Thrival fest highlights innovative lineup


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You won't find Thrival in the dictionary, but you will find it Saturday at Bakery Square.

The inaugural Thrival Innovation + Music Festival, presented by PNC and Thrill Mill, offers an eclectic lineup with Scottish indie-rockers Frightened Rabbit topping a bill that also features hip-hop/electronica artist RJD2, indie hip-hop trio De La Soul and Pittsburgh rap-rock band Formula412.

The music will start at 5 p.m., with general admission tickets $20 and a limited amount of VIP tickets for $100 (Showclix.com).

Prior to the concert there will be a free innovation showcase from noon to 5 p.m. with speakers and educational workshops highlighting the nonprofit entrepreneurial company Thrill Mill's Hustle Den incubator space, which supports local startups.

The festival has evolved from a "Baller BBQ" in Thrill Mill CEO Bobby Zappala's apartment in 2007 to a live music block party in 2011.

De La Soul is a nice addition to a festival centered around innovation. The trio from Long Island, N.Y., formed in 1987 and added a new flavor to the hip-hop world with its 1989 debut "3 Feet High and Rising," going against the gangsta rap grain with positive lyrics, jazzy elements and samples that included Johnny Cash, Hall & Oates and Steely Dan. Robert Christgau said it was "unlike any rap album you or anybody else has ever heard."

De La Soul has been a huge influence on consciousness rappers, as well as our own Mac Miller, who paid tribute to the trio on his song "Of the Soul."

Although De La Soul has been off the mainstream radar, the group won a Grammy in 2005 for its collaboration with Gorillaz on the single "Feel Good Inc." and last year released its first album since 2004, "Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present ... First Serve."

VIP tickets include parking in the Bakery Square garage, complimentary beer, access to mixed drinks and food prepared by Bar Marco along with a large tented area and luxury restrooms. Beer will be sold in the general admissions area along with food from a number of Pittsburgh food trucks. Proceeds benefit Thrill Mill Inc.

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