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Fifth Annual Festival of Combustion

By August 15, 2019December 13th, 2021Press Room

Festival of Combustion sizzles with headline bands, extended hours, fireworks finale

Homestead, PA (August 15, 2019)— Rivers of Steel and 91.3 WYEP present the Festival of Combustion, Rivers of Steel’s signature event, celebrating its fifth anniversary with an array of arts and entertainment embedded in history and industry at a red hot venue—the Carrie Blast Furnaces, Carrie Furnace Boulevard., in Rankin and Swissvale.

On Saturday, September 28, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., headline bands and an evening lineup have been added to the traditional daytime family entertainment that showcases the region’s creativity and innovation in industrial arts and American crafts.

The day features blacksmithing, glassblowing demonstrations, and stations for welding, metal fabrication, and even custom automotive work. Rivers of Steel’s skilled foundry team will fire up furnaces and smelt iron—a scaled down version of the industrial process that Carrie Furnaces are remembered for.

The Carrie Blast Furnaces were part of the Homestead Steel Works. Built in 1884 and in operation until 1982, the site produced 1,000 to 1,250 tons of iron each day during its peak. Remaining on the site are Furnaces #6 and #7, which operated from 1907 to 1978. The Furnaces were designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. Today, visitors to the site can connect with the region’s industrial and cultural past through a myriad of public tours and programs offered by Rivers of Steel.

Hands-on workshops allow festival-goers on September 28 to experience the industrial arts and American crafts for themselves. They may carve a scratch mold to be cast during the iron pour, glaze raku-fired vases, create a Fiestaware mosaic, or join in on free kids zone workshops. Mini-tours of the Furnace and Iron Garden will be offered throughout the day.

“The Festival of Combustion has seen a trend of increasing interest as we have added more and more features to this unique event each year. The venue has a multigenerational appeal that evokes the region’s storied past as a steel powerhouse, while engaging young families, and attracting millennials in a trendy, experiential way,” says Chris McGinnis, director of Rivers of Steel Arts. “Children are not only amazed but inspired by the demonstrations and workshops that appeal to their creativity while imparting bits of history, science, and art,” McGinnis adds.

Craft beer, food trucks, live music, and Second Shift Crafters’ maker marketplace with regional artisans will add to the festival atmosphere.

An evening of activities and performances, including nationally recognized recording artists and an iron pour, will be capped off with fireworks.

Nashville singer Nikki Lane has emerged as one of country and rock’s most gifted songwriters. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars, and vintage sixties country-pop swagger, Lane’s music resonates with Lana Del Rey and Jenny Lewis fans as well as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty.

The Ruen Brothers are making a mark with a throwback rock and roll sound that intersects the early days of the genre with a dynamic present day act. Natives of an English steel town, they were inspired by their music aficionado father who raised them on a steady diet of The Rolling Stones and The Everly Brothers.

Pittsburgh’s own Turbosonics, a three-piece surf-rock band, will keep festival-goers entertained throughout the afternoon with their straight-up rock-n-roll, surf style. Their concerts feature new, original surf rock with a loud rock-n-roll edge, as well as classic covers from the likes of Dick Dale, The Ventures, The Chantays, The Trashmen, The Surfaris and more. DJ Zombo will provide a soundtrack to the day between sets.

Free parking is available on the grounds; paid VIP parking has also been added. Tickets are $30, which covers both day and evening activities, with free admission for those under 18. Live demos, marketplace admission, and some workshops are included in the event ticket. This event is made possible, in part, through financial sponsorship from Eaton Corporation, Green Mountain Energy, and Kopp Glass, with media sponsorship from 91.3 WYEP, 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh City Paper, and Local Pittsburgh.

For a full schedule of activities and tickets, go to

About Rivers of Steel
Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.

About Rivers of Steel Arts
Rivers of Steel Arts celebrates creative inquiry by crafting opportunities to interpret the region’s past, reimagine its future, and explore a sense of place. Through exhibitions, festivals, workshops, tours, and happenings, Rivers of Steel Arts helps individuals connect with their communities in meaningful ways.

Rivers of Steel | The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Avenue, Homestead PA 15120

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