Discover The Best Hidden Gems Of Live Music Pittsburgh

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Are you a music lover searching for unforgettable live music in Pittsburgh? Look no further! Here’s an article that’s dedicated to you. From hip-hop and jazz to rock and pop, Pittsburgh boasts an unparalleled live music scene that caters to every taste. We understand how difficult it can be to navigate the saturated scene and find live music that speaks to you. We’ve got you covered, and we’re excited to share the ultimate guide to finding the best live music in Pittsburgh.

You can expect to discover the hidden gems in Pittsburgh’s vibrant music culture. We’ll be sharing insider tips and tricks for discovering the latest bands, hottest concert scenes, and the most exciting performances. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, our comprehensive guide will elevate your live music experience in Pittsburgh. Discover the best venues for intimate acoustic sessions, energy-filled outdoor concerts, and underground music clubs that cater to every genre you can imagine.

Join us as we take you on a thrilling journey to discover the best live music experiences that Pittsburgh has to offer. We will show you how to discover the unknown artists that are on the cusp of making it big in the industry. Our expert advice is based on years of experience in following Pittsburgh’s music scene. You can trust that the advice we provide is proven to work. So, get your pen and paper ready, and let’s dive into the exciting world of live music in Pittsburgh.

Discover the Best Live Music Venues in Pittsburgh

Live music is an integral part of Pittsburgh’s culture, with a vibrant live music scene that caters to all genres and tastes. This is a city that takes its music seriously, and visitors are rarely disappointed by the quality and diversity of the live music venues it has to offer. From large-scale auditoriums to intimate bars and clubs, Pittsburgh has it all. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best live music venues in Pittsburgh – what they offer, what makes them unique, and what sets them apart from the rest.

The Stage AE

No list of the best live music venues in Pittsburgh would be complete without mentioning the Stage AE. This large-scale outdoor/indoor concert venue is located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s North Shore, right next to the popular PNC Park. The Stage AE has a capacity of 5,500 people and boasts state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems that ensure every concert-goer gets a high-quality experience. Some of the biggest names in the music industry have performed on this stage, from The Black Keys to Macklemore.

  • Location: 400 N Shore Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
  • Capacity: 5,500 people
  • Pros:
    • State-of-the-art sound and lighting systems
    • Indoor and outdoor stages
    • Excellent location (close to downtown Pittsburgh and Heinz Field)
  • Cons:
    • Can get crowded during peak times
    • Outdoor shows can be affected by weather conditions

In addition to its facilities, the Stage AE is also known for its friendly staff, who are always willing to help concert-goers with any queries or concerns they might have. The venue also has a large parking lot, which makes it easy for visitors to find a spot to park their cars. Tickets to shows at the Stage AE can be bought online or at the box office.

Mr. Smalls Theatre

Another venue that has earned a reputation as one of the best live music venues in Pittsburgh is Mr. Smalls Theatre. This former 18th-century Catholic church has been transformed into a world-class concert hall, and its unique setting makes it a popular choice among visitors and locals alike. Mr. Smalls Theatre has a capacity of 650 people and offers an intimate and immersive music experience that is perfect for fans of alternative, indie rock, and metal music.

  • Location: 400 Lincoln Ave, Millvale, PA 15209
  • Capacity: 650 people
  • Pros:
    • Unique and historic setting
    • Great acoustics that enhance the music experience
    • Intimate setting
  • Cons:
    • Not suitable for large-scale events
    • Limited parking options

Mr. Smalls Theatre is renowned for its acoustics, which are some of the best in the region. Its state-of-the-art sound system ensures that every concert-goer gets the highest-quality sound possible, while its lighting and visual effects add to the overall experience. Visitors to Mr. Smalls Theatre are encouraged to arrive early, as parking can be tricky. Tickets to shows can be bought online or at the box office.

Club Cafe

If you’re looking for a more intimate and cozy live music experience, Club Cafe is the place to be. Located in the popular South Side neighborhood, this venue offers an intimate atmosphere that caters to music fans of all ages. Club Cafe is known for its eclectic music roster, which covers everything from folk and country to indie rock and blues.

