South Street Festival. Photo | South Street Headhouse District
Somehow, I went almost three decades in this city without having to experience a neighborhood street festival.
Actually, it was easy. I grew up in the Northeast and then spent a good chunk of my 20s in West Philly, two of the most insular communities this side of North Korea. (Go on, ask your friend from Fox Chase to meet you in Center City. I’ll wait.)
But now I find myself renting in Queen Village, an apparently popular part of the city with things to offer and visitors to entertain. If last weekend’s record-breaking South Street Festival was any indication, it’s going to be a long, long summer of improvised trashcans and suspicious puddles.
Want to be a good temporary neighbor? Here’s what to remember before you go back to the ’burbs. (Want to be an even better neighbor? Make some room in that fancy crossover vehicle and bring me with you to the promised land.) Read more »
It was another beautiful Indian Summer day in Philadelphia on Saturday, and crowds flocked to many of the festivals around town, including the OctoberFest at the new Dilworth Park. The autumn event included fun activities and games, plus a beer garden hosted by Garces’s Rosa Blanca, where guests could sit at café tables or on hay stacks strewn about the roped-off area.
DJs & live music spiced up the party as some guests danced to the music. Mural Arts, The Franklin Institute and ZipCar were on hand with family-friendly activities, and guests enjoyed playing Connect Four, Jenga and Chess with oversized board games. The newly opened Great Lawn at the South End of the Park was the icing on the cake. I have photos of the afternoon below:
This past weekend Chestnut Hill turned into Hogsmeade as the fourth annual Harry Potter Festival transformed Germantown Avenue into the magical world of witches, goblins, and wizards.
Kicking off the weekend on Friday night there was a pub crawl and costume contest. Saturday morning saw the “Hogswarts Express” filled with Harry Potter characters. The trolley arrived at Chestnut Hill West for a 10 a.m. opening ceremony conducted by Professor Albus Dumbledore (Walt Maguire) and Students from Chestnut Hill Colleges’ Mask & Foil Thespian Club dressed as J.K. Rowling’s famed characters. Chestnut Hill college student Dan Lemoine played Harry Potter to a tee for the third year in a row.
After the ceremony the characters and fans, many of who came dressed as Harry Potter characters or at least sported a witches hat or scarf, enjoyed one of the last days of Indian Summer, taking in the sights as well as all the Harry Potter activities that lined the street, like wand-making, dragon fire-breating and face-painting. Chestnut Hill restaurants offered Harry Potter-inspired edibles, like Golden Snitches and butter beer.
The Roots drummer Questlove is spinning a set in town this weekend at the free UNIQLO Philly Love Fest on Saturday, October 4th, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival, taking place at Smith Memorial Park Playground and Playhouse (3500 Reservoir Drive) is a welcoming celebration of sorts for the new UNIQLO store opening in Rittenhouse at 1608 Chestnut Street on October 3rd. The afternoon will feature all kinds of activities, like runway shows, carnival games, food trucks and a variety of kid-friendly shenanigans. But our eyes are on the closing affair:
Questlove will end the party with a free set from 4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
More information can be found here.
August 30th and 31st: Made in America
Ben Franklin Parkway
There are only two places to be this Labor Day weekend: the Jersey Shore, or the Parkway, where Jay Z and tens of thousands of his closest friends will finish out summer concert season with the third annual installment of his huge two-day music festival. This year’s co-headliners are Kanye West and Kings of Leon, with Pharrell, Girl Talk, the National and De La Soul among the many other acts that made the cut. Though our friends in Fairmount hate MIA, we have to say we’re sold on it. But we do have one modest proposal: a couple of satellite stages in cool places like FDR and Penn Treaty parks, where local bands can share the stage with some of the bigger boys and girls. Are you listening, Mr. Z?
More of this month’s must-do events. Click on links for ticket/location information.
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Philly’s only LGBT theater festival, GayFest!, kicks off tomorrow (August 5th.) Now in its fourth year, Quince Productions founder and GayFest! producer Rich Rubin says the theme of the season is new meets old.
There are a handful of Philadelphia premieres—Next Fall, Some Are People, and You Know My Name—playing alongside old-school favorites. The Haunted Host, for instance, celebrates 50 years on the stage. “It is considered by many to be America’s first full-length gay play,” says Rubin. “I’m excited about combining the new and cutting-edge work with historic work. More than ever, there’s a real range of tone and style in the festival.”
