Thrival Combines Innovation and Music in Pittsburgh / by Alex Young

With its blue-collar industry past, Pittsburgh now reinvents itself as a rising technology hub and do-it-yourself, entrepreneurial boomtown. New and creative ideas breathe throughout the city and a welcoming market support the enterprising spirit.

Three years ago, Thrival Innovation + Music Festival was one of the new and creative ideas in town. The forum provokes thought and the arts due to "innovation-focused programs punctuated by a weekend concert featuring some of the best emerging national music acts and top-tier headliners." The event also seeks to "introduce Pittsburgh as the world leader in post-industrial economic development."

Thrival, part of the Thrill Mill, Inc. nonprofit group, is attractive because it serves as an "incubator and accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs," while providing a contemporary music outlet. Many people flock to the event, 2,000 showed the first year, 7,000 the second year, and 10,000 people attended in 2015.

Looking for continuous growth in 2016, Thrival is set to put on a bigger production than ever before. The Innovation portion will feature three days each with a separate theme. There will be four keynote speakers, more than 30 programs, and more than 50 total speakers. For example, Dr. Bennett Omalu, the man who discovered "CTE" and its link to professional football during his work in Pittsburgh, and Eugene Robinson, a journalist and Washington Post contributor, will give keynote talks. Programs hit on subjects like the rise of podcasts, food culture, and "How to Build a Music Town."

Innovative interactions will run Tuesday, September 20 through Thursday, Septemeber 22 at places like Alloy 26 Auditorium and New Hazlett Theatre on the North Side of Pittsburgh. After, Thrival's weekend music festival kicks off on Friday, Septemeber 23 to Saturday, Septemeber 24. Headliners include electronic act The Chainsmokers, DJ and producer Hudson Mohawke, hip-hop specialist Ty Dolla $ign, and more. The concert site pays homage to Pittsburgh's old industry ways as Carrie Furnaces, a former steel plant in the Swissvale and Rankin, Pa. neighborhood, will host two stages for musical performances.

In an effort to promote Thrival's musical event, Pittsburgh-based, cultural publication Jenesis Magazine produced several 10-minute music mixes by local DJs. Artists like Christo and DJ Topgun sample some sounds attendees will hear next weekend. Listen to all of the mixes here and go to Boom Concepts tonight from 7-10 p.m. to hear the mixes played live.

For more Thrival information, tickets, and venue locations go here.

Carrie Furnaces

623 E. Eighth Avenue

Homestead, PA 15210


Boom Concepts

5139 Penn Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15224