On June 21st, the day of the summer solstice and World Music Day, Philadelphia celebrated the occasion with live music throughout the city.
Local artists performed around the city with locations ranging from Fishtown to University City.Originating from France’s 1982 festival, Fetes de la Musique, Make Music Philly was created to showcase the talent of local musicians, both amateur and professional. The beauty of this event is that anyone could have participated. From hosting an event to performing at a set location, Make Music Philly guaranteed that everyone in the Philadelphia area had a chance to be apart of this citywide party.
At 11 o’clock I met up with Rock On Philly writer Megan Larsen and social media correspondent Livio Matteo to explore the city on that hot summers day. Wandering through the crowded streets, we ended up at what seemed to be a central location for the event, Love Park.
The area was packed with tables, pedestrians and music lovers trying to catch the upcoming shows. Constructed in the courtyard adjacent to the fountain, a small stage housed the equipment of bands to come. A host ran the event and smoothly introduced each new artist to come on stage. This included a talented guitar/vocalist from Temple University, and a raggae-esque 6-piece band with a shredding bassists and wailing guitarist. Not only did both artists kill their small sets, each vocalist advocated for United Way, an organization that supports education.
After watching these performances, we decided to head over to the Constitution Center. With a little searching we managed to find the stage and entered into large, open café where a Ryan Tennis concert was taking place. A solo-guitarist and vocalist from Philadelphia, Tennis sang some originals that were broken up by covers of bands like The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. The crowd, although relatively small, was open to the music and showed their appreciation with muffled claps and nods of agreement. Unfortunately, we arrived halfway through the set and only heard a couple of songs. Tennis was the last artist scheduled at this location so after he had concluded, our group departed for Northern Liberties, and more specifically Ortlieb’s Lounge.
Upon arrival and after a short conversation with an artist outside the bar, we discovered we had a little bit of time to waste between performances. After a quick bit to eat, we returned outside to watch Chris Cardillo of The Bailey Hounds. Cardillo played a solid set, showing that he was good even without a band to back him up. Although the act was well-done, the area that was considered a stage was little more than a side walk where a couple of people could stand. The crowded space made listening a little awkward, especially when a pedestrian needed to get through the audience.
Overall, my opinion of the Make Music Philly event was split. I really appreciated and stood behind the concept of giving all local musicians a chance to play in front of an audience. It is one of the best experiences to be encouraged and assured by a crowd that has enjoyed all the hard work put into each song. Events like these are the only way for new talent to be continually discovered and the music industry to continue advancing. On the other hand, the event was way too spaced out. Although the idea was bringing music to all of Philadelphia, as a listener, I had to do a lot of traveling in between venues and missed a lot of artists perform because of it. This being said, I do have to congratulate everyone who took part in this event. I may not have gotten to see everything, but every section I visited was organized and run smoothly. I hope that this was not a one-time thing, and that Philadelphia continues to praise its local artists.