Pittsburgh doesn’t have a music scene, or so I’m told. Apparently Pittsburgh also doesn’t have anywhere good to eat, anything good to see, or anything else worth your while. Therefore you should hurry up and finish school, leave Pittsburgh, and never come back. But is this really true?

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 VIA Music and New Media Festival. Four days and over 40 hours of music later, I’m starting to think that my peers might be wrong. As I left a relatively full dance floor at 4:30 a.m. after four hours of continuous, frenetic dancing and 40 hours of festival-attending, I couldn’t stop smiling. My back, my legs, and every other part of my body were in pain, but it didn’t matter. I was in a state of bliss.

I know techno isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but VIA brought so much more than bleeps and bloops. I’m not going to bother with a review of the individual acts and artists — go read the feature article, if that’s what you’re interested in. I want to make it clear that there is a music scene in Pittsburgh. It’s not about having a techno or hip-hop scene; it’s about the atmosphere. For so many Pittsburghers, it’s not about the genre of music; it’s about the quality of music. While at VIA, I saw a five-year-old girl dancing like there was no tomorrow. I wish I saw more of my friends doing the same.

A lot of unique, creative acts are coming through Pittsburgh; you just need to keep your eyes and ears open. WRCT and Pillbox both keep a well-curated list of events on their respective websites. Take a look, take a chance, and go exploring. You might find something you like.

If you’re still not completely blown away by the variety of music here in Pittsburgh, stop complaining and get involved. Join the Activities Board and get your favorite artist to come to town. Join WRCT and play your favorite tunes on the air. At Carnegie Mellon, we’re given so many opportunities to materialize our dreams — you just have to go take advantage of them.