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Arts, Sports & Culture

In-Person, Indoor Arts Festival Concerts Will Use New Health And Safety Precautions

After going entirely virtual in 2020, this year’s Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival marks a partial return to an in-person festival, but with a pandemic twist.

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SPACE Gallery is one of five Cultural Trust art galleries that will reopen June 4.

Attendees at six concerts at the Byham Theater — the first large-scale indoor performances Downtown since the shutdown began — will be required to download a mobile health app to be cleared for entry. Outdoor attractions including live music and the return of an in-person artists' market will not require the app. Nor will visiting the several art galleries the Trust operates Downtown, which will also reopen to coincide with the June 4 start of the 11-day festival.

The changes were announced today online by officials of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which organizes the festival.

Prior to 2020, the 62-year-old event routinely drew 500,000 or more visitors to Downtown and Point State Park, according to Trust estimates. But last year the galleries were closed, and the streets and park were silent as the concerts and artists’ market migrated online.

With most performance venues in Pittsburgh still shuttered, in-person, indoor performances remain rare because of health and safety concerns and also state-mandated capacity restrictions. While the shows will also be livestreamed, Trust officials view the Byham concerts by touring headliners including singer-songwriter Celisse, soul singer Shemekia Copeland, and pop-country-folk performer Caroline Rose as a careful first step in the return to full slates of live performance.

The Byham events will be free but ticketed, and limited to 350 in the 1,300-seat venue. Face masks will be mandatory. Another big difference is the requirement that ticket-holders download the free CLEAR Health Pass app and be cleared with a “green” health status before entering, said the Trust’s chief security officer, Kevin Wilkes.

“This app includes a few simple steps and key survey questions that determines a guest’s health risks and the safety of them being exposed to others in the Cultural District,” he said.

Trust spokesperson Robin Elrod said the app requires a selfie, a photo of the ticketholder’s driver’s license or passport, and a series of questions about health status, including vaccinations and any possible contacts with people infected with COVID-19. However, being vaccinated will not be required for admission, Elrod said.

Tickets to the concerts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at noon May 20.

The festival’s outdoor programming will include live music by local artists at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Riverside Stage at Allegheny Overlook Pop-Up Park, on Fort Duquesne Boulevard near Stanwix Street.

The in-person artists’ market will include 100 Pennsylvania-based artists daily at three separate locations, in the Benedum Center parking lot; at the Trust Oasis, on Seventh Street; and at the Allegheny Overlook. An additional 350 artists will be vending online through a Trust portal.

Anyone attending the outdoor events will also be required to mask and observe physical distancing, said Elrod.

More information is at the festival website.