taking place in Pittsburgh.

Other activities at the festival include art installations, face painting, a photo booth and a print-making station.

A free shuttle will transport attendees from North Shore parking lots to the various venues.

The 2015 Deutschtown Music Festival is hosted by the East Allegheny Community Council.