New American Union Festival
Like the festival site -- an old steel mill that was raised and re-built upon -- each band attempted a similar brand of resuscitation, albeit of the musical variety.
New American Union FestivalCity: Pittsburgh, PA
Venue: SouthSide Works
Every city in America, it seems, can currently lay claim to some sort of annual hyped-up music festival. The latest metropolis to sneak onto the scene is Pittsburgh, which recently played host to the slightly bafflingly titled, New American Union Festival. While the name elicited question marks from concert goers, the price and line-up prompted many punctuation points. Curated by Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the festival brought together ten bands -- including headliners The Roots and Bob Dylan -- for a price that, outside of this festival environment, wouldn’t have covered seeing either headliner on the regular touring circuit. For just $25 a day, attendees also received a t-shirt, as well as a re-usable plastic water bottle and free H2O fill-up stations. Like the festival’s bill, which included acts as diverse as Gnarls Barkley and Black Mountain, Pittsburgh is similarly eclectic. Walking up East Carson Street to the festival site, the Hooters and Houlihan’s of Station Side gave way to momentary dereliction, which turned into a strip of eccentric stores, then bars, and then to a Disney-fied area known as SouthSide Works. A former steel mill that was raised and re-built upon, the SouthSide Works currently houses the headquarters of American Eagle Outfitters, the festival’s main sponsors. Alongside their offices are stores and restaurants. It’s part cool, part hip, and part suburban shopping mall in an urban setting; its central square is, after all, dominated by a giant Cheesecake Factory. The development’s parking lot hosted the inaugural New American Union Festival, and much like this redevelopment, which breathed life into an abandoned area, each band playing the festival attempted their own peculiar brand of resuscitation: The blues for The Black Keys and The Raconteurs, hip-hop for The Roots, and his own songs for Bob Dylan. For some, the CPR proved fruitful, but others were left blowing in the wind. Day 1