Summertime means sweet-sounding tunes piped though open windows. Or, better yet, through state-of-the art sound systems at outdoor music festivals and concerts!
With dozens of top performers taking to open-air stages all across the Philadelphia region this summer, now is the time to begin planning for a jam-packed concert- and festival-going season.
Since most of these festivals and events do require advance ticket purchase — and many have a history of selling out — it’s time to save dates and buy tickets to make a tune-filled summer. Of course, there’s always StubHub if the show of your choice sells out.
Get ready to fill your calendar with massive musical happenings right here in the City of Brotherly Love.
Our picks for top music festivals and outdoor concerts, below.
• Jam on the River: Sunday, May 25. River Stage at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street. After a six-year hiatus, Jam on the River returns to Penn’s Landing during Memorial Day weekend. Long known as a summer kickoff, headliners in 2014 include Lotus and Griz. Ticket prices vary, but start at $47.35 (including processing fees) and are availablie online.
• Wired Fest: Friday, May 30. Festival Pier, 601 N. Columbus Boulevard. No need to wait until August’s Mad Decent Block Party for a little Diplo in your life. The DJ and producer extraordinaire heads to Festival Pier in May for Wired Fest along with Scottish collaborator/producer extraordinaire Calvin Harris and New Classics from Aussie import Iggy Azalea. Bring your dancing shoes. Tickets, $80.50, are available online.
• Roots Picnic: Saturday, May 31. Festival Pier, 601 N. Columbus Boulevard. Philly’s own Grammy-winning hip-hop band The Roots bring together artists from various genres for the 7th annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing. This year’s lineup includes Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monae, A$AP Ferg, Biz Markie, Chill Moody and of course, The Roots. Tickets, $64, are available online.
• Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party: Saturday, June 7. Festival Pier, 601 N. Columbus Boulevard. For a monthly dose of free music alfresco, look no further than the Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party series. On Saturday, June 7, the series hits Festival Pier with headliners The Head And The Heart and Bear Hands. Additional shows to catch this summer at to-be-determined locations include Neon Trees on July 12, Bleachers on August 2 and Grouplove on September 13. All all concerts run from 3:45 to 7 p.m. and, yup, all are totally free.
• The Awesome Fest: June 19-August 16. Various locations around Philadelphia. The Awesome Fest, an annual free alfresco film and music festival, brings Philadelphia great outdoor and indoor programming all summer long. The festival runs from June 19 to August 16, kicking off with movie screenings in conjunction with Wizard World Comic Con and later launching into a full-blown outdoor summer series. Stay tuned for more on this free fest.
• Make Music Philly: Saturday, June 21. Various locations around Philadelphia. Welcome the bona fide start of summer on Saturday, June 21 with a day of beautiful music as Philadelphia joins in World Music Day with a free daylong, “do it yourself” festival, Make Music Philly. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, Make Music Philly puts amateur and professional musicians in the spotlight for both organized and informal performances across the city.
• Philly 4th of July Jam: Friday, July 4. Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The blowout Wawa Welcome America celebration and Philly Fourth of July Jam, one of the biggest annual events in Philadelphia, returns to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day this summer, June 28 though July 4. A wealth of patriotic festivities take over the city every year, but it’s the Philly 4th of July Jam concert that draws tens of thousands to rock out on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Philadelphia’s own hometown heroes The Roots are back again to curate a killer lineup and, for the second year, VH1 has partnered up with Wawa Welcome America to provide a high-definition nationwide broadcast of the Philly 4th of July Jam. The 2014 music lineup features great names like Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson,Aloe Blacc and, of course, The Roots. Did we mention it’s totally free?
More music festivals, below.
• XPoNential Music Festival: July 25-27. Camden Waterfront, Susquehanna Bank Center and Wiggins Park, Mickle Street at Riverside Drive. Experience three amazing days of great music and family fun during the annual XPoNential Music Festival on the Camden Riverfront. The fest is held at two locations – the Susquehanna Bank Center and Wiggins Park, a venue selected by WXPN for its spectacular waterfront views, lush open green spaces and array of local attractions. The main attraction must be the tunes, though, and in 2014, the headliners include Beck, Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis, Dawes and The Districts. The three-day pass tickets, starting at $90, are available online.
• Philadelphia Folk Festival: August 15-17. Old Poole Farm, Schwenksville, Pa. The hills of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania come alive every summer with the sound of folk music during the long-running Philadelphia Folk Festival at Old Poole Farm near Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. From August 15 through 17, music is everywhere — from headline performances, to late-night singalongs, to bonfires in the festival campgrounds, this festival is a music-lover’s heaven. Tickets start at $124.80 for adults for all day and evening events from Friday to Sunday.