  • Location: 56 S 12th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
  • Capacity: 120 people
  • Pros:
    • Intimate setting
    • Eclectic music roster
    • Friendly staff and cozy atmosphere
  • Cons:
    • Small capacity means tickets sell out quickly
    • No on-site parking available

Club Cafe is a great venue for music fans who want to get up close and personal with their favorite artists. Its intimate setting and cozy atmosphere make for a memorable experience, and visitors often comment on how friendly the staff are. Tickets to shows at Club Cafe can be bought online or at the door, but fans are advised to buy in advance, as its small capacity means shows sell out quickly.

In conclusion, Pittsburgh is a city that takes its music seriously, and its live music venues reflect this passion. From large-scale auditoriums to intimate bars and clubs, there is a live music venue in Pittsburgh for every taste and preference. So next time you’re in the city, make sure to check out one of these fantastic venues, and experience some of the best live music Pittsburgh has to offer.

How to Experience Live Music in Pittsburgh Like a Local

Live music is an integral part of Pittsburgh’s culture and history. With an impressive lineup of renowned artists and a thriving local music scene, there’s no shortage of opportunities to experience the thrill of live music in the Steel City. Whether you’re a new visitor, a seasoned traveler or a local music enthusiast, here are some tips and ideas to help you experience live music in Pittsburgh like a local.

Discover the Venue Scene

Pittsburgh has a diverse range of music venues that cater to different tastes and styles. From intimate jazz clubs to large concert halls, each venue offers its unique atmosphere, sound quality and lineup of events. Here are some of the most popular venues to check out in Pittsburgh:

  • Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum: This iconic venue has hosted countless music legends over the years, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bruce Springsteen. Its acoustics and ornate design create a breathtaking backdrop for live performances.
  • The Rex Theater: This historic theater in the South Side is a popular spot for indie rock, punk and metal shows. With its vintage marquee, balcony seating and cozy vibe, it’s a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
  • Stage AE: Located on the North Shore, Stage AE is a modern amphitheater that hosts large-scale concerts and festivals. With its stunning views of the city skyline and capacity for over 5,000 attendees, it’s the perfect destination for a night of high-energy music and entertainment.
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Explore the Local Music Scene

Pittsburgh has a vibrant and diverse music scene that features everything from bluegrass and folk to hip-hop and electronic. Many local musicians and bands perform regularly at venues around the city, showcasing their unique styles and skills. Here are some ways to dive into the local music scene and discover new sounds:

  • Attend open mic nights: Many bars and coffee shops around Pittsburgh host open mic nights, giving aspiring musicians a chance to showcase their talents and gain exposure. Check out venues like Club Cafe, Hambone’s Pub, and the Beehive Coffeehouse to catch some up-and-coming acts.
  • Visit local record stores: Independent record stores like Jerry’s Records, Mind Cure, and Attic Records offer more than just vinyl – they also host in-store performances, signings and other events featuring local musicians. Stop by to browse their selection and catch a live show.
  • Follow local bands on social media: Many Pittsburgh-based musicians and bands have a strong presence on social media, sharing updates on upcoming shows, releases and collaborations. By following their pages or joining fan clubs, you can stay up-to-date on the latest music news and events.

Attend a Music Festival

Music festivals are another great way to experience live music in Pittsburgh while immersing yourself in the local culture and community. Pittsburgh hosts several annual festivals that showcase a wide range of performers and genres. Here are some of the most popular music festivals in the city:

Festival Genre Date/Location
Three Rivers Arts Festival Multigenre June, Point State Park
JazzLive International Festival Jazz June, Cultural District
Deutschtown Music Festival Multigenre July, North Side
Picklesburgh Folk/Bluegrass July, Downtown
Thrival Innovation & Music Festival Multigenre September, North Shore

Support Local Musicians

One of the best ways to experience live music in Pittsburgh like a local is to support the city’s talented community of musicians and artists. By attending their shows, purchasing their merch and spreading the word about their music, you can help keep the local music scene thriving. Here are some ways to support local musicians in Pittsburgh:

