Sweet dreams come true at DreamOn Ice Cream and Music Festival


By Matt Maielli / Staff Writer

Ice cream and music go together like jalapeños and lemonade.

Last weekend, Kelly Boyle witnessed the former two summer staples join forces.

“Everyone was just enjoying the nice weather, great ice cream and wonderful music,” Boyle, a junior nursing student, said. “I listened to one of my favorite Pittsburgh bands, the Beauty Slap.”

Boyle and other Downtown Pittsburghers screamed with joy after the DreamOn Ice Cream and Music Festival returned to Market Square over Fourth of July weekend, offering a simple summer promise of ice cream and live music.

DreamCream, a local ice cream shop, and Omicelo, a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm, organized the event. DreamCream offered 30 different flavors of ice cream while Omicelo provided 25 volunteers.They took to the Square from July 3 to July 5. Activities included live music, morning yoga and an attempt at Pittsburgh’s largest-ever electric slide, with the crowd gathering between the stage and the organizer’s tent. The festival’s entertainment featured 15 different acts, opening with Karl Franklin, a heavy garage-rock guitarist dead-set on livening up the festivities. The ChopShop, a self-described “jazz, future-funk” outfit, headlined the festival on Saturday. Several DJ’s served as mix-master between acts, including DJ Nate da Barber, DJ Selecta and DJ Teagarden. The festival hosted more than 55,000 people and reached nearly 2 million impressions on social media.

DreamCream’s shop lies just a cone’s throw away from Market Square, on Graeme Street. The shop supports people with causes, who they call “dreamers” — not to be confused with regular customers. DreamCream encourages these “dreamers” to pick one of the more than 100 flavors that the shop offers and attach their cause to it. Then, part of the profits from the sales of their chosen flavor go to the dreamer’s cause on a monthly basis.

Omicelo, originally “Omicielo,” Italian for “oh my heaven,”consults new and small businesses, including DreamCream. Joshua Pollard, CEO and co-founder of Omicelo, and Thomas Jamison, the owner of DreamCream, came up with the idea for the festival over Thanksgiving dinner two years ago.

“It was always about helping people,” Jamison said.

That goal extends to the festival, which, while raising awareness for DreamCream, also gives all of DreamOn’s high school volunteers a five percent ownership of the festival. This covers profits and resumé building.

DreamOn debuted last August to a weekend crowd of around 20,000 people, according to itwebsite. This year, with a Fourth of July weekend slot, the shop dreamed a little bigger.

Small lines made of meandering ice-cream lovers of all shapes and sizes formed at 11 a.m. on Friday,before theice cream tent was even open. When it did open, people clustered the counter, departing with cones as they flowed between the tables and vendors. Throughout the rush, Franklin stood rocking and rolling up on stage. Construction workers stories above looked down upon the Squarewhile festival-goers did the robot in front of the large, steel stage. The only time the 25 volunteers slowed their scoops was when they were clapping along with the music.

With various vendors and surrounding restaurants, the festival’s location in Market Square guarantees dessert within reach of any meal. The Omicelo teamalso kept its grip on social media, encouraging visitors to use#DreamOnFest to post their experiences, which became the fourth-most-posted hashtag in Pittsburgh that weekend.

Pollard said DreamOn hopes to create an “unbelievably diverse city,”adding they’d like to raise public awareness of the talent that they believe to be in Pittsburgh, whether it be musical or business-oriented.

One pair of older volunteers, Steven Welles — a co-founder of Omicelo — and Patrick Paul, are already on their way with an app calledRent-Ref, meant to protect and inform home and apartment renters, complete with reviews of landlords.

But DreamOn, the now city-wide sensation, started small. Since a lot of people like ice cream, a lot of people would buy it and then contribute to the dreamers’ causes. Jamison said the food was a good start to helping people.

“You can eat it if you’re 2 or 92-years-old,” he said. “Whether you’re black, white or Asian, you have a favorite flavor. And it makes you feel good.”

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