While the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival may seem to take center stage on the city’s summer festival line-up, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival presented by Citizens Bank deserves its own spot on any music lover’s calendar. We’ll be there this week (6/16-6/18) soaking up the early summer sun while grooving to some of the world’s best in modern jazz — and, of course, capping it off with bites and brews from some of our favorite eateries Downtown. Here’s what we have in mind for this year’s JazzLive International Festival.

Friday, June 16: Jazz Crawl  x Rhythm & Groove

The first night of JazzLive is a great chance for jazz newbies to check out a bunch of different acts all at once. A good way to navigate the Jazz Crawl is to zero in on your preferred food and libations because musicians are scheduled to perform at Andys, Meat and Potatoes, Revel + Roost and a number of other Downtown spots.  See the full list here. Get there early to enjoy happy hour specials and be sure to grab some grub to fuel up for the Rhythm & Groove Party.  Now in its second year, the party features live music all evening with chef-inspired tastings and cocktails at the August Wilson Center.  We will be giving away two tickets to this action packed party.  To enter, like and tag a friend in our Instagram post! Winner picked 6/15 at 5pm. 

Saturday, June 17: Penn Ave Stage x Angélique Kidjo

Make a night of it on Saturday night by catching the festival’s headliners on the downtown Penn Avenue stages. Don’t miss the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra’s very own Artistic Director Sean Jones on trumpet starting at 5:45 pm, and then cool off with a short walk to the August Wilson Center for three-time Grammy Award™-winner Angélique Kidjo (tickets here). If you’re looking for a seat and food other than the festival’s food truck fare in between sets, re-fuel with tacos & tequila at täkō or a burger at the new BRGR, just a couple blocks away.

Sunday, June 18: Tia Fuller

She may have made a name for herself touring with Beyoncé, but Tia Fuller is also a superstar in her own right. Head out into the festival early on Sunday to check out the sweet sounds of her saxophone starting at 4:30 p.m. Afterward, catch the sunset along the river with some takeout from Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, a Downtown staple, or head upstairs for a rooftop cocktail at Sienna Mercato where you can still hear the music from the Penn Ave. If you’re feeling a second wind coming on, head back down to the Penn Stage for Hudson, a New York-based band whose genre-blurring jazz tunes make the perfect soundtrack for winding down a Sunday evening in Pittsburgh.

All shows with the exception of those at the August Wilson Center are smack in the middle of the Cultural District with two stages set up on 9th Street & Penn Ave.  We highly recommend bringing a blanket or some camping chairs and some refreshments (rosé in a solo cup anyone?) to ensure you enjoy all these amazing (and like Arts Festival, FREE!) performances to their fullest!