June 21st, the longest day of the year makes for a great opportunity to open your porches, sidewalks, storefronts and yards for local musicians to perform in on and around them. Founded in France back in 1982, the fête is an opportunity to put on free shows by both seasoned and new artists testing their craft. If you’re into checking out what Philly has to offer but don’t know where to start, read through the neighborhood offerings below. And don’t be that guy running around screaming “Freebird” at every musician you see, please. Let’s keep it classy.
Old City/Northern Liberties/Fishtown:
Head to the Piazza for an eclectic mix of funk, rock and reggae with sets by Macadocious, Erin Fox, Bluestime and Big Highway. Powers City Park at Ann and Almond streets is the “stage” for Django, The Naked Sun, Nojé and Lancaster blues artist Justin Angelo — a ripe mix of acoustic guitars, pillowy vocals and, to mix things up, Nojé’s 17th – 18th century baroque classical stylings. For a dose of hip-hop, stop by The Boom Room, a recording studio and performance space at 1300 Front St, as they present energetic local acts including Sonni Shine and Mazi Kabi. For a really different take on Make Music Day, the folks at Mass Appeal are staging a group accordion play at 200 Pine street in the Headhouse District. Kids are encouraged to come out and try their hand(s). Don’t miss NextFab’s evening of musician-craftspeople, who will take over the space to host tutorials on how to create amps, speakers, pedals and synths (and play them for you, too).
Bella Vista/Queen Village/South Philly:
The Sexton Sideshow at Gloria Dei Old Swedes Church will be a mix of celtic, folk, and bluegrass singer/songwriter types and will go from noon to night (8:30 pm, to be exact). Additionally, stop by Moon + Arrow, one of the best vintage and handmade shops in the area, for the Solstice Gathering with Samantha Rise at 7 pm. Passyunk Gardens (1304 E. Passyunk) is hosting an all-day party that starts a little before noon. For a bacon bowl and a show, check out MilkBoy on South Street. For an ironic Philly-centric tee and country musings by Callie E. Tomblin, South Fellini on Passyunk. And for a fest within a fest, head to 1551 Washington Ave. — the Lafty Brothers Philly Music Fest venue — for a full day of mixed but rock-leaning sounds.
Philly Bluegrass presents a lunchtime get together in Rittenhouse Park that starts at noon, just one of the day’s free events that’s co-programmed by Mass Appeal, with its aim to help bring together musicians of all skill levels to pick and play together as one big happy family. Broad Street Ministry is hosting two separate shows — one at 2:30 pm with folk singer Betty Smithsonian, another with Elevate Sound’s Street Studio, featuring electronic and world music, at 3 p.m.
For maybe the most picturesque of performances, head to the Glendinning Rock Garden in East Fairmount Park to hear indie rock from Hannah LaRocca’s Lazy Eye project, Soft Idiot and a solo set by Jesse Barki of the Mellowells (weather permitting). West Philly’s Tha Truck (4900 Catherine St.) will be doling out jazz and Afrobeat park vibes. And if you’re looking for a mini road trip, head to Media for Vincent James’ evening performance at the Middletown Free Library or the 10 am in the morning kid-friendly gig with Peter Moses at the Rose Tree Summer Festival, rain or shine.
For a full list of events and details, visit makemusicphilly.org.
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