Web Extra: Jim Donovan, Andre Costello, and Other Local Musicians Prepare for Deutschtown Music Festival
With more than 350 concerts over 2 days, Deutschtown Music Festival could feel overwhelming to the uninitiated festival-goer. However, we know better! To prove our point, we reached out to a few local musicians and at least one festival organizer to share their memories of past festivals and their hopes for year.
Jim Donovan (Jim Donovan & The Sun King Warriors)
This will be our first appearance at Deutschtown and we're fired up to be a part of this great event. The North Side has a special place in my heart. As a toddler, my mother would take me on the trolley to Allegheny Center, a small mall which now the home of Nova office complex. Later the area played a key role in the development of my first band Rusted Root. It was there at a studio called Audiomation where we recorded our first full length CD called "Cruel Sun" in 1992. This was the album that included the original version of "Send Me On My Way" which would go on to propel the band to fulfilling many life long dreams. One of these dreams was to play at Three Rivers Stadium which we did in 1995 with the Grateful Dead. Now my son Oliver and I regularly attend Pirate games on this side of the river. Deutschtown is a prime example of how Pittsburgh's neighborhoods can thrive when it's residents step up and decide to make the area more vibrant. I love that they choose to use music as their way of bringing energy and people to the place they call home. We're honored to be a part of it.
Jim Donovan & The Sun King Warriors // HughShows Stage at Foreland // Saturday at 12:00pm
Becki Gallagher (LoFi Delphi)
Deutschtown is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Roaming the Northside all day long, trekking across the bridges and running through the streets to find your favorite bands is such a blast! I always grab the pamphlet that shows all the bands/venues and make my plans for the day! I plot out which bands/acts I'm going to see and run around all day long!
Last year, while me and Andrew (from LoFi) were hanging out in the park seeing Strange Monsters, we look over and see someone in a LoFi Delphi shirt! That was the first time I've run into someone sporting our merch out in public! It was so exciting. It was our friend Thomas who writes for Punksburgh... But it was still so exciting either way!
I can't wait for the festival this year. LoFi is playing the main HughShows stage with a bunch of our friends and we couldn't be more grateful.
LoFi Delphi // HughShows Stage at Foreland // Saturday at 6:00pm
Byron Nash (BYRON NASH & PLANB)
In 2016, Byron Nash & Plan B was relatively new and finding our way. We were very excited to play the festival. We were booked in this little bar known for trouble. When I pulled up, a fight broke out that started inside and spilled into the streets. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous, but was determined to rock this gig. This show was unique because PLANB is a five piece set up but our keyboard player Randraiz Wharton and other guitarist Evan Thorsen had gigs booked so decided to rock as a three piece. The bar was long and narrow, smoky as hell and when we started sound check the soundman said "Are you guys cool?" We were like, "Yeah buddy." He then said, "Cool. Here's the volume and mixers, I have to run to another stage so have a good set!" and bounced!
We had to run our own sound and were about to hit and all of a sudden a humongous group of people came in. What had happened is that the other stages were being harassed and shut down for noise complaints so the audience scattered and filled every other venue. Because of that unfortunate situation, we ended up being packed to capacity and had a lot of people check us out who probably would have missed us. We played a grimy, gritty, and funky set that was a result of being so stripped down. It to this date is one of our fiercest performances. We loved it, smoke, sweat, fights and all!
Byron Nash & Plan B // HughShows Stage at Foreland // Saturday at 5:00pm
Addi Twigg (The Telephone Line)
The Telephone Line played our first Deutschtown MF in 2015 and had no idea what to expect. We got slotted for Verdetto's, which turned out to be pretty tight for a full band! We weren't sure how to set up, there was a weird wall to work around, and the drum backline was running late. Not to mention the venue is on the outskirts so we weren't sure anyone would show! But when it came time to play, everything fell together: the sound tech nailed it, we made the space work, the crowd showed up and rallied, and the DMF volunteers took great care of us -- including one of them literally giving us the DMF shirt right off his back!
