Tl;dr: Thrival Music Festival is not my problem. Please stop calling.
It brings me no joy hearing the problems with a Pittsburgh music Festival are public.
This week I’ve received calls from agencies, promoters, etc. about the trouble with Thrival Music and Innovation Festival. Naturally, with any turmoil there is confusion. Let’s clarify. Thrival is owned by Thrill Mill. They’re a 501(c)3 nonprofit. And in my case, I am not working on Thrival.
I had been. Given my long history producing festivals, Thrival seemed like the perfect match. Last fall I began work as a Producer for Thrival. For months, I worked with Thrill Mill clearing the path for the festival. But when it came time to lay out the blueprint for Thrival, I left for two reasons.
The first reason: Dan Law secretly booked the musical talent and hid it from the team. He then withheld the contractual terms. This surprised everyone and halted our progress. He made it clear that Thrival was his baby and a platform to elevate his career. This left no room for the community to design the festival Pittsburgh would be proud of.
The second reason: Thrill Mill engaged in censorship. Before a performance they asked Pat the Bunny, one of the nicest human beings imaginable, to delete his statements and change his lyrics. If he did not, they would bar him from the space. Ironically, I later moved his performance to a church so that he could express himself freely. I won’t work on a festival that will censor an artist’s creative expression in any way. So I resigned from Producer of Thrival.
Months passed since I thought about Thrival. Then the inquiries started this week.
People are wondering what my new role will be since Thrill Mill is shopping out full production of Thrival. This, compounded with rumors of Dan Law’s job search in the international relations field, caused a lot of confusion. Is he throwing his baby out with the wash?
To answer the escalation of question: No, I am not producing Thrival, nor am I this year’s architect. Currently, I do not care to comment beyond what I have. If you’re looking for an interview about Thrival’s problems, I recommend you contact them directly.
Lastly, every organization has its struggles. Every nonprofit has a mandate for transparency. If they were more open about this, it would be a step in the right direction.