About the Festival

As a young man, Wilson shopped Pittsburgh’s thrift stores, buying stacks of old albums for change.   One day, he found a record by Blues legend, Bessie Smith.  The world, for August Wilson, changed that day.  He said, “Somehow, all that other music was different from that. And I go, ‘Wait a minute. This is mine…”  The blues is “life’s way of talking…life’s instructions“.  The Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival  (HBHF) is about hope, roots, and the connections that music makes across races, neighborhoods, and beliefs.  We at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center celebrate that diversity and hope that you will join us, hoping for a more humane TODAY, and a brighter TOMORROW.

The HBHF typically takes place in the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh and in the theater at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, with a combination of free, community concerts and ticketed special events.  Due to Covid-19, we have to keep the music flowing virtually with musicians performing in their homes, from the Mississippi to New Zealand, and NOLA to Ireland.  Though we can’t enjoy the music in person together, we can commune online, and hope that you will support this festival by donating to at aacc-awc.org.  Support the future of the Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival.