Thrival music festival this year was a bumpy road to a great time. The crowds on the first day seemed to exceed all expectations of what the festival had planed for. This sounds great until you run out of water and it takes an hour to get through the beer lines that appeared to be the crowd for a third stage. I got word that the turnout was a few thousand people more than expected. It’s pretty hard to complain about the crowds though, when you consider what Thrival gave us. Tickets to see The Chainsmokers, Chvrches, Thievery Corporation, Hudson Mohawke, to name a few of just the bigger names, cost $75 at the gate. Meanwhile, The Chainsmokers’ show this Friday in cost $75 in advance. Chvrches and The Chainsmokers didn’t fail to please the thirsty crowd that came to see them either.
Then there was the second day. The honest creativity and energy that came from the line up Saturday got the whole crowd into true festival spirit. At night Hudson Mohawke and Metric brought a high energy to the festival, while Rubblebucket and Thievery Corporation had everyone at stage one groovin’ their faces off. Thievery Corp. closed out the night with some loving music that had the ability to make us think about the issues our society faces while encouraging us to dance our worries away. They brought the crowd to a place of meditation and dance in the same moment.
A few non-musical events were set up in the festival off stage. The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Areas had several artists creating steel sculptures live throughout the weekend. One group was working on a cast iron sculpture pouring molten iron right in front of our eyes. Meanwhile, another group welded together a steel horse. The Wheel Mill, an indoor bike park, also had a half pipe set up with some BMX bikers showing off their tricks.
One of my favorite sets of the whole festival was the true closer of this event, the Squonk Opera. They are a music group local to Pittsburgh that put on a hell of a show. At Midnight each night, as the festival was closing, they performed their latest work Pnuematica. This was as much a visual performance as it was musical. They used all sorts of air powered props in their show to accompany their funky and driving music. They were easily the most interesting and creative performances of the whole festival.