June is the biggest month of the year in Pittsburgh for festivals and outdoor music. The Allegheny County Summer Concert Series starts up on June 2 at the South Park Amphitheater with the Pittsburgh Opera, and on June 4 at Hartwood Acres with “The Voice” finalist and North Hills native Chris Jamison. And the Three Rivers Arts Festival runs from June 2 to 11 in the Cultural District.
Just announced, SouthSide Works’ free local concert series returns on June 16, continuing every Friday through Sept. 1. Formerly Music on the Mon, the series is now called Music on the Lawn, due to its relocation to the complex’s new Town Square located near the North Lot.
But that’s just the beginning of what promises to be a summer full of outdoor concerts.
WonderWorks adds local acts
The votes are in, and Kahone Concept and The Roof are the local acts selected to open the WonderWorks Music Festival at Hartwood Acres on May 27 and 28. Ben Kahone, aka Ben Orrvick, opens the festivities at 1:30 p.m. Saturday; Hozier is the headliner that night.
“I’m super excited about WonderWorks,” Ben says. “It’s a chance to show the industry professionals outside of Pittsburgh what’s going on in the local scene.”
The Roof starts off Sunday’s show with a Grateful Dead/Santana vibe. Jason Mraz closes the festival.
Single-day general admission tickets for Saturday are sold out, but general admission tickets and other options are still available for Sunday.
June also is Pride Month, and the Pittsburgh area will be celebrating all month long. Pittsburgh Pride Revolution Weekend happens June 1 through 4, with events Downtown, and in Homewood, the North Side and Bloomfield.
On June 1, AIDS Free Pittsburgh hosts Too Hot For July, a dance party in front of Klvn Coffee Lab at 6600 Hamilton Ave. from 5 to 11 p.m. Look for live music and drag performers on June 2 from 1 to 7 p.m. and June 3 after the Pride Parade at Allegheny Commons Park on the North Side, and on June 4 in Bloomfield in front of Trace Brewing. Rapper Miss Money headlines the shows on June 3 and 4.
Warhol Sound Series
Local bands The Zells and Late. will kick off the Andy Warhol Museum’s Summer Sound Series, presented in conjunction with The Government Center on June 1. The concert will be held outside on Silver Street, a recently renovated alley adjacent to the museum.
The Zells, a high-energy group with a bit of a new wave sound, are Frank DiNardo, Jackson Rogers, Phil Kenbok, Roman Benty, and Tyler Gallagher. They’ve opened for Titus Andronicus and Archers of Loaf. Their most recent release is 2022’s “Ant Farm.” The Late., who are Corrie Anderson and Lisa Christopher, play guitar and keyboards, and are reminiscent of singer Mary Timony, according to the Warhol website.
Interesting local angle though: Akil Esoon, a musician, educator and longtime fixture on the hip hop scene, has created a digital presentation of the history of Pittsburgh hip hop, which will be shown at the festival at around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 17.
Esoon, whose latest group is Grxwn Fxlks, traces the genre locally back to the early ‘80s and Sly Jock, a WAMO disc jockey who was the first to bring rap and hip-hop to the local airwaves. Other early influencers featured are the late “Melle Mel” Plowden, who was in the 1985 movie, “Rappin‘” (filmed in Pittsburgh) and Esoon’s own band from the late ‘80s, Pensoulsinakup. Local heroes Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa are also included.
Esoon has already screened his presentation for high schoolers from Westinghouse and other local schools. “I am happy to come to any community events I can,” he says.
Local artists featured include Shane McLaughlin of Buffalo Rose and Howling Mob on the Front Porch Stage (in the cafe) starting at 5:30 p.m., with local and touring artists The Wildwoods, Alyssa Hankey, The Ghostwrite and Danny Rectenwald on the music hall stage at 8 p.m.