Today, events try to appeal to everyone they can to push attendance, drive sales, and fake statistics for next year’s marketing brochure. The Polish Hills Arts Fest said, “F*ck Off” to all of those things. Locals grabbed a PBR and took to the streets to be with their community.
In its eighth year, the DIY arts festival provided free multi-genre music all day. Artists and vendors urged browsers, “Don’t give a damn about a greenback dollar. Spend it fast as you can.” From blacksmiths, potters, and Skuzzy, the booths were salt of the earth punks, or Salt in the Wound as they refer to themselves, who worked with their hands. Activities were even setup for those without the bootlegged ‘All Access’ Patches sewn to the jackets.
Ahem. Putting the tongue in cheek punk jokes aside now.
The festival brought a lot of attention to Brereton Street near Dobson. The Timbeleza Brazilian samba drummers and dancers stirred up the crowd. The Hills and the Rivers played some soothing tunes. Assemble had a pop up for kids focused on STEAM education. Director of the project Nina Barbuto commented, “Everyone in the community comes out of the woodwork. I see old friends and new. As summerfests go, this is one I look forward to.”
As Pete Spynda puts it, “This event celebrates the longstanding ethnic history of Polish Hill as well as its progressive growth within the last few years.” Spynda who ran sound and organizes events around Pittsburgh including Weather Permitting and Pittonkatonk continued, “The arts fest strength lies in how it seamlessly bridges the gap between generations. Leslie Clague and the PHCA have really turned it into an amazing event.”