For the past six years, VIA has been bringing some of the most forward-thinking and innovative artists to Pittsburgh for a four-day festival that time and time again encourages the intersection of new music, art, and technology in innovative and perceptive ways. This year, founders Lauren Goshinski and Quinn Leonowicz set the bar with one of their most focused and thoughtfully curated line-ups yet, with 40-plus artists, many making their Pittsburgh debut, and 15 main events that bring in mediums of sound, performance, new media, sculpture, and film over the course of four days from October 06-09.
What VIA does that other festivals have lacked is intentionally showcased female-identified artists, LGBTQ artists, and artists of color. This is exemplified in the heavy-hitting headliners of 2016: influential post-punk band ESG, the revolutionary MC Rakim who will be performing “Paid In Full” in its entirety, and DJ/model/trans activist/artist Juliana Huxtable (who, for the second time, will be bringing her New York City-based queer dance party Shock Value with her.)
The other performers on the bill are just as exciting and diverse: Chino Amobi, Junglepussy, Empress Of, DJ Ben UFO, Aye Nako, Rabit, Fee Lion, Ghost Cop, and Lee Bannon are just a handful of the 40-plus artists that will be at VIA this year.
Throughout the weekend, the Weird Reality VR Salon will be showcasing projects and workshops from national and local artists that explore the intersection of art and technology through virtual reality. Also at Ace Hotel on Saturday will be the Panel and Showcase Mothership: The Future is Female. Organized with Women In Sound founder Madeleine Campbell, the panel will celebrate and discuss identity, creation, labor, and community through the lens of speaking artists ESG, Aye Nako, Junglepussy, and Juliana Huxtable.
If you’re planning on taking your partying into after-hours, Hot Mass will have you covered with events after Friday’s and Saturday’s main showcases, featuring movers and shakers Midland, Lady Monix, Eris Drew, and Bret Bowerman that will keep the rhythm going.
Running October 06-09, VIA will be experimenting with the location this year, with Ace Hotel in East Liberty acting as the festival’s home base and hosting satellite events at venues like Roboto, Bunker Projects, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and East Liberty Presbyterian Church.
Bands, DJs, and producers are paired with visual artists for one-of-a-kind performances that may only be once in a lifetime. The opportunity to merge a unique music lineup with out-there video art, new developments in interactivity, allows the VIA festival to mutate every year in a way that’s fresh and always a little unexpected. Expect to participate in a valuable conversation about the roles and relationships music, race, gender, gentrification, tech, and Pittsburgh all have with one another. And also, enjoy what will undoubtedly be some just purely good music and parties.
Tune in to WRCT 88.3 FM today at noon to hear Malex showcase some of the artists that we’re most excited to see perform this weekend!
More information about 2016 VIA Festival can be found at http://www.via-festival.com/.