VIA Festival Brings Cutting-Edge Music and Art to Historic Union Trust Building
Union Trust features main event October 4, 7pm-2am.
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Pittsburgh, PA — Celebrating its 5th year, the Pittsburgh-based VIA Festival has found a fitting home for its main event in the historic Union Trust building at 501 Grant Street, downtown, on Saturday, October 4 from 7pm-2am. Admission is 18 and over with $15 tickets for students with valid ID, $25 general, or included with all-access or weekend pass. Tickets at via2014.com.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the iconic 11-story landmark was constructed during Pittsburgh’s Gilded Age, designed by renowned Pittsburgh architect Frederick J. Osterling, and built by industrialist Henry Clay Frick from 1915-1916. The building was purchased at a Sheriff’s auction in 2014 by the Boston-based Davis Companies, whose CEO Jonathan Davis is a Squirrel Hill native, and stands poised to enter its new phase.
“We are privileged to welcome the VIA Festival to The Union Trust Building and are delighted to host this cutting-edge, cultural experience,” says Larry Lenrow, Davis Companies spokesperson.
VIA will utilize a variety of spaces on the first floor and lower level which has not been open to the public. A central rotunda capped by a stained glass dome serves as the hub of the building’s interior, in which VIA will install a 30-foot bubble for immersive audio-visual environment in with support from Carnegie Mellon University’s school of Drama and Entertainment Technology Center. A former department store will be turned into a digital sculpture gallery – playfully conflating virtual and real life experiences through custom and hacked apps, indie video games, and virtual figure drawing classes utilizing the online platform Second Life.
The lower level of the Trust will be transformed into a multi-stage nightclub for audio-visual performances featuring breakout artists Zebra Katz (NYC), Blue Hawaii (Montreal), L-Vis 1990 (London), Traxman (Chicago), Cakes da Killa (NYC), Cities Aviv (Memphis) Diode Milliampere (Milwalkee) and Troxum (Pgh) whose sounds span icy electro-pop, lgbtq hip-hop, bass, house, techno, juke, chiptune, and more. Artists from Undervolt & Co., a visual label for experimental video art, have been paired with musicians and commissioned to create custom live visuals for each set.
“Our model has always been to BYOC (build your own club) and the Trust offers a treasure trove of possibilities, allowing us to activate spaces that are very architecturally different. We get to create a world that exists for one night only but still has a deep connection to the city,” says VIA co-founders Lauren Goshinski and Quinn Leonowicz.
The festival location is also particularly meaningful for VIA and its supporters like the Sprout Fund. “VIA launched in 2010 with the help of a Sprout Seed Award and we’re thrilled to see how the festival has evolved over the years to become one of Pittsburgh’s most anticipated annual events,” said Cathy Lewis Long, Executive Director of The Sprout Fund. “It’s especially exciting to be sponsoring VIA in 2014 as the festival takes over the Union Trust Building—the same location of Sprout’s Hothouse party in 2008.”
VIA 2014 draws festival-goers to a variety of locations around the city large and small like Carnegie Mellon University, Altar Bar, The Rex Theater, The Shop, Row House Cinema, Belvedere’s, Thunderbird Cafe, 720 Records, Cattivo and more. Over a dozen collaborations between local art, nightlife and educational organizations prove the festival is growing into its boots as a city-wide collaboration.
A consistently top-ranked festival VIA aims to be a “Festival As Laboratory” whose structure mutates every year. VIA is member of International Cities of Advanced Sound alongside notable peer festivals Mutek in Montreal / Mexico City / Barcelona, Unsound in Krakow, CTM in Berlin, Decibel in Seattle, and New Forms in Vancouver.
Other festival acts not to miss:
Deafheaven, Real Estate, Liturgy, Richard Devine, JD Samson, Bambounou, MikeQ, Kevin JZ Prodigy, Steve Gunn, Mark McGuire, Dan’l Boone, Boban Markovic Orkestar, Little People, Yppah, Code Orange, Circuits Des Yeux, Ellie Herring, Lattimore / Zeigler Duo, Giant Claw and more
Local: Badboxes, Jono Mi Lo, Slices, Ennui, Chase Smith, Rivka, Lungs Face Feet, White Reeves, Depth One, Edgar Um, Aaron Clark, Hounds of Hate, Ivies and more
Wednesday 9pm-2am: Kickoff Party with Pittsburgh vogue/ballroom collective True T, featuring MikeQ and special guests from Baltimore queer hip hop scene.
Friday 12pm-8pm: FREE music conference at Carnegie Mellon University with festival artists Richard Devine, Diode Milliampere, Ellie Herring, Chase Smith and workshop from Ableton
Thursday 7pm: “From Deep” film premiere of this award-winning documentary and discussion with Pittsburgh-based director Brett Kashmere, Jasiri X, and Mike White, sports writer for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Friday 7pm-2am: Lawrenceville event crawl offering up global beats, disco, house, hardcore punk, hardware-driven techno, and screening of queercore/riot grrrl documentary “She Said Boom: Story of 5th Column”
RECOGNITION & NICE WORDS
“VIA (where both video artists and musicians are the headliners) has grown to be a platform that showcases boundary-pushing art, technology and creative exploration, in an approachable setting.” – cool hunting
“In an oversaturated global festival market, what really sets VIA apart from its peers is a very apparent hunger to stretch what it means to be a festival in the 21st century.” – dummy magazine
“The festival was a model of innovation in both its planning and execution, lovingly integrated in the city proper.” – pittsburgh post-gazette
“It’s queer as hell, and we don’t just mean gay, (but we definitely also mean gay).” – huffington post
“You’ll know live visualism has arrived when visualists regularly ‘headline’ the way music does…VIA is doing it right.” – create digital motion
(2013, 2012, 2011, 2010) Top 10 October Festivals, Resident Advisor
2011 “VIA Week” proclamation by Pittsburgh City Council, Office of the Mayor
2010 Sprout Seed Award
About VIA: Redefining where the gallery meets the club, VIA is a festival and series of events that explore the intersection of music, new media art, and technology IRL and online.
2014 Partners: The Davis Companies, Mosites, Ableton, Magic Hat, Red Bull, Carnegie Mellon University (Schools of Art, Music, Computer Science, IDEATE, Center for Arts in Society, Frank-Raytche STUDIO for Creative Inquiry), The Sprout Fund, 720 Records, Pittsburgh Port Authority, The Urbanist, 92.1 WPTS, Nakturnal, Demosplash, Round Corner Cantina, Drusky Entertainment, Grey Area Productions, Row House Cinema, Detour, Obvious, Honcho, Pandemic, The Consortium.