VIA opens East Liberty venue

Credit: Courtesy of VIA Credit: Courtesy of VIA

“It was now or never.”

Lauren Goshinski, co-founder and creator of the Pittsburgh-based electronic music collective VIA, explained that the decision to open a new venue — 6119, named for its location at 6119 Penn Ave. — came down to “a gut instinct.”

VIA opened the new venue in July, with its first public show featuring French hip-hop beat maker and electronic musician Onra. The venue has been host to a number of electronic shows since its opening, and at present VIA’s decision to open its own venue seems to have paid off. Attendance is high, and community members are responding well to the change. “Every single [event] has been packed,” Goshinski said.

Before discovering the space at 6119, “the concept had been in our minds for a long time,” Goshinski said. When she and her colleagues came across an abandoned club on the market in East Liberty, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

6119 is a unique blend of club and gallery, and the venue will allow VIA — which focuses on the combination of electronic music and new media visuals — to build a community-centered space. It has the capacity to incorporate more space-consuming events and installations. “It offers a home base for us to do more educational and art-based programming,” Goshinski said. “This kind of space is what people want.”

In addition to bringing in notable electronic musicians throughout the year, 6119 will be one of the central stages during this year’s VIA Music and New Media Festival in October, which has primarily been held on nearby Broad Street in the past. This October marks the third year of the annual festival, the lineup for which will be announced next week.

Given the attention VIA has garnered in its few years of existence and the exciting possibilities that the new 6119 location brings, the organization’s prospects seem bright. As VIA continues to expand, Goshinski encourages members of the Carnegie Mellon community to partake in the new VIA scene. “We can host a variety of events and we’re very open to having people contact us,” she said.

VIA’s annual festival, and now the 6119 venue, are a vital part of the growing nightlife and club scene in East Liberty. With other nearby venues like AVA and Shadow Lounge also bringing in notable acts, East Liberty is quickly becoming a center for electronic music in Pittsburgh.

6119’s busy schedule of shows continues this Friday with a performance by ambient techno DJ Kassem Mosse. Its full schedule can be found on the 6119 Facebook page.