So get out there and support our city’s sole LGBT film festival. Here’s a preview of what’s happening this week during the festival:
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The Make Music Philly festival hits Philadelphia and hundreds of other cities across the world this Saturday, with 235 events at a multitude of venues across the city. Make Music Philly is an egalitarian festival: All the musicians play for free, all the events are free and they take place all over the city.
Well, okay, looking at this map they mostly take place in Center City and Northwest Philly. But it does hit some far-flung—well, far-flung from downtown—locations: The Youth Latin Jazz Ensemble is playing a Northeast Treatment Center, a rap/pop duo named Epoch Failure is playing at an apartment complex near the Northeast Airport and the Bluesberry Blues Jam is playing Morris Park in Overbrook Farms.
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Celebrate the magic of the sea at Cape May’s Harbor Fest. The all-day event will have all the things you’d expect out of a seafest: food, beer, music, games, craft vendors, demonstrations, and, of course, activities for the kids.
The festival will go down on June 14th, starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m., at the Nature Center of Cape May (1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ) and it will, for sure, have something for everyone.
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We sent writers/photographers/brothers Christopher Sarkis Graham and Bryan Armen Graham to Randall’s Island in New York to check out this weekend’s three-day Governors Ball 2014. Here’s their photographic recap of the day, which kicked off with Philly’s own Kurt Vile:
Who better to help kick off a weekend of world class, genre-spanning pop music than Philly’s own Kurt Vile?
Early on Friday, Vile and his Violators helped usher in this year’s Governors Ball, a music festival that's settled into a three-day format since launching as a one-day event with an emphasis on dance acts in 2011.
Vile's vinyl psychedelia-flavored lo-fi was the perfect volley to Janelle Monáe’s cosmic funk that would soon follow.
OutKast might have had a bumpy start to their festival comeback run after a (in)famously lackluster Coachella reception, but Friday night's confident set — backed by a live band — showed they've worked out the kinks.
Guest stars kept the energy level cranked to 11, with Sleepy Brown weaving in and out of songs through the night, and Killer Mike emerging just in time for his verse in the finale, “The Whole World.”
Day 2 brought more pristine weather and hometown talent in West Philly expat RJD2.
The collage artist’s celebrated electro-analogue style laid just the tone for the day, leaving the crowd in a sea of fist-pumps with the “Ghostwriter” set closer.
Later, The Strokes took the main stage for their first festival appearance since 2011 — but if there was any dust to shake off, no one could spot it settle.
Soon after came a far-and-away fest highlight in Jack White, who may have swapped his trichromatic theme from a red to blue base, emerging on Saturday night’s cerulean-drenched stage — but White was sure to remind us he’s not turned on the work that’s secured him as rock’s saving grace for near 15 years.
Seems the only Jack project left untapped was the Dead Weather (something of a missed opportunity, considering the super-group cofounder Alison Mosshart was on deck for a Kills set on Sunday.)
Tyler, The Creator joined Earl Sweatshirt, Jasper Dolphin and Taco for a raucous, profanity-laden afternoon set that drew a massive crowd on Day 3, demonstrating why Odd Future is the biggest punk attraction in the business. Seattle folk-rockers The Head and The Heart alleviated the adrenaline rush with a set drawn heavily from Let's Be Still, their sophomore effort for Sub Pop Records. British singer and electronic producer James Blake reached into his back catalog with a sexy set drawing on his inimitable blend of R&B, soul and electronic influences. Homestanding veterans Interpol delivered a tight, focused set before a massive crowd that conflicted with eccentric Australian electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun, whose "Walking On a Dream" set an overflow tent crowd into hysterics.
Vampire Weekend drew the bigger crowd of Sunday night's two headliners, but Axwell & Ingrosso — veterans of EDM kings Swedish House Mafia — closed the festival with a bang (literally) with a fist-pumping set punctuated by fireworks above the stage.
The trail of defunct, failed New York City music festivals is long (remember All Points West, Vineland, Field Day, Across the Narrows or Bonnaroo N.E.?) but another successful weekend on Randall’s Island proves that Governors Ball just may have cracked the code. Keep scrolling for more photos from the three-day festival.
Kurt Vile and the Violaters
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz