The 2015 Three Rivers Arts Festival officially got underway at noon Friday in Point State Park.
Art and music lovers were already milling about even before 12 p.m., as the festival’s first band, locals Black Little Birds, sound checked.
Joe Smith is Vice President of Dollar Bank, which has sponsored the main stage for the last 10 years. He said in his mind, the arts festival signifies the beginning of summer in the city.
“We’re going to have 400,000 people down here over the next 10 days; you’ll see the city come to life,” Smith said. “It really is the whole downtown area, and a great deal of fun.”
Highlights of this weekend’s music schedule include singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, bluegrass favorites Railroad Earth and Canadian indie pop band Alvvays.
On Monday, the festival will welcome the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera, performing selections from Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and George Bizet’s Carmen.
“We have a full line-up next weekend, with performances by Rhiannon Giddens, Richard Thompson, Neko Case, and in partnership with the 25th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we’re thrilled to have sign language interpreters interpreting those performances,” said Veronica Corpuz, director of festival management with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
The festival also includes works from hundreds of visual artists, both on display and for sale.
Corpuz called the Three Rivers Arts Festival one of the greenest festivals in the country, and is encouraging patrons to take public transportation, walk, or bike to Point State Park for the event.
“We have a bike valet right here in the festival, so during festival hours you can bike down, park your bike, we’ll take care of it for you, you walk around the festival, and then at the end of your visit, you pedal home,” Corpuz said.
In a recent poll, USA Today readers ranked the Three Rivers Arts Festival as the second best summer arts festival in the country, second only to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
“We’re nationally recognized as an arts festival, and it really cements Pittsburgh’s image as a cultural vanguard in this country,” Smith said.
The festival runs from June 5-14. More information and the schedule of performers and events can be found at www.3riversartsfest.org.