WYEP Summer Music Festival 2023
The WYEP Summer Music Festival is our annual day-long celebration of both national and Pittsburgh music. Held on the last Saturday in June, our open-air concert takes place on the beautiful Emerald Lawn at Schenley Plaza, located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh near the University of Pittsburgh campus. The best part? It’s completely free and open to everyone in the community!
The festival is financially supported by the members of WYEP and sponsors who support independent radio programming and community initiatives in Pittsburgh. The 2023 WYEP Summer Music Festival is presented with support from the UPMC Health Plan, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Ascend Climbing, University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Pittsburgh Regional Transit, Envinity, Go Laurel Highlands, Wigle Whiskey, Velum Fermentation, Sendell Subaru, Sendell Volkswagen, Healthy Pet Products, Oakland Business Improvement District, Pittsburgh Brewing Company, and BikePGH.
The WYEP Summer Music Festival has been bringing diverse artists to the city since 1998. Originally created in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum, the festival has grown to attract crowds from all over. The festival has been held at Schenley Plaza since 2008 and in 2022, we’ll be celebrating its 25th anniversary! Over the years, we’ve featured some incredible artists like Soul Asylum, Sinead O’Connor, Jason Isbell, Cautious Clay, Fitz and the Tantrums, Jukebox The Ghost, Langhorne Slim, DeVotchKa, Valerie June, and many more.
2023 Featured Musicians
Growing up in Philadelphia on a steady diet of R&B, hip-hop, rock, blues, and soul, Gilfillian gravitated to records that ignited his mind while making his body move. Following his electrifying 2016 debut EP with upbeat singles like “High” and “Troublemaker” in 2018, Gilfillian signed to Capitol Records and hit the road––performing with the likes of Anderson East, Keith Urban, Gladys Knight, Kaleo, The Fray, Mavis Staples, and more. In 2020, Gilfillian released his debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” which was nominated for a Grammy – “Best Engineered Album.” After civil unrest in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, he re-recorded Marvin Gaye’s iconic album, “What’s Going On,” releasing it in fall of 2020 around the election. He performed “Mercy Mercy Me” for Colbert “Stay At Home.” In December 2020, Gilfillian performed his top 5 AAA hit, “The Good Life,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. His sophomore LP Love You Anyway dropped on April 7th.
Devon Gilfillian stopped by the WYEP Studios in September 2019 for a Live & Direct Session. You can listen to that session here.
Illiterate Light thrives on subverting expectations. Though just a duo, the Harrisonburg, Virginia-based singer-guitarist Jeff Gorman along with Nashville, Tennessee-based drummer Jake Cochran make surprisingly pummeling and thoughtful alternative rock. Since the band’s 2015 inception, they’ve intently focused on their unorthodox live show with Cochran standing behind his kit and Gorman playing synth bass with his foot as he sings and strums his guitar. Fiercely egalitarian and independent, the two not only split up songwriting duties and arrangement ideas, they even built bike-powered stages: bringing the fans into the live experience and envisioning a greener future for shows.
But with their latest album Sunburned, out January 27 via Thirty Tigers, Gorman and Cochran have turned their attention inward to their songwriting and studio craft. It’s their most fully-realized and ambitious LP yet, one that’s full of immediate songs that update and revolutionize the band’s approach to making music. There are rich keyboard and programmed percussion textures now populating their songs, as well as soaringly anthemic choruses, and hefty doses of fuzz. “On our first record, we were very live-focused and wanted to make sure whatever we were writing was translated in person,” says Gorman. “Without that crutch, we could be more adventurous and take more risks. We definitely weren’t timid in the studio.”
Born from the beautifully strange imagination of a wide-eyed misfit raised in the Dallas outskirts, Allison Ponthier’s songwriting hints at her country roots through her heart-on-sleeve storytelling and crystalline vocal work. Her lyrics whimsically portray the lucid confessions of a shy teen coming to terms with her queer sexuality in a Texas suburb much like the football-obsessed town of Friday Night Lights, further heightened to create a world inspired by the Camp warped eccentricities of Henry Selick, Vincent Price, and Elvira.
Allison’s music and visuals follow her own self-reflection as she left the Bible Belt for Brooklyn in search of community despite not knowing anyone in New York—an initially disastrous move that ultimately inspired her own breakthrough on both a personal and artistic level. Overwhelmed, friendless, and struggling to keep up with rent, Allison began embracing the calamity of being a self-identified goody-two-shoes Texan living in the epicenter of brazen East Coast hipsterdom. Bringing such a depth of attention to every aspect of her music, Ponthier began building an extravagantly realized version of the world she retreated into as a kid back in Texas: a place where difference is endlessly celebrated.
