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Deutschtown Music Festival expands to 2 days, 189 acts

| Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 12:27 p.m.
Folks gather at the Deutschtown Music Festival on the North Side, on Saturday, July 11, 2015. This year, the festival has grown to two days with 189 bands.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Folks gather at the Deutschtown Music Festival on the North Side, on Saturday, July 11, 2015. This year, the festival has grown to two days with 189 bands.

Pittsburgh's Deutsch‑town Music Festival wasn't supposed to get this big.

When the event, now one of the city's largest music festivals, began in 2013, it was intended to be a modest community gathering including a dozen bands playing on the city's North Side.

An innocent dozen turned into four dozen that year, which multiplied to 98 bands in 2014, which grew again to 125 bands at last year's festival.

This year? The formerly one-day event needed to add another day of music to fit the 189 bands scheduled to play in front of an expected 20,000 visitors July 8 and 9.

”It's really humbling to see how large this thing has gotten,” co-founder Cody Walters says.

This year's festival, which is free to the public, will kick off with live music on the evening of July 8 and continue all-day July 9. Performances will be held at seven outdoor stages and 15 indoor venues, including the North Side's Penn Brewery, James Street Gastropub and Arnold's Tea.

The festival's eclectic lineup of musical performances, which includes everything from punk rock to country to gospel rap and everything in between, allows visitors plenty of chances to discover new interests.

“People are really looking to discover something new. It's impossible to not see someone new and love someone new,” Walters says.

Walters attributes much of the show's exponential growth to Pittsburgh's expanding and diversifying live music scene, which has been given room to grow by events such as the Deutschtown festival.

“As we have grown, the scene itself has just gotten so diverse and big,” Walters says. “There's now live music somewhere every night of the week in Pittsburgh that is of good quality.”

Although many of the performing bands have local roots, the event has begun to attract performers outside the city, including Flat Boi, an Afro pop and EDM artist from Cape Town, South Africa, who will be visiting the North Side in between performances in the African countries of Mozambique and Namibia.

This year's event also will include plenty of off-stage attractions, including 17 food trucks, a beer garden and activities for children.

Matthew Zabierek is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7893 or

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