This just might be the biggest annual gathering of people who love music in Pittsburgh -- musicians, sound engineers, volunteers, fans -- everyone comes together to celebrate. We're honored to have been a part of it for the last few years and can't wait for this year!
The Telephone Line // HughShows Stage at Foreland // Saturday at 8:00pm
Andre Costello (Andre Costello & The Cool Minors)
For whatever reason, that first year, I ended up going by myself (I don't have any friends). I didn't perform that year, because I hadn't met Cody. I remember popping in and out of all these venues here and there, checking out this band and that band. At the time, I thought I had a fix on every band in town, but man was I mistaken. There was a band in every space, nook and cranny, and every band local. I remember I ended up at James Street Ballroom at the end of the night. It was about 110 degrees in there. They hadn't renovated at all yet, so the place still had that 1920's stage that ran the whole width of the venue against that back wall of the room. The thing was only about 4 feet deep, and that long, so the band set up in a line that spanned the whole thing. I remember thinking how great is to be in Pittsburgh at this moment in time, and how lucky we are to have such great people working together, making music, and being kind and supportive of each other.
Andre Costello & The Cool Minors // HughShows Stage at Foreland // Saturday at 10:00pm
Mac Inglis (Buffalo Rose)
My most fond memory of DMF was in 2017, I was running sound at the Pittsburgh Winery Satellite Stage in an old closed down bar (I think the double r). We had been having a fantastic day loaded with some of my favorite bands playing their best performances when Tim Gaber, of the Winery, came up to me and said the last band had cancelled. He didn’t look worried but he was definitely thinking hard about what to do to keep the music going late. (This was one of the latest venues to have music.)
A few hours later he came up to me again and told me that he may be able to get Clinton Clegg to come and play a secret surprise solo acoustic set for the stages closing act. I was so excited; I was going to have a front row seat and get to mix the great Commonheart front man in an intimate setting. I was giddy. Tim said “let’s keep it quiet for now.” Around 10pm Tim confirmed that he was gonna make this happen.
After a long, long day of non-stop mixing, and having the venue packed for every single set we had, we finally made it to the last set. Apparently Tim had been spreading rumors around the festival during the evening but no one really knew what was coming. The venue was shoulder to shoulder packed. I could barely get around to set up the stage. Clinton showed up with a guitar with no pickup and his fancy black vocal mic. So I miked up his guitar and turned up the faders and the crowed went dead silent.
Clinton’s massive soulful voice and tender yet powerful playing filled every inch of the room. Few people spoke throughout the whole set. Everyone was fixated on this crazy honest man seated in front of them spilling his soul. It was late, we were all tired, and it was perfect.
After I tweaked the board I went and sat on stage left of him on the ground. It was the only place left with room. I looked up and like the crowed was fixated: I was 2 feet away from an unplugged, unadvertised, late night, spontaneous moment of musical magic. What a way to finish one of the best days of music I’ve seen. I’ll never forget it. That’s what DMF is really about.
Buffalo Rose // HughShows Stage at Foreland // Saturday at 4:00pm
Hugh Twyman (HughShows - Festival Organizer)
I have a unique position in that I have an inside view as the band coordinator for the festival and I am such a fan of the local music scene. This is my third year being given the opportunity to be lucky enough to do this, I am still awestruck on festival day at how much musical talent we have in Pittsburgh because it is concentrated, right there, right then. The last two years I literally had to stop at one point in the day and take a moment to reflect on what was happening. I get overwhelmed for a second (in the best way) at all that is going on around me.
Being a DIY festival, it cannot be overstated that the success of the festival depends on many, many people but in my opinion, mainly on the bands that perform. Without their professionalism, their willingness to be flexible, and the music that they bring, the event would be a disaster. The organizers, the volunteers, the fans are all great but my heart has always and will always be with these musicians.