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Pop Filter Hot Pick: Pittonakatonk May Day BBQ

Pittonakatonk is Sat., May 3 at 3PM at the Vietnam Veterans Pavilion in Schenley Park.

For Pittsburgh music fans who can usually find local bands that hit at 
many different points across the sonic spectrum, the city’s growing brass scene has been a sight to behold. Coupled with the globetrotting DJ sets that regularly bring Balkan brass music to the dance floor with the first Friday Pandemic get-downs at Brillobox, bands like eight-piece brass/accordion/percussion ensemble Lung Face Feet have been steadily growing followings with their energetic take on Eastern European folk music. Now, local DJ/Pandemic host Pete Spynda has taken his love of brass music and turned it toward organizing Pittonakatonk, a May Day BBQ and mini music festival that will feature both local and national world music groups for a free concert Saturday, May 3 at the Vietnam Veterans Pavilion in Schenley Park.

“Pittsburgh is so rich in Eastern European roots and I feel a festival of this music celebrates those roots and how they have grown,” says Spynda. “My goal is to showcase bands that are feeding off of the traditions and adding their own spin to it.” 

Along with Lungs Face Feet, Spynda has corralled local batucada (Brazilian/African percussion)  group Timbeleza, Chicago-based “brass mashup Balkan dance” ensemble Black Bear Combo, Providence, RI’s 19-piece brass group The What? Cheer Brigade,  the nationally renown Balkan-New Orleans brass influenced Detroit Party Marching Band, and a few others. For Spynda, the time was right in Pittsburgh to get brass music out of the 21+ music clubs, move it to a more communal space, and put the city’s scene on the map.  

I'm glad this time the event is happening outdoors in a public spot where everyone can come instead of a small club,” he says. “I've been promoting Balkan brass band shows in Pittsburgh for over eight years and it’s finally time we had a festival. Boston has Honk, Providence has PRonk and now Pittsburgh has PITTONAKATONK.”

The event is free and while BBQ will be available, attendees are encouraged to bring a food dish of their liking and participate in the potluck. For more information, visit Pittonakatonk’s Indie GoGo crowdfunding page (they raised $3,000 to help with costs that are broken down into a nice pie chart), or visit the Facebook event listing here.
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