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New music VIA fest draws notice

Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 6:16 p.m.

It seems like just about every city, town, hamlet and erstwhile cow pasture has at least one music festival now, so it's getting hard to figure out which ones are truly worthwhile.

If you have at least a passing interest in new music — and can get past the idea that guitars aren't actually required — then Pittsburgh's VIA Festival is pretty hard to beat. The world outside is starting to notice, too — dance/electronic music authority Resident Advisor just put it in its top 10 festivals in the world for October, and they're not alone.

Now in its fourth year, this year's festival goes from Oct. 1 to 6 in venues all over the city. From teenage rap phenom Chief Keef, to electro-goth giants Adult, to 13-piece African desert-blues powerhouse Tal National, the musical scope of VIA is vast. Other performers include Actress, KiNK, Sasha Go Hard, US Girls, Container, Richard Pinhas, Forma, Aaron Dilloway, Wise Blood, Sharon Needles, Banjee Report, Vessel, Special Effect, Shisa, Total Freedom, Jimmy Edgar, Natasha Kmeto and Jason Burns.

Venues include the Rex Theater, Altar Bar, Brillobox, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Museum of Art and some yet-to-be-announced pop-up sites.

VIA stands out not just for its cutting-edge musical curation, but its seamless integration — just about every musical artist is paired with a visual artist also at the peak of their powers. The result is, more often than not, a wholly original collision of audio-visual stimuli, that isn't likely to be seen before or replicated. This year, there's a host of tie-ins with the prestigious Carnegie International exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art.


Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7901 or

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