Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Preparing for Eventful Summer Famed Salsa Band, 'Furries' Coming

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Preparing for Eventful Summer Famed Salsa Band, 'Furries' Coming

Article excerpt

Olympic hopefuls, furry friends and an internationally acclaimed salsa band are just a few of the attractions projected to draw tourists to Pittsburgh this summer.

VisitPittsburgh, a tourism industry nonprofit, gathered business professionals Thursday at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel to coordinate this summer's events.

Craig Davis, VisitPittsburgh's president and CEO, said the idea of the third annual luncheon is to get those in the hospitality industry on the same page.

"When we bring it and put it all on one script, you get into a situation where -- perennial favorites coupled with big conventions and Buccos baseball -- these are reasons for people to come into town," Mr. Davis said.

June is full of free events: The Three Rivers Arts Festival from June 6-15, Pittsburgh Pride on June 14 and 15, and the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival from June 20-22.

Also free is the EQT Pittsburgh Regatta from July 2-4, which will include powerboat races, stunt pogo demonstrations and a performance by '80s rock group Journey, with its new singer, Arnel Pineda.

Highlights of the summer include:

Jazz

Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival added El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico to its live music lineup. Janis Burley Wilson, director of jazz programming with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said the band, which has sold more than 150 million records over 50 years, is the salsa-lover's equivalent of the Beatles and will play a free show at the height of its fame.

"You're going to get a lot of die-hard salsa fans, as well as those who are aware of their legend," Ms. Burley Wilson said.

She added that, in previous years, 18 percent of the festival's audience came from out of state, a percentage she expected will increase this year.

For those unfamiliar with salsa, or jazz in general, Ms. Burley Wilson gave a piece of advice: "You need to be ready to dance. Because, at least for our festival last year, Penn Avenue turned into a dance floor. …

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