  • Buy tickets to local shows: Many local bands and musicians perform at smaller venues around the city, making it easy to catch an intimate show and support emerging talent. Check out venues like Howlers, Spirit, and Brillobox for some of the best local shows in town.
  • Buy local music: By purchasing albums, EPs or singles from local musicians, you can support their creative endeavors directly and allow them to continue making music. You can find local music at record stores, online platforms like Bandcamp, or at shows.
  • Spread the word: Social media and word-of-mouth can be powerful tools for promoting local musicians and events. Share information about upcoming shows or releases, recommend your favorite local artists to friends and followers, and help raise awareness about the vibrant music scene in Pittsburgh.

In conclusion, experiencing live music in Pittsburgh like a local is all about immersing yourself in the city’s rich musical heritage and exploring its diverse venues, musicians and festivals. Whether you’re a diehard music fan or a curious traveler, there’s something for everyone in the Steel City’s vibrant music scene. By following these tips and ideas, you can become a part of the local music community and discover new sounds, artists and experiences along the way.

The Top 3 Live Music Festivals in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is known for its rich history, iconic sports teams, and world-class museums. However, the city also boasts a thriving music scene that attracts local and international music enthusiasts. With live music venues and festivals held year-round, Pittsburgh has become a music hub, catering to all types of music lovers. In this article, we will introduce you to the top live music festivals in Pittsburgh.

1. Three Rivers Arts Festival

The Three Rivers Arts Festival is one of Pittsburgh’s most significant cultural events. Since 1960, the festival has drawn crowds from all over the world who come to celebrate the arts in its various forms, including music, visual art, and theatre productions.

  • The festival holds for nine days, showcasing different bands and music genres each day.
  • It features over 450 artists, who sell different types of art, such as jewelry, ceramics, and glass.
  • The festival is famous for its iconic water fountain, which is the centerpiece of the festival.
  • It is free to attend and attracts up to 500,000 visitors annually.

The Three Rivers Arts Festival has hosted world-class musicians such as Ray Charles, Janelle Monae, and The Avett Brothers. This festival is a perfect opportunity for both local and international artists to showcase their talent and boost their careers.

2. Deutschtown Music festival

The Deutschtown Music Festival started in 2013 and has become one of the most prominent annual events in Pittsburgh. The festival is focused on local and underground music, with a lineup packed with over 300 bands. It features varied music genres, including rock, folk, jazz, and electronic music.

  • The festival is held in the North Side of Pittsburgh and includes over 200 shows.
  • It is free to attend, and over 50,000 visitors attend the event every year.
  • The festival highlights local bands and artists, providing an excellent platform for young and upcoming talent. It has played a significant role in nurturing Pittsburgh’s music scene.
  • The event also features different forms of art, such as poetry and dance, making it a comprehensive cultural experience.

The Deutschtown Music Festival has brought several artists to the forefront of the music industry, such as Brett Staggs, Metacara, and Buffalo Rose.

3. Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival

The Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival has been held since 2014 and is a celebration of blues, rock, and soul music. It is a two-day event that focuses on a range of genres that celebrate the combination of different music cultures.

  • The festival is held in a unique location, the Syria Shrine Classic Car Show Field, a green field that can hold over 10,000 attendees.
  • The festival’s vibe evokes an old-school feel, with patrons setting up blankets and chairs to enjoy the music.
  • It features national and international artists, including musicians such as Blues legend Jimmie Vaughan, Vintage Trouble, and Keb’ Mo’.
  • The festival features a range of exciting activities, including a VIP section, a beer garden, and activities for children, such as face painting.

The Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival combines an appreciation for the blues genre, great food, and craft beer to create a fun experience for all its patrons. It is an excellent opportunity for music lovers who enjoy an intimate festival experience.

