The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has announced the 10 music headliners for the 57th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 3—12 at Point State Park.
This year’s standouts include Parisian twin sister duo Ibeyi, retro jazz/soul outfit Lake Street Dive, indie rock band Guster, and “the screaming eagle of soul,” Charles Bradley. Here’s a closer look at all 10 headliners:
Friday, June 3: Michael Franti & Spearhead
Michael Franti, formerly of the Beatnigs and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, performs at Arts Fest with Spearhead, the band he formed in 1994. Known as much for his social activism as his music, Franti plays an upbeat blend of reggae, rock and hip-hop that should provide the ideal summer soundtrack to kick off 10 days of free music under the sun (we hope).
Saturday, June 4 (Bluegrass Day): David Grisman Sextet
71-year-old singer and mandolinist David “Dawg” Grisman headlines Bluegrass Day. A longtime friend of Jerry Garcia, Grisman played mandolin on a pair of tracks on the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty album. In 1990, he launched the Acoustic Disc record label to support folk and bluegrass musicians. The sextet includes Grisman on mandolin and banjo-mandolin, as well as musicians on guitar, fiddle, flute, drums and bass.
Sunday, June 5 (91.3 WYEP Day): Ibeyi
Making their first appearance in Pittsburgh, the Parisian duo Ibeyi is made up of twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz. Their mother is a singer and their father, the Cuban drummer Anga Díaz, performed with the Buena Vista Social Club. Their songs combine traditional Cuban percussion alongside electronic beats, and they sing in both English and Yoruba. Their debut, self-titled LP was named one of the 50 best of 2015 by UK music mag Mojo and one of the 10 best of the year by Bob Boilen, host of NPR’s All Songs Considered.
Monday, June 6: The Mendelssohn Choir and Steve Hackman
As the creative director for Fuse@PSO, Steve Hackman has been earning rave reviews bringing classical music into the 21st century by mashing up the likes of Brahms and Radiohead and Copland and Bon Iver. This time, he leads the venerable Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh—the Pittsburgh Symphony’s chorus of choice—in a performance that should please all music fans of all ages.
Tuesday, June 7: Leftover Salmon
From Boulder, Colorado, Leftover Salmon have been mainstays of the jam band circuit for over 20 years. The band combines traditional blues and roots rock with Cajun and Zydeco, resulting in a sound they call “Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass.”
Wednesday, June 8: Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley came to national prominence in 2012, when the former James Brown cover singer was the subject of a documentary, Soul of America. Since then he’s played some of the biggest festivals in the world, including Coachella and Glastonbury. He last visited the city in 2013, when he and the Extraordinaires headlined First Night Pittsburgh.
Thursday, June 9: Beth Orton
Mixing acoustic folk with downtempo and electronic beats, Beth Orton has collaborated with musicians as diverse as The Chemical Brothers and Madonna producer William Orbit. Orton was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 1997, and is expected to perform new songs from her sixth album, Kidsticks, available on ANTI- Records May 27.
Friday, June 10: Guster
Ever since their short, impromptu January dumpster set on the North Side, fans have been hankering for Guster to return to Pittsburgh for a proper performance. The indie/alt-rock band formed in Boston in 1991 and were largely unknown for their first decade until a string of singles charted in Billboard’s Adult Top 40. Expect to see indie music fan Mayor Peduto in attendance for this one.
Saturday, June 11: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
After not appearing at Arts Fest for over 30 years, this is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s third appearance in the past four years. Last year, the PSO performed a suite of music that included selections from Verdi, Bizet and Gershwin. Expect a similar sampler this go-around.
Sunday, June 12: Lake Street Dive
Few bands have played Pittsburgh as much in recent memory as Lake Street Dive, but fans still can’t get enough of the band’s throwback sound of jazz, folk and soul. They sold out Mr. Smalls each of the past two years and performed at Hartwood Acres in 2014 as part of Allegheny County’s Summer Concert Series. They’ve been the beneficiaries of a surge of popularity ever since their breakout performance at Showtime’s Inside Llewyn Davis concert and subsequent appearances on Colbert, Letterman and Ellen.