Thrival: Innovation & Music Festival Returns to Pittsburgh


PITTSBURGH, PA – In less than a week, Thrival Innovation and Music Festival returns to the Steel City for five days of art exhibitions, keynote speakers, cutting-edge tech exhibits, musical performances, parties, and more. Conceptualized in 2013 by local-based group Thrill Mill, Inc., Thrival has expanded from 2,000 attendees its first year to roughly 10,000 patrons in 2015. This year’s edition runs September 20-24 in multiple, historic locations including Alloy 26 in the business district, and Carrie Furnace, just a short drive from downtown Pittsburgh.

Featured keynote speakers include professionals with a diverse set of backgrounds and occupations. Leading off Tuesday at the New Hazlett Theater will be Dr. Bennet Omalu, a physician, forensic pathologist, and neuropathologist presenting “Collision Course: Courage, Accountability, and Fighting for the Voiceless”. Dr. Omalu, who is well-known for his discovery and published findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in American football players while working at the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office will be joined by New York Time’s best-selling author and University of Pittsburgh’s director of The Writing Program, Jeanne Marie Laska. Laska has been writing for national magazines for 20 years, with work appearing in The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal. She was formerly a contributing editor at Esquire, and a weekly syndicated columnist at The Washington Post Magazine. In 2015, Laskas authored Concussion, her best-selling book which went on to become a major motion picture starring Will Smith. 

Keynotes will continue during the morning and afternoon hours of Wednesday featuring Fox News’ host of America Now, Meghan McCain, at 7 P.M. McCain, a powerful role model for women and Republicans alike will discuss women’s issues, social issues, and marriage equality while exploring topics such as bullying and feminism to sex overload and the death of romance in her discussion, “The American Identity: Who Are We, and Where Are We Going?”. Joining McCain will be Washington Post journalist Eugene Robinson. Robinson’s unique story-telling ability has won him wide acclaim, most notably as the winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on the 2008 presidential race that resulted in the election of America’s first African-American president, Barack Obama.

On Thursday at 7 P.M., Ann Makosinski, inventor of the Hollow Flashlight, a device powered by thermoelectric energy, will present her keynote, “Straight Outta My Parent’s Basement: How to be a “Differentist”, explaining what it’s like to be a differentist in a world that’s constantly redesigning and reimagining itself, and charting new courses. Makosinski, in just her first year of school at the University of British Columbia, appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show demonstrating her inventions along with being named one of TIME Magazine’s 30 under 30 in 2014. She was recognized with several awards at the 2013 Canade-Wide Science Fair, won the 2013 Google Science Fair, and won several awards at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Thrival prides itself on being an affordable experience with plenty of flexibility for attendees. All day-time programming – including thought-talks, seminars, live demos, and exhibits are free to the public. Evening keynotes are ticketed and have limited seating. Tickets for each speaker are $15/evening, or, a pass for all three keynotes can be purchased for $30 on Thrival’s website.

“Times have changed. The blueprint is drafted. Come listen and learn. Share your stories. Engage with others. Build the next best idea. Lead. Disrupt. Move forward. Thrival is the platform to create, innovate, and grow.”


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