Thrival Festival brings music and magic to Pittsburgh


staff writer

A mix of perfect weather, happy people, good food and great music created a fantastic end to Pittsburgh’s annual Thrival Innovation and Music Festival over the weekend.
The entire festival began on Monday, Sept. 19, and wrapped up Saturday.
Monday through Thursday the festival consisted of keynote speakers and workshops throughout the city of Pittsburgh, and Friday and Saturday were filled with a music festival celebration to close out the week.
The festival was held at Carrie Furnaces and featured an enormous furnace as a dramatic backdrop between the two stages. This was something festival goers had never seen before, and created a very exciting and awesome environment.
Festival doors opened at 3 p.m. Friday and as soon as attendees entered the venue, the party started.
The venue grounds were packed full of food trucks, vendors and excited and eager people. There were also crowed performers hula hooping and twirling glowing batons for the duration of the evening.
Festival coordinators did a flawless job of making sure the atmosphere was that of a large-scale music festival, creating a Coachella- or Bonaroo-like experience for individuals, without needing to travel hours and hours from home.
Friday night’s sets kicked off with the “Meeting Of Important People” followed at 4:30 p.m. by Bastard Bearded Irishmen.
Daya took the stage around 6 p.m. and wooed the crowed with her endearing stage presence and astounding voice.
Daya was an especially special performer to have at Thrival because she is a Pittsburgh native, and the energy present in the crowd when she was performing exemplified the unmatched “Pittsburgh pride” the city is known so well for.
Following Daya, Sir The Baptist began. This semi–religion based band created a somewhat emotional experience for festival attendees with their sharing of personal stories of love and loss.
Next up was Lettuce, which was by far and without a doubt the most bizarre act of Friday night’s lineup.
The band played songs that were vastly instrumental and did not seem to pause between songs, creating what seemed to be a weird and wild 70-minute interlude.
The band contributed what can only be described as background noise to the festival for far too long, and though it was not terrible, there was not a soul present who was upset when it ended.
Following Lettuce was Scottish techno pop band CHVRCHES.
This band was one of the most anticipated acts of the night and crowd members were ecstatic when they finally graced the stage.
Lead singer Lauren Mayberry had a graceful and angelic stage presence as she effortlessly sang for their 75-minute set.
The light show CHVRCHES presented was simple, but appropriate for the band. This trio was absolutely a crowd favorite and was a perfect preface to the evening’s headliner, The Chainsmokers.
Fans had been waiting in the crowd in front of The Chainsmoker’s stage since the time the doors opened. To say they were bursting with excitement waiting for The Chainsmokers to walk on stage would be a dramatic understatement.
The minutes leading up to the start of the set were some of the most beautiful moments of the night. While the stage was being prepared for The Chainsmokers, songs from other artists were playing such as Lady GaGa’s “Paparazzi” The Black Eyed Peas’ “Imma Be” and, though overrated, the iconic “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé.
This hyped up the crowed so much that even the security guards and media personnel were dancing.
There are not really any words to describe what happed when The Chainsmokers came on stage. It was an insane experience that everyone in attendance was lucky to be a part of.
The Chainsmokers performed for 90 minutes, playing some of their own music as well as mixing other artists’ works such as Coldplay’s “Yellow” and The Killers’ “When We Were Young.”
Accompanying the DJ duo’s performance was an unsurpassed light show as well as impressive intermittent explosions of smoke, fireworks and flames.
At the end of the night, festival goers were leaving with an experience that was the epitome of the magic of live music.
Whether it’s the lights floating through the air, being surrounded by and sharing fried food with close friends or being in the presences of immensely respectable talent on the stages, live music and music festivals bring so many people together to create something so much larger than any of them individually.
That is the magic of music, and that was the magic of Thrival.
Keep your eyes and ears open in the coming year for news of the next Thrival Innovation and Music Festival. It surly will be an adventure like no other.

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