Festival Location Admission Fee Attendance
Three Rivers Arts Festival Downtown Pittsburgh Free Up to 500,000
Deutschtown Music festival North Side Free Over 50,000
Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival Syria Shrine Classic Car Show Field $32-70 Over 10,000

In conclusion, the live music scene in Pittsburgh is a testament to the city’s diverse culture and history. From classic blues to underground rock, Pittsburgh’s music festivals offer a diverse range of music genres and culturally engaging experiences. The Three Rivers Arts Festival, Deutschtown Music festival, and Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival are excellent opportunities for music enthusiasts to enjoy great music, create lasting memories and discover upcoming talent.

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The Benefits of Experiencing Live Music

Live music is a captivating experience that offers people one of the most entertaining and enjoyable ways to spend their free time. It’s widely known that attending concerts, gigs and events that feature live performances boost social wellbeing by providing an entertaining and welcoming environment for people to bond over their shared love for music. But, what are the other benefits that people achieve by experiencing live music?

1. Psychological Benefits

Research studies have shown that attending live music events has various psychological benefits on individuals. Some of the psychological advantages of live music include:

  • Mood Enhancement: Listening to live music can put people in better moods and improve their emotional state.
  • Stress Reduction: Live music has a therapeutic value that can reduce stress and anxiety levels in people.
  • Social Connection: Live music is an excellent opportunity to connect with others and make new friends that share a common interest in music.
  • Sense of Belonging: Being a part of a crowd that shares the love for the same music genre can give individuals a sense of belonging and group identity.
  • Intellectual Stimulation: Listening to live music stimulates cognitive functions, such as memory and attention, narrowing the gap between the audience and the performer.

2. Physical Benefits

While many individuals may only view concerts as an enjoyable social activity, there are physical benefits brought by experiencing live music for the body as well. Some of these benefits are:

  • Exercise: Music events that require a lot of standing or dancing can provide a great form of physical activity that is both enjoyable and stress-relieving at the same time.
  • Improved Immune System: Listening to live music can improve the immune system by releasing endorphins and decreasing stress hormones that suppress the immune response.
  • Muscle Relaxation: Listening to live music can facilitate muscle relaxation that helps decrease muscle tension and blood pressure.
  • Improved Sleep: Live music can help improve the quality of sleep, both for individuals who have slept poorly and for those with no issues related to sleep disorders.

3. Economic Benefits

The live music scene in Pittsburgh is not only about providing entertainment and an immersive cultural experience but also provides economic benefits through tourism and local business development. Some of the economic advantages that come with a thriving live music scene in Pittsburgh include:

  • Increased Tourism: Live music events attract visitors from all over the globe, creating opportunities for hotels, restaurants, and merchants to benefit economically. This boosts the city’s tourism and increases its overall competitiveness as a destination for cultural events.
  • Creation of Jobs: The live music industry is estimated to create millions of jobs, with those in music production, sound engineering, and entertainment management being only some of the many opportunities available in the industry.
  • New Business Opportunities: Cities with thriving live music scenes also draw in entrepreneurs who can invest in other related businesses, such as food vendors, instrument sellers or merchandise shops, providing them opportunities to grow and succeed.

4. Cultural Benefits

Live music has proven to be an essential pillar of cultural awareness for the residents of Pittsburgh as well as tourists visiting the city from all over the world. Some of the unique cultural elements brought by experiencing live music in Pittsburgh include:

  • Preservation of Cultural Heritage: Pittsburgh is famous for producing a variety of unique genres of music that reflect the city’s history and diversity. Live music events celebrating these genres help preserve the cultural heritage of the city, while also educating locals and visitors about the origin and evolution of music.
  • Bridging Cultural Divides: Live music is a universal language that crosses all differences, barriers and builds bridges between diverse communities. Music creates a sense of unity among the audience members who share a passion for a particular music genre, dissolving cultural divides and bringing people together.
  • Fostering Creativity and Innovation: The live music scene in Pittsburgh empowers local musicians, artists, and creatives, inspiring them to develop unique sounds and explore new forms of musical expression. This includes new acts and sounds that push boundaries, define new genres or reinvent older ones.
Comparison Table
Benefit Example Explanation
Increased Tourism The Three Rivers Music Festival in Pittsburgh A music festival that attracts many visitors from all over the world, contributing to increased tourism in the city.
Creation of Jobs Live Nation, AEG Presents, and Stage AE are some of the companies that offer jobs in the live music industry in Pittsburgh. The live music industry is known to create millions of jobs in various fields, from music production and sound engineering to management and promotion.
Bridging Cultural Divides The Pittsburgh Jazz Festival features world-renowned artists and highlights the African American cultural heritage. The event aims to inspire local youth and promote jazz culture, bridging cultural divides and creating a sense of inclusion and diversity.

