Thrival holds a special place in my heart. They were the first festival to say yes.
For the past two years, I have been able to cover the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival, held in Pittsburgh, for The Gannon Knight.
Full coverage of this year’s festival can be found on Page 8.
Prior to covering Thrival in 2016, I had never photographed a live concert before in my life. I hadn’t actually photographed anything in my life really.
I remember the evening before covering my first Thrival, I spent hours searching through YouTube tutorials on how to put the strap on a camera.
I had no idea what I was doing when it came to photography, but Thrival was my opportunity to learn.
Since shooting Thrival last year, I have photographed dozens of other artists, built a photography portfolio, interviewed my favorite band and gained a newfound appreciation for music, photography and the way in which we see the world.
I honestly do not believe any of this would have happened if Thrival would have said no to me a year ago.
Thrival is also special to me because its more than a music festival. It’s a celebration of the past, present and future of Pittsburgh — a city I hold near and dear to my heart.
As an initiative of Ascender, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization, Thrival helps to provide driving revenue for Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurs and new wave of technology, innovation and creativity.
Thrival and Ascender are working hard to put Pittsburgh back on the map as a premium destination for young leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and innovators.
The Thrival Music Festival wouldn’t be the successful live music event it is without the purpose and the mission behind the whole organization.
People flock to Thrival because it’s something more than a lineup of artists and it is bigger than the music.
The innovative components of the festival from earlier in the week and the mission statement of Thrival make the entire festival an immersive experience.
The atmosphere of the venue and the vibe of the staff create a sense of community and positivity that cannot be forced or manufactured.
Thrival’s ability to create a community experience has allowed this festival to grow immensely in its five-year time span, and as the festival grows and benefits, so do the young entrepreneurs of Pittsburgh.
I find it kind of ironic but special that in an unexpected way, the staff of Thrival have given me this opportunity grown as a photographer, mature as a student journalist and thrive in my own personal way.
I probably am not the young artist or entrepreneur they had in mind, but I credit Thrival for initiating a positive change my life.
Music and photography have become such a big part of my life within the past year, and often times have been a crutch to rely on when things are seemingly gloomy.
Music is a safe place – a place to be yourself and escape from the worries that weigh down everyday life.
While the world we live in seems to become more messed up each passing day, I believe that there is still a lot of peace, love and positivity amongst us – all of which was on display at Thrival this past weekend.
It’s a mad world but it would make far less sense and be much more mad without good people, good vibes and good music.