Pittsburgh’s music scene is constantly growing and branching out, with different facets and niche areas for fans of all genres to explore. Longturn Music Collective is an organization which appeals to the House and Techno music fans in this city, giving them a platform to express their interest in a relatively untapped part of the local music scene.
Co-founded by Brendan Barstow, Noah Svec, Elias Menninger, and Liam Regan, Longturn is an artist-owned and operated collective that plan multiple recurring and special events in the city showcasing House and Techno DJs. Their mission – wanting to build an inclusive community for these genres of music in the region – is achieved through the event promotion and production, artist representation, and musical education.
The name is inspired by the American Industrial Revolution, when every two weeks, the day shift and night shift became one group of workers who would labor through 24 straight hours before the next shift was rotated in. This shift was known as the Longturn. “As a Pittsburgh-based organization, we wanted to incorporate this hard-working mentality and legacy,” co-founder Brendan Barstow explained. “Unlike a formal business…decisions are made as a team, rather than the traditional employer-employee model. We strive to involve our artists beyond just performing, giving them a voice in the construction of our business and ultimately our community.”
The idea sprouted in Summer of 2017, and their work and vision came to fruition with their first event at Brillobox last November. Since then, they’ve hosted their monthly flagship party every first Saturday at Brillo, which boasts a capacity of 150-200 guests in what they described as a “uniquely intimate, high-energy setting where everybody is sweating by the end.” On the small side, the team has added a small weekly event at Market Street Grocery on Saturdays. “This has provided our artists an important outlet to experiment with the downtempo side of our musical tastes,” Brendan said. Something in the middle for everybody is Longturn’s rooftop series called BreakRoom at The Wayfarer in East Liberty. “[BreakRoom] offers people the choice to hit the dancefloor or enjoy the grooves from the side, sipping on some great specialty drinks. The goal for all of [the events] is to bring a positive memorable music experience to as many people as possible.”
My first ever Longturn show experience was at their small weekly series at Market Street Grocery, but most recently I attended their BreakRoom event, where I was surrounded by very positive vibes, cool people, a fun atmosphere, and all accompanied by their various DJs performing the perfect soundtrack to the evening. It was Brendan who perfectly described that their type of music is to be a soundtrack, something much more relaxed than the usual EDM, high-energy rave types that people uninvolved in the scene, like myself, might associate with the terms House and Techno, but which still add lively energy to any event.
My experience was also a perfect example of a big part of what Longturn’s events exist for: education. Brendan explained:
Longturn was started to fill a void, unoccupied by any other musical scene in the city. We felt that there were only two extremes being represented locally - mainstream EDM at Vegas/New York-style clubs with high prices and no rich musical culture, or niche after-hours that at times felt inaccessible to people not already in-the-know. We wanted to have a thriving middle ground of accessible shows where the music comes first, and where you can still enjoy both extremes.
They all agree that the House music scene in Pittsburgh is rapidly growing, in part due to the growing fan base of course, but also to venues and parties like Hot Mass providing a solid foundation from which to grow. “The joy of Pittsburgh’s creative culture is that if people like what you’re doing, they’re going to want to support and collaborate. I think in our first year we’ve brought a lot more people from other musical scenes into ours and shown them that House shows can be a really great time,” Elias added. Brendan also explained that the lack of competition and comparable scene for this type of music in this city has helped their success, but there’s not much of a significant audience yet either. “A big part of our role is working with the other crews in the city to show people what we love about this music and why we love it so much, and try [to] provide them with a glimpse of the transformative experiences we have all had going to events in other parts of the world,” he said.
They attribute a good jump in their growth to their first headliner show, Amtrac, which they believe people who may not have known about the monthly parties began to take notice and wonder who was behind booking a large name. Longturn has more headlining shows planned, their soonest being Josh Butler at Brillowbox on September 14th. “He’s a huge name in the U.K. and we’re all big fans of his sound,” Brendan said. Josh Butler will be kicking off his U.S. tour here in Pittsburgh, and resident DJs Alias and Noah Svec will be opening up the show with some great vibes to get the night going. Event details and tickets can be found on Longturn’s Facebook page.
With final thoughts, Longturn would like to thank everyone that’s come out to their events and been a part of the community. “We had no idea our vision would be met with such a positive response both from fans and from other creatives looking to lend their talents to help make our project better. I’ve gotten to meet some wonderful people through Longturn that I now consider close friends – we’ve really just become a big family,” Brendan shared.
Follow along with their events and story on Instagram @longturnmusic and on their Facebook page.