Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pittsburgh's Fire Arts Festival, Pyrotopia returns in October with paid admission charge.

I had lots of hopes for this event, which is the brain child of CMU robotics geek, performance artist and musician Eric Singer. Eric himself told me, his goal was to create the largest east coast festival of all things fire and light related- ala- "Burning-Man."

The reality, I saw a few years ago at the Pump House grounds in Homestead was pretty amazing, but far short of that goal. Most contributors, Phat Man Dee, local fire dancers and CMU artists like Singer were local. The logistics of the free festival were daunting with traffic backed up and people walking a mile or more to the site. While the site was inspiring, large crowds, small spaces and fire breathing robots don't always mix well.

This time they are trying a different site and a fairly steep $25 admission charge. ($35 at the gate)

 The second annual PYROTOPIA Festival of Fire Arts will be held on Saturday, October 12 at Westfield Park in Munhall Borough. The one-day event includes children’s activities and artist demonstrations in the afternoon, and fire performances, art installations and other fire and light acts after dark.
 PYROTOPIA showcases the majesty of fire, light and electricity in the arts, bringing together such diverse practices as fire dancing, blacksmithing, glass art, and LED installations.
Over 4000 people attended the first festival in April 2012. This year, the event moves to a larger venue with bleacher seating near the Waterfront. “Westfield Park is a great space that will offer festival patrons an amazing experience,” said PYROTOPIA founder Eric Singer. “The large field offers plenty of room for a variety of acts and spectacles which attendees will be able to experience up close.”
 Festival installations will include Flaming Simon, a fire-driven version of the electronic game "Simon" created by Singer that was the hit of last year’s festival. Stage performers include local talents Apex (fire hooping) and Steel Town Fire (fire dancing). Phoenix Fire Productions from Indianapolis will also return.
The evening will be co-hosted by jazz chanteuse Phat Man Dee and performance artist Andrew the Impaled. DJ Zombo will play special sets of fire-themed music throughout the night.

On Saturday afternoon, free make-and-take activities for children will be led by Assemble, a community space for arts and technology based in Garfield’s Penn Avenue arts district.

I am very glad they are trying to continue with this difficult, ambitious festival.

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