Taking over Penn Presbyterian Medical Center’s Saunders Park Greene, the Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival will feature an all-women line up of jazz, R&B and soul artists, dance performances and a variety of food trucks and vendors. There will be something for jazz aficionados and novices alike.
Festival Fast Facts
- The jazz fest takes place Saturday, July 16, from noon-7 p.m. at Saunders Park Greene
- The event is free and promises family-friendly events.
- Multicultural cuisine will be available from food trucks like Ire Jamaican Caribbean and Samosa Deb, an Indian food truck.
- Two-dozen vendors will be selling goods including jewelry, housewares and offering Henna.
More than 3,000 festivalgoers are expected to come together at Saunders Park Greene, at 39th Street and Powelton Avenue, to browse and buy from artisans and vendors, grab eats from food trucks and groove to a huge lineup of music all day long.
Families should look for activities like a moon bounce and face painting, and community resources will be available, too.
The Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival is organized by the People’s Emergency Center’s Community Development Corporation, an organization that works with West Philadelphia communities by connecting residents to necessary resources, expanding housing and employment opportunities and providing technology education, among other things.
Headlining artist Sumi Tonooka hails from Philadelphia. The jazz pianist got her start with the instrument at the Settlement Music School in Philly, before receiving a music degree from Philadelphia College of Performing Arts.
In addition to headlining the jazz festival, Tonooka will be featured in the Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival’s annual Master Class recital held on Friday, July 15 at 6 p.m. The Master Class was curated and led by trumpeter Josh Lawrence and composed of three preparatory workshops that took place in late June and early July. The final recital will take place at the Community Education Center on 3500 Lancaster Avenue, with a reception immediately following the performance.
Other jazz musicians performing in the festival’s lady-led lineup include jazz vocalist Laurin Talese, a University of the Arts graduate originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Talese has worked with popular jazz and soul artists like Robert Glasper and Philadelphia natives Bilal and Vivian Green.
Saxophonist Nzinga Banks, spoken word artist Pheralyn “Lady Dove” Dove and the Charlene Holloway Band are just a few more of the eight acts set to grace the stage.
Festival Food and Shopping
An awesome array of culturally diverse food trucks will be on hand serving all day long.
For Caribbean and Soul Food, look for Gigi & Big R. For a taste of the islands in West Philadelphia, try Ire Jamaican Caribbean. Samaosa Deb food truck serves Indian cuisine, while Deen Muhammad will serve Halal.
Cool off on what looks like it will be a scorching Saturday (it’ll be a 91-degree day full of sunshine) with Curbside Creamery, a homemade ice cream truck that serves refreshing treats like ice cream cookie sandwiches and Belgian Waffle Sundaes.
The festival grounds will also feature an open-air bazaar of sorts, featuring two-dozen artists and vendors selling homemade crafts, food and beauty products. Able Mabel offers “ethnocentric” pillows, housewares and clothing and Chic Africa will be selling clothing and housewares. Look for Gems From The Heart, featuring jewelry made by People’s Emergency Center residents.
If driving, free parking is available one block beyond the park at Penn Presbyterian’s lot at Powelton Avenue and State Street.
If taking public transportation, Saunders Park Greene can be reached from the Market-Frankford Line 40th Street stop. Attendees can also reach the park by taking the trolley or via Indego Bike Share.