In conclusion, exploring Pittsburgh’s thriving live music scene offers a range of benefits, including psychological, physical, economical, and cultural advantages. The city’s live music events, festivals, and concerts provide excellent opportunities for people to enjoy and experience the beauty of live music. By attending these events, people not only have a great time, but also improve their overall wellbeing and contribute to the cultural and economic growth of the city.

The Joy of Discovering Hidden Musical Treats

Pittsburgh’s live music scene is just as vibrant, eclectic and unique as the city itself. And, just like its steel bridges, the city’s music scene is built on a foundation of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. With several prestigious universities and a passionate base of music enthusiasts and artists, Pittsburgh has become a go-to spot for some of the country’s best live music. In this article, we delve into the tips and tricks of finding unmissable gigs in Pittsburgh’s live music scene.

1. Know Your Venues

Knowledge is power, and understanding the different musical environments in Pittsburgh is one of the most important tools for discovering great music. From renowned concert halls like the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts to dive bars and clubs like Club Cafe, the venues in Pittsburgh are diverse, each offering their own unique atmosphere and experience. This is why knowing the kind of music each venue typically embraces is essential in discovering hidden gems.

  • Familiarize yourself with Pittsburgh’s live music venues.
  • Identify the musical genres that each venue embraces.
  • Curate a list of venues that cater to your preferred music genre.

For instance, if you’re into jazz, then hearing a blind saxophone player at the legendary Crawford Grill has to be on your list of things to do in Pittsburgh. Similarly, if punk rock music is your scene, then you have to consider visiting the 31st Street Pub, one of the oldest punk bars in the city that has gained worldwide recognition for its iconic gigs.

2. Go Beyond Just the Headliners

When it comes to discovering great music, it’s essential to dig deeper than just the headliners. Big-name performers draw large crowds, but in the shadows, there are still many artists yet to ascend to the top of the lineup, with unique and outstanding performances.

  • Look beyond the advertised headliner attractions.
  • Research opening acts on concert listings.
  • Keep an open mind to unfamiliar band names.
  • Use social media platforms to follow new artists.

After all, some of the greatest bands in history began their careers as struggling artists. The Rolling Stones played as the warm-up act for Little Richard, and The Who’s first tour was as an opening act for Herman’s Hermits.

3. Keep an Eye on Music Festivals

Music festivals introduce a range of talent from various genres and give you the opportunity to discover new music in one fun-filled environment. Pittsburgh has its fair share of festivals throughout the year with everything from The Three Rivers Arts Festival to The Strip District Music Fest. These festivals are packed with artists looking to make a name for themselves in the music world, and with everyone gathered in one place, there’s a good chance you could find your next favorite band.

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  • Research Pittsburgh’s Music festivals calendar.
  • Identify festivals that cater to your preferred music genre.
  • Attend festival-organized workshop sessions, discussions and seminars to learn about new artists and music.

One notable example where attendees got to discover new music talents is the thunderous hard rock group, Black Moth Super Rainbow. The band’s big break came after playing their first-ever set at the first annual All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in 2002.

4. Follow Music Reviewers and Bloggers

Music bloggers and reviewers are some of the most valuable resources for emerging artists, so following them is an excellent way of discovering new musicians. They feature new acts and provide deeper insight into the hidden gems of a music scene. The internet nowadays is awash with numerous music blogs and websites where you can readily find experts’ recommendations on new artists.

  • Research Pittsburgh’s top music bloggers and individuals offering music reviews.
  • Follow top music bloggers across various social media platforms.
  • Attend blogger or reviewer-organized events to network and discover new music.

One local blog to follow is “HughShows,” where you can find interviews and reviews of local musicians, as well as timely updates on upcoming shows and events.