The Ghost Club
Every puzzle comprises pieces of different shapes and sizes meant to interlock in all of the right places. Music forms in a similar fashion for The Ghost Club—yet founder Domenic Dunegan even personally shapes the pieces by hand. The Pittsburgh, PA singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist conjoins dusky analog synths, arena-ready guitars, and energetic vocals in a pastiche of eras and styles spawned by the eighties and forged in the twenty-twenties.
In 2016, Domenic recognized the power of music. His dad took him to a Bruce Springsteen concert, and he left with his life changed. As a film student, a heavy workload took precedence, but he kept thinking about music, nevertheless. By 2018, he started to write and record songs of his own, and The Ghost Club was born. Dunegan met producer Matt Squire [Panic! At The Disco, Ariana Grande] through Facebook, and the pair cooked up a batch of tunes together. “This Bird Has Flown” eclipsed 3.4 million Spotify streams, while “Antique” gathered 2.3 million streams. An ironic post on Reddit captioned, “Hey, here’s a video my band made, and it kind of flopped,” kickstarted intrigue around “Same Graves.” Eventually, that track amassed over 9 million Spotify streams and more than 1 million YouTube views, while New Noise Magazine likened him to “bluesy pop rock artists like Panic! At The Disco and IDKHOW.” In the end, The Ghost Club delivers anthems that are as infectious as they are intriguing—just the kind of enigma alternative music needs.
Animal Scream is a dark pop outfit founded by Chad Monticue, (Producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist), and Josh Sickels, (Producer, drums, percussion), both previously of the band 1,2,3. All music is written and recorded by Monticue, Produced by Animal Scream, and mixed by Jake Hanner.
With gnarled, thundering bass lines scrawled beneath falsetto vocals and sly but rollicking guitars, Animal Scream’s aural persona is one of dark-but-fiery expression and vibrant visual appeal, igniting their weird-pop sensibility with a vast and varied sonic backdrop.
Members Chad Monticue & Josh Sickels playfully describe their sound: “If you gathered up Prince, Roy Orbison, Thom Yorke, and Misfits-era Glenn Danzig as the house band at the Bang Bang Bar in Twin Peaks, that’s often what our music sounds like.”
Aryana Kapree Booker-Gamez, a 16-year-old native of Las Vegas, NV, is this year’s featured WYEP Reimagination Project Artist. The Westinghouse Arts Academy sophomore had a passion for singing and writing original music as early as age 7. With the unwavering support of her mother and grandmother, Aryana has pursued various programs and opportunities to develop her creative talents. Her ultimate goal is to build a long-term career in the entertainment industry, combining her love of music, acting, and theater.
Aryana Kapree recently made her debut as a recording artist with her first single “Fly,” which is featured on 91.3 WYEP’s Reimagination 10, the latest album from the WYEP Reimagination Project that was released on June 16th.
Thank you to our members and the 2023 WYEP Summer Music Festival Sponsors:
Where is the 2023 WYEP Summer Music Festival?
Since 2008, Schenley Plaza, a green oasis in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, has been the home of The WYEP Summer Music Festival. It is located at:
4100 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
When is the festival?
Our one-day music festival takes place on June 24th, 2023. The music starts at 3 p.m.
Approximate start time for each artist:
3:00 p.m. – Aryana Kapree
3:50 p.m. – Animal Scream
5:10 p.m. – The Ghost Club
6:30 p.m. –Allison Ponthier
7:45 p.m. – Illiterate Light
9:15 p.m. – Devon Gilfillian
Is this festival free?
Yep, it’s free and open to the public!
Where do I park my car?
In addition to the on-street parking around Schenley Plaza, you can find more parking information here.
I’m riding my bike to the festival. Will there be a place to park it?
Most definitely, yes! Our friends at BikePGH will be returning this year to operate the FREE Bike Valet. It will be open from 3 PM to 30 minutes after Devon Gilfillian’s performance, and it will be located across Schenley Drive Extension and right behind Dippy the Dinosaur. Locks aren’t required because the bike valet will be staffed by BikePGH!
What should I bring with me?
Blankets, Lawn Chairs, Water, Good Vibes, & a whole lot of sunscreen!
Will there be libations?
Indeed, neighbor! There will be a Biergarten under the Big Tent. (Operated by The Porch)
Where can I find the bathrooms?
In addition to the permanent facilities in the park, we will have accessible port-a-johns and hand-washing stations for your convenience.
Support The Festival
You listen to WYEP to discover new music, hear old favorites, and learn about upcoming concerts and events in Pittsburgh. And all of it—every note, every performance, every program—is made possible by and dependent on the contributions of generous independent music fans in our community – our members! Support from our members is crucial in bringing you events like the WYEP Summer Music Festival and keeping them free for all to enjoy.
Be part of our eclectic community of music lovers; become a WYEP member today. Your support will help to keep the music playing, the programs you love on-air, and the concerts coming. Support The WYEP Summer Music Festival Today!
If your business would like to support WYEP and the 2023 WYEP Summer Music Festival: Become a Sponsor of WYEP!