The Ultimate Three Rivers Arts Festival Primer

The time has come to absorb all the cultural sights and sounds on display in our city. Get the lowdown before you head to the fest, which kicks off today.

Photo courtesy of the Three Rivers Arts Festival


The time has come to immerse yourself in a 10-day span filled with music, art, dance and film. Dollar Bank’s Three Rivers Arts Festival begins today and promises to deliver another great set of headlining acts, independent productions and exhibits for a wide variety of tastes and demographics.

With the multitude of activities and events that will be taking place over the next 10 days you may be asking yourself, “How on Earth am I going to fit everything in my schedule that I want to see?” — or plainly “What should I see?” You won’t be disappointed in whatever you find within the boundaries of the Festival, but here are a few things that may catch your eye.


Headlining Music Acts

Every evening from 7:30-9 at the Dollar Bank Stage, a prominent musical act will take the stage. Although this has become a tradition for the festival, the organizers really have outdone themselves with providing excellent acts.

Tonight’s headliner is Jeff Tweedy, founder of indie-rock outfit Wilco. Now focusing on a solo project, Tweedy’s fame from Wilco alone should draw a large audience, hopefully singing along to hits from “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”

Anyone looking for somewhat of a throwback will be enthused to see Grammy Award-winning bluegrass artist Sam Bush and Lucinda Williams; Bush performs tomorrow night, and Williams has a show next Saturday.

The festival’s final headliner for the closing day, June 15, is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from across the pond in Nottingham. English native Jake Bugg has received high acclaim since his self-titled album debuted in November; his vocal styles rival that of Oasis. Fellow art-rock Brits Kaiser Chiefs also will take the stage, playing a set Tuesday evening.


Daily Events

Can’t make the festival because of work? Fortunately, you can still reap some of the benefits like you didn’t miss a thing!

Exhibits will run during the entire duration of the festival — and there are definitely some to draw arts enthusiasts of all stripes. The Holocaust Center and ToonSeum have put together a multiple-panel exhibit featuring UpStanders from World War II and the Holocaust titled “Chutz-Pow! Superheroes of the Holocaust.” The exhibit is located in the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone.

If you’re looking for other local artistic talent, the Trust Arts Education Center plans to host the Juried Visual Art Exhibition, where people can meet reputable local artists. Don’t forget, you always can take art home if you visit the Artist Market inside Gateway Center.

Other art alternatives include the Complaints n’at Choir, which starts nightly at 6. We take ownership in the nation’s Most Livable City, sure, but how many times have you caught yourself screaming in your car due to traffic? Now is the time to share your grievances with the rest of the city. We’re positive someone in the crowd will relate and back you wholeheartedly.


“Before I Die” Wall

This past fall, we welcomed the giant rubber duck that has made artist Florentijn Hofman a household name. The big, yellow visitor brought together the city of Pittsburgh — because, let’s face it: Nobody can resist an enormous bath toy. The Three Rivers Arts Festival organizers aim to replicate that sort of feeling in a more intimate manner with the Before I Die wall. People are asked to share their biggest aspirations, fears and/or secrets on an enormous wall for all of Pittsburgh to see, in the hopes that it prompts self-reflection in a public setting. The wall will be in Katz Plaza for those who wish to write out their bucket list.


Things for Children

Parents, prepare to be relieved. Your children can have just as much fun at the Festival too. Activities for children range from constructing small sailboats at the Miniature Marina to enacting plays with Pittsburgh Puppet Works. Kids can also craft animal masks, jewelry and other art with Sweetwater Center for the Arts taking place at the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone, so be sure to bring the kids.



Lastly, there are a few independent films and documentaries that are worth your time: Oscar-nominated “Cutie and the Boxer” combines emotions of love and fury all into one, as this film divulges in the lives of a couple married for 40 years; the two are known for being “boxing” painters.

Still can’t get enough music? Examine what the music scene was like in Greenwich Village from 1961-73. “Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation” is a feature-length documentary narrated by actress Susan Sarandon.

In celebration of Pittsburgh PrideFest, the Three Rivers Arts Festival also will be showing short films that relate to the LGBT community.

It’s hard to believe there’s much more to the free fest than what was mentioned. Check the festival’s website for a full rundown on programming.


#Spotted: Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams enjoying dinner downtown


Earlier this week, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams were spotted having dinner together at Meat & Potatoes, one of our 2014 Best Restaurants.

The 33-year-old actor and 35-year-old actress currently are working together on a film in Pittsburgh titled “Southpaw,” which follows the life of a boxer who fights his way to success, only to lose what is most important to him outside the ring.


#Cheers: Kennywood puts beer on the menu

Parents, how many times have you been at Kennywood waiting for your kids while they were in line and said to yourself, “Wow, I could really just go for an ice cold beer right now.”

Or perhaps you’re a newly adjusting adult who wishes to have a cold one with your Potato Patch fries. Either way, it seems that park officials finally have heard our pleas. Kennywood now is serving beer to the public.

As always, remember to drink responsibly.


#Airborne: Air Show kicks off tomorrow

We expect to hear reports of Pittsburghers collectively “oohing” and “ahhing” while looking upward. They won’t be at the National Aviary, though. The gawking skygazers will be at the Air Show at the Arnold Palmer Airport in Westmoreland County. The event will start tomorrow morning at 11 and feature the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team.

— Joelle Smith

Categories: The 412