The Philly Music Festival is coming back for a second year.
Last fall, the nonprofit fest made its debut as a two-night showcase presenting only Philadelphia bands – and solely serving local beer and food – at the World Café Live.
This fall, the festival will return, expanding ever so slightly while maintaining a focus on 215 talent. The fest will run from Sept. 27 to 30. Featured headliners are ribald rockers Low Cut Connie, whose album Dirty Pictures (part 2) comes out today, guitarist-songwriter Katie Crutchfield's Waxahatchee, and the Rob Grote-led quartet The Districts. They top a list of more than 20 acts playing four venues.
The fest's locus will still be the World Café Live, where an eight-band bill split among the club's two venues will include the Jen Pague-led indie-pop band Vita and the Woolf on Sept. 28. Ten acts will perform on Sept. 29, with math rockers Palm and hip-hop soul outfit Hardwork Movement among them.
But this year, the fest will also geographically expand to Johnny Brenda's in Fishtown for a Thursday night heavy-rock double bill with Pissed Jeans and hardcore punk band Soul Glo, who are named after the make-believe hair care product in the 1988 Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall movie Coming to America.
On Sept. 30, the weekend will come to a close with a Jazz Showcase featuring Philly-bred players of national renown at MilkBoy Philly. The names of those acts are not yet ready to be announced, festival founder Gregory Seltzer said this week.
Last year when locals rockers Cayetana and Strand Of Oaks headlined, the fest sold 1,100 tickets over its two-day run, Seltzer said. In addition to paying the bands, who do not donate their time, the fest raised $15,000 that was distributed among local music-related charities, including Settlement Music School, Rock to the Future, Live Connections, Musicopia, and the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.
The aim, Seltzer says, is for the festival "to celebrate the way our scene is burgeoning and exploding. I'm not sure how to quantify that for the average music fan in Philly, whether it's that the War on Drugs won a Grammy [for best rock album for last year's A Deeper Understanding] or that Hop Along just released a great album [Bark Your Head Off, Dog]."
Seltzer is a music geek who's also a lawyer and an accountant. He says the idea is for the festival is "to be just an annual showcase, a celebration." He has no desire to rush it, but in his ideal five-year plan, the fest would culminate with an all-local bill big enough to play on multiple stages at the Mann Center tor the Performing Arts, where he is a member of the board.
Along with featured headliners that have made career strides and gained widespread notice, Seltzer wants to show off the depth and scope of the Philadelphia scene. "The sprawl of it," as he puts it.
Among the attractions on the undercard of the World Café Live dates this year are psych-rock throwbacks The Mysteries, Matthew Scottoline's jangle-pop exemplars Hurry, stoner metal outfit Ruby the Hatchet, folk trio End of America, Lauryn Hill-inspired songwriter Orion Sun (the stage name of guitarist Tiffany Majette), glam rockers The Whips, and alt-soul man Kingsley Ibeneche.
Tickets for the individual nights of the fest and two-day passes for the World Café Live portion are on sale at philmusicfest.com, where the full list of bands scheduled to perform can be found.