Ormsby Unplugged | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Ormsby Unplugged

The Mount Oliver DIY space hosts its annual Acoustic Fest

Lilith, one of the bands playing the Ormsby Acoustic Fest
Lilith, one of the bands playing the Ormsby Acoustic Fest

If the term "acoustic show" evokes tame images of coffeeshop djembes or bonfire sing-alongs, then one might venture to 222 Ormsby on Sat., June 30, for a fresh perspective. That's when the Mount Oliver DIY community space's residents host their third annual Acoustic Fest. In fact: Block off the whole day, because this year's fest features more than 20 musical acts, a cookout, a variety of vendors (including food and crafts) and a late-night open-mic show (so bring your own acoustic instrument). 

More and more Ormsby events like this make it easy to forget that six people live above 222 Ormsby's graffiti-pocked walls. 

"Growing up in the music scene and then having this house space, it only made sense to start [hosting shows]," says Ormsby resident/founder Maxwell Bulger. The community space quickly made a dent in the local scene when it opened four years ago, by offering all-ages punk shows. But to Bulger and housemate/promoter Kayla Taylor, the house has since evolved into something more.

"Although we're known for our punk shows," explains Taylor, "we've [also] held art shows, fundraisers and music-video shoots, and hosted everyone from comedians to harpists to mainstream recording artists like Laura Stevenson and the Cans, The Suicide Machines and DOA." 

The lineup for Ormsby's biggest show of the summer further drives Taylor's point home. Expect unplugged punks (Anchors End), ambient folk (Ivory Weeds), beautiful harmonies (Lilith), touring bands (American War, Meridian) and a covers-only set from Megan Laychak and her brother, Chris. 

Ormsby holds extra meaning to Laychak, a local musician and concert promoter. "Ormsby is where I began to feel comfortable in the local music scene," she says. "For a while there weren't many venues for all-ages shows, but Ormsby has always made itself accessible and open to everyone."   

With 222 Ormsby now a staple of the Pittsburgh music scene, Bulger and Taylor don't plan on relocating anytime soon. For now, feel free to leave your ID and earplugs at home; neither will be needed at the 10-plus hour Acoustic Fest on Saturday.

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