Picnic & Party Pittsburgh-style @ Pittonkatonk

Published On May 3, 2016 | By Leah Kennedy | Music

pittonkatonk_16Spring season is officially underway, which means locals “PANDEMIC” Pete Spynda and Rich Randall (The Listening Spaces) are cooking up their next installment of Pittonkatonk–a Pittsburgh picnic and BBQ bash celebrating brass music from across the world.

Since its annual kickoff in Schenley Park three years ago, the festival has further dissolved the barrier between musician and concert-goer with its community-oriented approach and close-knit performance style.

pittonkatonk_16_2Newcomers will find Pittonkatonk is much like a family reunion on steroids. Each year, organizers strive to embrace the spirit of May Day (and International Workers’ Day) through dialogue regarding musical labor, and the commodities that shape relationships and music-making.

With the absence of formal stages, fixed ticket prices, and vendors, community members are offered to get engaged and show support through cleanup, monetary contributions, or by donating dishes to the potlock table.

pittonkatonk_16_3Not to mention, musicians from every corner of the globe come to play live performances in the crowd–from Balkan to New Orleans Jazz, to Symphonic, and protest-punk bands.

This year brings forth talented artists and musicians from all walks of brass music and beyond.

Headliners this year include crowd favorites like What Cheer Brigade, a 19-piece, Rhode Island brass band; guerrilla brass group, Detroit Party Marching Band, known for their unannounced, improv shows in surprise locations; and the Environmental Encroachment marching band, a performance art group which incorporates costumes and theatrics into their live sets.

pittonkatonk_16_1Pittonkatonk goes off at noon on Saturday, May 7 at the Vietnam Vets Pavilion in Schenley Park. Cash donations will be accepted onsite by volunteers, and funds will go directly towards supporting artists and covering fees.

If you plan to attend or contribute, be sure to check out a few reminders for the Burgh-style brass BBQ below:

  • Potluck: Those participating in this year’s potlock are welcome to bring a dish, bottled water, beverage, extra utensils, napkins, etc.
  • In Case of Rain: Dress appropriately; this year’s event will happen indefinitely, rain or shine!
  • Parking: Guest parking will be available throughout Schenley Park.
  • Bike Parking: This year, Pittonkatonk has partnered with BikePgh to provide bike racks. (The racks will be removed once the event concludes, so be sure to grab your bike before heading out for the evening!)
  • Accessibility: Family bathrooms and space are available to guests, as well as those with mobility restrictions. All are welcome to contact festival organizers with any specific accessibility needs.
  • Safe Space Policy: Pittonkatonk strives to provide a safe and positive experience for everyone–regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion; guests are encouraged to visit the info desk for assistance, or any issues that may occur.


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