5. Embrace the Unexpected

One thing that makes Pittsburgh’s live music scene so special is the surprise element that comes with discovering unknown gems unexpectedly. Whether it’s catching a street musician playing while you take a stroll in South Side or discovering a young guitarist playing magical riffs at a backyard BBQ, the unexpected is never far away when it comes to finding great music in Pittsburgh. The key is to keep an open mind and be willing to take the road less traveled.

  • Take a walk through prominent areas in Pittsburgh and keep an ear out for street musicians.
  • Attend community events, public events with live music or open-mic nights in nearby bars.
  • Explore beyond your usual music preferences and identify new, unknown genres that might interest you.

With the right mindset, you never know what fantastic music you might discover, be it a hidden chamber music event at one of Pittsburgh’s smaller, lesser-known venues or a religious choir singing traditional gospel songs at a church service.

FAQs – Live Music Pittsburgh

What are some of the best live music venues in Pittsburgh?

There are several great live music venues in Pittsburgh, including Stage AE, Mr. Smalls Theatre, The Rex Theater, The Club Café, The Andy Warhol Museum, and Heinz Field. Each of these venues offers a unique experience and showcases diverse musical acts throughout the year.

What types of music can I expect to find in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh offers a diverse array of music genres to enjoy, including rock, pop, hip-hop, blues, jazz, country, and classical music. You can find music of all styles and tastes in the city throughout the year. Pittsburgh is also home to many talented local musicians who perform at smaller venues around town.

What is the best time of year to visit Pittsburgh for live music?

The best time of year to visit Pittsburgh for live music is during the summer months. Many music festivals and outdoor concerts take place during this time of year, including the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Pittsburgh Reggae Festival, and the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival.

Is there a cover charge for live music in Pittsburgh?

While some live music venues in Pittsburgh have a cover charge, many others do not. It is best to check with the specific venue you plan to visit ahead of time to find out if there is a cover charge and how much it is.

How do I buy tickets for live music events in Pittsburgh?

You can buy tickets for live music events in Pittsburgh in several ways, including online through the venue’s website or through ticketing sites like Ticketmaster or StubHub. Some venues also sell tickets at the box office or through their phone lines.

What are some local bands to check out in Pittsburgh?

Some popular local bands to check out in Pittsburgh include The Commonheart, The Clarks, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, The Buckle Downs, and Meeting of Important People. These bands showcase the unique sound and talent coming out of the city’s music scene.

Are there any all-ages live music venues in Pittsburgh?

Yes, there are several all-ages live music venues in Pittsburgh, including Mr. Smalls Theatre and The Rex Theater. These venues offer a range of shows and concerts throughout the year and welcome music fans of all ages.

What are some tips for attending a live music event in Pittsburgh?

Some tips for attending a live music event in Pittsburgh include arriving early to get a good spot, checking the venue’s website for any parking or transportation information, bringing cash for any cover charges or merchandise purchases, and being respectful of the performers and other attendees.

What are some upcoming live music events in Pittsburgh?

There are always upcoming live music events in Pittsburgh, including concerts and festivals. Some upcoming events include Taylor Swift’s Lover Fest at Heinz Field, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at The Manchester Craftsman Guild, and The Lumineers at PPG Paints Arena.

Is Pittsburgh known for its live music scene?

Absolutely! Pittsburgh has a vibrant and diverse live music scene that draws locals and tourists alike. The city has produced many successful musicians over the years and has a range of venues and festivals that showcase the best of its talent.


In conclusion, Pittsburgh has a vibrant live music scene that is worth exploring. From small local venues to large outdoor festivals, there are opportunities to experience a wide range of music in the city. Some of the best venues to check out include Stage AE, Mr. Smalls Theatre, and The Rex Theater. Be sure to check the event calendar ahead of time and arrive early to get a good spot. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, live music is a great way to experience the culture and energy of Pittsburgh. After reading this article, why not check out some of the upcoming live music events in the city? Thank you for reading, and we hope you have a memorable and enjoyable live music experience in Pittsburgh.