Since 1994, the small community of Cheswick has come alive with the sound of blues music, but it isn’t by coincidence. Over two days in June during summer, the Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival attracts some of the region’s best musicians and blues lovers from across the state and further afield.
The Pittsburgh Blues Festival is held at the Shriners Pavilion in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, and runs all day and well into the evening on both days. In the past, the event has attracted top blues performers such as Spectrum, Walter Trout, and the Rhythm Aces.
Money raised from this festival goes to Band Together Pittsburgh, a local non-profit organization that teaches the playing, writing, and recording of music, as well as DJing, to people on the autism spectrum. The worthwhile cause is one of many reasons why hundreds of visitors descend upon Shriners Way along Russellton Road, for the festival.
While the blues bring older music lovers from across the state, it also attracts the younger generation. In recent years, the Pittsburgh Blues Festival has incorporated a KidZone with story-telling, music presentations, crafts, face painting, and healthy snacks. This event is truly one for all.
If it has been some time since you treated the family to a trip away in the motorhome, then why not now? Summer is coming, and the first blues performer is about to take to the stage. There’s no time to waste.
In the past, the Pittsburgh Blues and Roots Festival has been free to enter with a food donation, but that can change every year. Be ready with cash at the entrance gate in case you have to buy your tickets. If you do need to purchase tickets for each member of the family, you can rest assured that any money will be going to a worthwhile charity.
Cheswick, Pennsylvania, is a stone’s throw from Allegheny Islands State Park along the Allegheny River, and within a short driving distance of Pittsburgh.
Cheswick is a small borough in Allegheny County and spans over half a mile. It’s bordered by Harmar Township, Springdale Township, and Springdale Borough. It’s also central to major cities, such as Cleveland, Ohio.
The best way to get to Cheswick is via the Allegheny Valley Expressway, which provides the fastest and most direct route. However, in the case of congestion, a resource like 511PA may be able to provide quicker or alternative ways.
The event venue, Syria Shrine Center, is in the heart of Cheswick, where the Pennsylvania Toll Road and I-76 meet.
Onsite paved parking is plentiful for cars, but these spaces are marked out for small vehicles only. Those who have their motorhome as their primary mode of transport may like to ask the organizers about alternative parking areas or look for parking areas off-site. Nearby businesses and roadsides may prove sufficient for campervans and even Class A motorhomes.
If you would prefer not to have the stress of finding somewhere to park your campervan, then why not look at the available public transportation options? Both taxis and rideshare services are in operation in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, which means you can catch a ride from your RV campground nearby for convenience.
Syria Shrine Center is well set up to host the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, but not so much for camping. While you won’t be able to keep your campervan at the venue overnight, you will find plenty of RV campgrounds near the Syria Shrine Center to suit your needs. Expand your search to within 50 miles of Cheswick so that you can be within reach of natural attractions like Deer Lakes Park near Russellton and Northmoreland Park near Apollo.
You might be surprised to know that it’s not all that challenging to find an RV campground near the Pittsburgh Blues Festival. Take Madison / Pittsburgh S.E. KOA Journey, for example. This high-quality establishment is within 35 miles of the event, but it also well-appointed to other fun things to do in Pittsburgh, such as the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. If you are on your way out of Cheswick after either festival, you can also spend a night or two camping and hiking at Black Moshannon State Park.
The conservative size of the Pittsburgh Blues Festival venue means you can stow away your scooters, skateboards, and golf carts. The best way to get around this festival is on foot, and you will need those same feet to dance to those smooth blues tunes! The vehicle parking area is a short walk from the main stage, KidZone, and vendors.
If you need an excuse to pull your favorite sundress out of storage, then an RV trip to Cheswick for the Pittsburgh Blues Festival is it. In June, Cheswick experiences some beautiful sunny days. While rainfall breaks up a few of those days, there is plenty of warm weather to put a smile on your face. Therefore, you can attend the festival then explore the area’s many attractions, such as the Allegheny National Forest to the northeast about two and a half hours.
Given that the Pittsburgh Blues Festival is an all-day event, your comfort is paramount. Some chairs and tables will be available, but organizers encourage you to bring your own camping chairs as well. You can’t, however, bring coolers or beverages. Guests can buy something to drink and eat from the onsite vendors with cash.
The Pittsburgh Blues Festival is an outdoor event held in the summer. That can only mean one thing: sun safety. Bring your best SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sun hat. You can purchase water onsite if needed to remain hydrated. If you have not parked your motorhome somewhere convenient and close, then bring any prescription medication you need with you as well. Always travel with a fully-stocked first aid kit aboard your motorhome.
RV camping in summer opens the door wide open for delicious treats. Experiment with different food types on your barbeque or onboard kitchen appliances. Why not give banana bread pancakes a try, or a veggie frittata, breakfast sandwiches, and summer rolls?
While camping and cooking rules can differ for each establishment, there are plenty of ways to cook once you get to your RV campground. There is also a grocery store within six miles of Syria Shiners for convenience.
If you need a break from the beautiful blues, then wander into the heart of Cheswick and see what delightful eateries await your inspection. Along the banks of the Allegheny River, there is a myriad of different options, such as a bar and grill by Acme Park, and bistro meals by the Watercrest Business Park. You will never be too far from somewhere ready to serve you a hearty meal on your travels.
As guests are not allowed to bring coolers, food, and beverages into the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, rest assured that the organizers cater to the hungry masses. There are vendors set up, with some accepting credit cards, to provide you with all manner of delicious treats. Don’t forget to withdraw cash before your visit to broaden your choice options.
While you can bring your wallet, a camping chair, and a few essential items, security ask that you refrain from bringing bulky bags, coolers, or anything else that can impinge on other people’s comfort and viewing experience. There will be security officials at this event’s entrance, as well as some throughout the viewing area. You may approach them if you have any questions or concerns.
Once you leave the festival, any other questions or queries can be addressed by the Harmar Township Police Department within a mile of the festival site.
With temperatures fluctuating between 55 degrees-Fahrenheit and over 80 degrees in June in Cheswick and around Pittsburgh, there will be every reason to have a smile on your face as you travel. The world is your oyster, with many state parks like Sproul State Forest and Elk State Forest, the perfect areas to visit one the festival is over for a day trip. Don’t forget to travel with extra water aboard your RV and make sure your cooling units are in tip-top shape.
With so many parks and natural attractions in the area, it’s not uncommon for travelers to find themselves with cuts, bites, lumps, and bumps that require medical attention. Make your way from the Pittsburgh Blues Festival to the nearest hospital within ten miles in Natrona Heights. If it’s an emergency, dial 911 for fast assistance.