Sound Scene Express

Spirit Summer Recess Music and Food Festival Will Bring Eclectic Lineup to Lawrenceville

Flyer illustration/design by Joe Mruk

Pittsburgh’s original local music party, RANT, might be a few weeks away, but we won’t have to wait that long for the festival bug to arrive in Lawrenceville. Happening multilevel venue/pizza restaurant Spirit is hosting the daylong Summer Recess Food and Music Festival this Saturday, August 12th, and the lineup is stacked. With three free outdoor stages, eight food and drink trucks, pop-up art/music/clothing vendors, and an indoor afterparty that will run past 1 AM (both up- and downstairs), it will be an excellent antidote to those summer doldrums.

While local rock standbys such as Honey, Dinosoul, Pet Clinic, and Slugss are on the bill, Summer Recess offers an eclectic selection of acts, spanning a wide range of genres. Soul, hip-hop, folk, electronic, funk, dance, afrobeat, and post-punk will all be represented at the festival. Spirit has even recruited some out-of-town bands for the occasion: NYC natives High Waisted (surf rock) and the Super Yamba Band (psychedelic/afrobeat) from Brooklyn. This mix gives you the chance to come for the artists you know and love, and stay for surprising new favorites. (Trust me: You haven’t heard the full potential of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” until you’ve heard Lyndsey Smith and the Soul Distribution cover it. They’re on the Main Stage at 4:15.)

Too often, local rap acts are few and far between at festivals like this one, if they’re present at all. But with Summer Recess, this is decidedly not the case. $7 gets you into the afterparty on both levels, with the upstairs Hall offering a full night of hip-hop performances and dance-friendly DJ sets. This showcase is hosted by the clothing company FAResh Brand, in the third iteration of their own mini-festival known as “The City.” Tribe Eternal Music Group, Livefromthecity, and Benji and the Paul Keys Band are the live acts kicking things off, with sets from Seams, Slim tha DJ, and DJ Bamboo spinning from 11 PM onwards. With one flat price for both the Hall and the Lodge, you can easily stop in and check out what this aspect of the Pittsburgh scene, which may be less familiar to you, has to offer. (And get some dancing in while you’re at it!) If you can’t swing the afterparty, the funk/hip-hop group East Liberty Quarters will be performing on the Discoteca outdoor stage at 7 PM.

So whether you’re getting impatient for RANT, still reminiscing about Deutschtown, or just in the mood for some excellent, eclectic, mostly-local live music and art, Summer Recess has something to cure what ails you. Come by 51st and Butler Street tomorrow, August 12th, and see what all the fuss is about.

The outdoor portion of the festival is free to attend. It’s open to the public at 11:30 AM, with the music starting at noon, and the first 100 arrivals receiving a free Summer Recess T-shirt, thanks to the CommonWealth Press and Straub Brewery. (Fellow sponsors include Port Authority, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, and Ole Smokey Distillery.) The afterparty opens up at 8:30, with tickets costing $7 at the door. See the complete schedule below, and visit the event page for more details.

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About The Author

Melanie Stangl

Melanie, 28, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and has been contributing both articles and photos to Sound Scene Express since April 2016. Her work has previously been published on Huffington Post Women,, and in the New York University textbook Mercer Street. Her goals include diving deeper into music journalism, traveling the world, and eventually being financially stable enough to own two dogs.

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