In its past life The Carrie Furnace produced tons of iron per day but last weekend the now defunct historical landmark produced nothing but festival memories. Thrival Festival hosted its annual music festival at a caliber that most festivals take decades to get to. With the Monongahela River and the remaining remnants of The Carrie Furnace as its backdrop, Thrival Festival attracted hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people to jam to music in the middle of practically nowhere. Musicians, artists, food trucks, and even hula hooping, filled this field with noise. As someone that went both days I thoroughly enjoyed Thrival. They have zero competition in the Pittsburgh festival market and this year’s lineup of musicians and food trucks made it unnecessary to leave.
The first night rapper Logic left everything he had on the stage. When he had zero energy the crowd picked him up and he seemed so genuine about being tired that when he missed a beat, fans sang it for him. In fact one fan knew every word to every single sing and he gave her his hoodie for it. Even though hundreds of people showed up, Logic made it feel like an intimate performance.
Before Thrival I never heard of Tokimonsta. I grew up with two DJs in my house so I kind of know good music when I see it. She may be tiny but Tokimonsta brings the bass and energy and every second of her set felt like a party.
I’ve heard of Carnage but there’s a difference between hearing him and seeing him in his element. For that hour it felt like Thrival was a nightclub as everyone enjoyed dancing with strangers to the bass. DJs do not just spin records and play music, they live it and Carnage oozed passion in his element.
And then there was Wiz. The amount of people from Pittsburgh (and beyond) that showed out to show hometown love to Wiz Khalifa was crazy! This was my third time seeing Wiz live and this was by far my favorite. The visuals, the energy, the guest appearances, and the giant inflatables definitely made for one crazy performance. At one point one girl was actually crowd surfing. Everyone rapped every single word as if you couldn’t be a true Pittsburgher without knowing at least one Wiz song. It all seemed so peaceful yet close enough that once you left the private road that got you to The Carrie Furnace, you were snapped back to reality.
Thrival #5 was beyond a great time. There were dozens of performances and so much food that “What so you want to eat,” seemed like a game show question. Logistically they thought every detail through. Even traffic and the shuttles seemed to be smoother for Thrival goers this year. I enjoyed eating tacos from Doce Taqueria while live music played in the background as I wandered through the Voodoo Brewery Beer Garden.
If five was this incredible I have no idea how they’re going to top this in 2018. I would hate to be the person tasked with thinking bigger but I know they can do it. They seem to outdo themselves every single year and they take constructive criticism well. Don’t play yourself and just buy the blind faith tickets when they drop next year because if the trend continues, Thrival has nowhere else to go but up!