Follow These Rivers Festival Aims to Make Environmental Impact

October 1, 2018

October brings a new local music festival aiming to keep our waterways clean and reduce the use of plastics. Jonathan Fisher and James Drakes of James Drakes and the Chris Taylor Trio have been planning the Follow These Rivers music festival since January, and are set for an evening full of live music, food trucks, good booze, live art, and all to support a good cause.


Jonathan has always been environmentally conscience, and James has a master’s degree in environmental science. Partnering with the Plastic Ocean Project out of Wilmington, North Carolina, they’ve planned a music festival at Wigle Whiskey Barrel House on October 13th, featuring 20 musical acts on three stages hosted by Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of the Drinking Partners Podcast. The event will be as plastic free as possible, utilizing compostable cups and silverware, as well as other reusable and recyclable materials. The goal is to teach people the difference between what is recyclable and what is compostable.


The indoor/outdoor festival will be from noon to 9:30pm, rain or shine, and will feature musical performances by BBGuns, Chase and the Barrons, Angela Autumn, Lone Pines, Whiskey Hollow, Jack Swing, Brittney Chantele, and of course James Drakes and the Chris Taylor Trio, among many others. With three stages, it’s been organized to have a constant stream of performances all night, with only 5 to 10 minutes in between sets. Day and Ed will bring even more life to the night on the mic, and speakers from the Plastic Ocean Project and Allegheny Cleanways, another beneficiary, will be there to share some environmental knowledge.


The day will begin with a river cleanup in the morning prior to the festival, where anyone interested can sign up to participate. Sign-ups for the cleanup can be found at Participants will be fed lunch (pizza while it lasts) and will be able to purchase discounted $10 tickets for the festival!


Tickets are limited and are $25 general admission. Day of show, tickets will go up to $30 at door, while supplies lasts. Tickets can be purchased at All proceeds will go to paying the artists and donating to the nonprofits. Wigle has also agreed to donate a portion of proceeds to the beneficiaries involved after the event.


Fisher and Drakes are excited to host a festival that they feel is unique in a special way. “It’s just different. I’ve never seen anything like it where it’s just all one common goal, and there’s nobody at the top making the profit,” Fisher explains, with Drakes also saying that, if they had a tagline, it would be, “Good time for a good cause.” It’s clear that they are passionate about everyone involved making a difference, as they explained how it is in the contract of every artist that they must be at the cleanup that morning, if available to do so.


While the goal is environmental rehabilitation, they also want to make it a celebration of the art in Pittsburgh (and other places, since they have traveling artists as well.) They’ve chosen some of their favorite talent to perform, and even bringing on Day and Ed was intentional to bring the podcast some attention. “We’ve always been fans, but we are really big on [promoting others]. Sometimes the city is good at it, sometimes it’s not great but it’s always number one on our minds that it’s a win-win for every party involved. Every band gets paid; every act gets paid. James and I will probably be the ones that don’t get paid, but that’s okay because it’s about giving back,” Fisher explained.


When asked what the hardest part about planning the festival was, Drakes mentioned that the logistics and making it all run smoothly was a challenge, but Fisher prefaced with a joking, “We can’t be honest about that answer.”


Check out Moxie’s event calendar for the link to the event and look for us at Wigle Whiskey Barrel House on October 13th!


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