• 2nd Street Festival: Sunday, August 3. 2nd Street from Germantown Avenue to Green Street. Definitely mark your calendar for this one. The blockbuster, 2nd Street Festival makes its way to Northern Liberties for another year of music curated by the Philadelphia Folksong Society, plus food, beer gardens (yes, plural!), local art, jewelry, workshops and other vendors lining 2nd Street from Germantown Avenue to Green Street. The free alfresco festival runs all day, capped off by a big concert from a yet-to-be-named headliner at the Piazza at Schmidt’s.
• Reggae In The Park: Sunday, August 3. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue. Kick-off summer surrounded by cool Carribean sounds at one of the Mann’s hottest music festivals, Reggae in the Park. Headlined by reggae rockers like Matisyahu, Steel Pulse, Mavado, Konshens, Morgan Heritage, The Expendables, Inner Circle and more, this outdoor festival returns with two stages, dozens of performers, live DJ sets at the top of the hill, craft vendors, and plenty of Caribbean cuisine. Tickets start at $40 and are available online.
• Mad Decent Block Party: Friday, August 8. Festival Pier, 601 N. Columbus Boulevard One of the summer’s biggest block parties returns to Philadelphia on Friday, August 8. The Mad Decent Block Party takes over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and features hit-makers like Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Riff Raff and more. Tickets, $47, are available online.
• Made in America: August 30-31. Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Budweiser Made In America Festival is a massive musical celebration that takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Labor Day weekend. With dozens of top performers and multiple stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the two-day music festival is one of the year’s can’t-miss events. New this year, the Made in America Festival is going bi-coastal with simultaneous festivals in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. This year’s lineup in Philadelphia is pretty darn incredible, and includes the likes of Kanye West, Kings of Leon and The National. Tickets start at $99.50 and are available online.
Blockbuster Outdoor Concerts
• On the Run Tour: Jay Z and Beyonce: Saturday, July 5. Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way. Powerhouse music couple Beyoncé and Jay Z are hitting the road together for a summer stadium tour and, yes — the On the Run Tour stops in Philly. On Saturday, July 5, The Carters land at Citizen Bank Park, undoubtedly filling the stadium. And, as artists with both broad reach and big hearts, the duo will be partnering with #BeyGOOD to donate a portion of the tour’s proceeds to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which was started by Jay Z to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to further their education at institutions of higher learning. Tickets start at $57.35 and are available online.
• Moonshine Jungle Tour: Bruno Mars: Thursday, July 17. Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Boulevard. Pop sensation singer/songwriter/producer/musician Bruno Mars is a 13-time Grammy Award nominee who has sold over 45 million singles worldwide and has over 1 billion views on YouTube. Now, he takes his infectious brand of music on a huge tour, with a stop in the Philadelphia area to play to crowds at the Susquehanna Bank Center. Tickets start at $47.50 and are available online.
• Willie Nelson and Family & Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas: Friday, June 13. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue. Music legends and Grammy Award-winning artists Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss & Union Station Featuring Jerry Douglas are touring together for the first time this summer and performing a special concert at the Mann on Friday, June 13. The two groups’ unique personalities combined with impeccable musicianship and decades of musical hits are sure to create a show full of unforgettable moments. Billboard chart-topping singer Kacey Musgraves will also be performing. Tickets, starting at $35, are available online.
• Diana Ross In the Name of Love Tour: Wednesday, June 25. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue. Performing hits from her remarkable career, the legendary Diana Ross makes her Mann debut returning to Philadelphia for the first time in more than a decade for what promises to be a truly unforgettable evening. Tickets, starting at $40, are available online.
• Phish: July 8-9. Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Legendary jam band Phish heads back on tour this summer, and makes a long-awaited stop to play at the Mann for the first time since 1995. With the band’s first new studio albumin five years, Fuego, dropping on June 24 and a national tour, Phish fans have plenty to dance for. Note that tickets for both shows are sold out, but StubHub is a great resource to score tickets to this and other sold-out shows.
• The Soulshine Tour featuring Michael Franti & Spearhead: Tuesday, July 22. Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Combining groovy music and yoga practice, The Soulshine Tour arrives in to Philly on July 22 for an afternoon session of yoga followed by a concert with musical performances by Michael Franti & Spearhead, SOJA, Brett Dennan and Trevor Hall at the Skyline Stage at the Mann. Bring your yoga mat and good vibes. Tickets, starting at $20 for yoga only, are available online.
• Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Friday, July 25. Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds return to Philadelphia for a live performance at the Mann on Friday, July 25, 2014. Special guests include Philadelphia’s own Kurt Vile & the Violators and Nicole Atkins. Tickets, starting at $29.50, are available online.