Entertainment manager Da’Lyn Bauman was meeting with Ghost Hounds, a Pittsburgh rock and blues band she manages.
Music brought a harmony between them.
“We quickly learned how drastically different our musical experiences had been, but the through-line that tied us all together was a deep love for storytelling and timeless musicianship,” said Bauman, president of Maple House, a Pittsburgh-based record label and media company. “We were distributing our records independently through Maple House Records at the time, but no real infrastructure existed.”
Bauman invited the Ghost Hounds and other bands to be part of the first Maple House Music + Arts Festival on May 21 at Hartwood Acres Park, located in Hampton and Indiana townships. The festival is being produced by Elevation Festivals, an event production company based in Ohio.
Headlining musical acts include Jason Isbell + The 400 Unit, Black Pumas, Lake Street Dive, Elle King and the aforementioned Ghost Hounds, who recently have toured with The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top and Bob Seger.
Proceeds from the one-day event will benefit Allegheny County Parks.
The festival is looking for vendors from artists to breweries to restaurants. Times will be announced at a later date.
Bauman said that the hope is the festival inspires an even greater community around the local music scene rooted in rock and blues. This came about from a conversation she had with guitarist and billionaire Thomas Tull, who founded the Ghost Hounds with Brooklyn native guitarist Johnny Baab.
“I said, ‘I really believe we can get behind artists that share our core values and create a label that values true musicianship and artist development; we won’t sign often, but we’ll sign strong,’ ” Bauman said. “He (Tull) supported it. I called some of the best and brightest people I know in music, with shared values, and Maple House Records was officially born.”
Tull supports Maple House Records, and Maple House Records is funding the festival.
There is no better way to launch a record label than to put on a music festival curated for the community, Bauman said, especially when people haven’t had the chance to experience it live in more than two years.
“Coming off the pandemic, we all need this,” she said. “Music alone is a very unifying experience. We’re very proud of the lineup and excited to be donating all proceeds to Allegheny Parks. A strong park system is pivotal to the community, and Allegheny does a good job.”
Bauman said she would like to see it become an annual event.
She chose Hartwood Acres Park because “it’s a beautiful outdoor space that is well-maintained and provides an atmosphere to create a true ‘festival’ that’s a bit out of the norm for Pittsburgh.”
When selecting the entertainment, she said they considered bands “you can’t place where the music should go in the traditional sense of format, but you know you love the musicianship, storytelling that drives it.”
“Getting people together to listen to a day of music is a fun experience for any lover of the arts,” Bauman said. “And it helps when the food and drinks are flowing, too.”
General admission tickets are $59. VIP tickets are $199 and are available at maplehousefest.com.
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