Top 10 Performances From XPoNential 2015!

Featured Image by Amanda Silberling

The 2015 WXPN XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru saw a great turnout from the moment its gates opened Friday evening July 24th at 5pm. People lined up in advance alongside the festival entrance nearby the Adventure Aquarium and the picturesque Camden Waterfront. Many festival goers made good use of the Riverlink Ferry from Philadelphia side of the Delaware River to commute directly across to-and-from the festival. In an engaging setting that featured sponsors and vendors set up across the grounds with artists performing on two stages throughout the weekend, as well as headlining acts appearing on the stage at the Susquehanna Bank Center right next door on Saturday and Sunday evenings, there was no shortage of excitement! As I had the distinct privilege and honor to work as a member of the event business support staff and on the event load-in and load for WXPN, in-between shifts, I was fortunate to enjoy some of the great artists among those featured in the XPoNential Festival line-up. And so, from those artists whose sets I took in, on behalf of Rock on Philly I present to you the picks for my Top 10 Performances from XPoNential!

  1. George EzraSusquehanna Bank Center Main Stage: Sunday Night 7/26 (8:00PM)

One thing became abundantly clear more and more as one of the headlining acts at the Susquehanna Bank Center for the final night of the festival, George Ezra, performed on the big stage… He really has a fan base. As George performed into the evening people could easily be spotted across the lower bowl and lawn standing up to dance and sing along to his music.

  1. Milton JerseyArts.com Marina Stage at Wiggins Park: Friday Night 7/24 (6:10PM)

If you have not seen Philly’s own Milton Musiq perform, you are missing out. As the sun began to cast light across the festival grounds from the Delaware River on the opening night to a weekend filled with talent, Milton took the stage to set off a rhythmically infused eloquence and soulful spirit that would carry throughout the rest of the XPoNential Festival.

  1. Dawes River Stage at Wiggins Park: Friday Night 7/24 (10:05PM)

Third times the charm… Having had both their sets shortened by rain each of the two past years of the XPoNential Festival, Dawes took full opportunity in making up for any time that had been lost previously. Playing well into the night, the band happily gave new and returning fans the XPoNential performance they had wanted all along, as evident by the massive crowd that filled the lawn and seats in front of the stage along the banks of the Delaware.

  1. Cole ReddingJerseyArts.com Marina Stage at Wiggins Park: Friday 7/24 (5:30PM)

It is always good to start things off with a bang. The audience of festival go-ers poured in to Wiggins Park as the gates opened to this year’s installment of the XPoNential Festival, promptly making their way to the JerseyArts.com Marina Stage to pack the lawn area for this year’s opening act, local Philadelphia artist Cole Redding. Wasting no time whatsoever in obliging a huge crowd eager for great music, Cole ebbed and flowed with smooth soulful pop lyrics and the rhythmic chops of musician Clay Sears and his band that backed his strong performance. If Cole Redding keeps this up I suspect he may become a common household-name in the world of music, perhaps even sooner than we think.

  1. JD McPhersonRiver Stage at Wiggins Park: Friday 7/24 (6:45PM)

One of my favorite moments during multi-act outdoor music festivals sometimes comes in the perfect meeting of a nice sunset with a great live performance. The weather was beautiful all weekend long and the opening day of XPoNential was no exception! As the sun cast a tremendous back light behind the River Stage, JD McPherson and company brought an audience engaging and strong instrumental performance that left many of those in attendance mentioning his set throughout the rest of the weekend!

  1. Lord Huron River Stage at Wiggins Park: Saturday Night 7/25 (4:55PM)

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Photo by Samantha Sweeney

I had heard about Lord Huron from time to time over the past year here in Philly, though I did not know what to expect from their live performance- Which proved to register strongly with fans across the board… Usually there is an act I am surprised by, Lord Huron was that performance. I was hooked right away with their infusion of surf guitar riffs in the songs on the front end of their set.

  1. Indigo Girls River Stage at Wiggins Park: Sunday Night 7/26 (5:30PM)

Indigo Girls

Photo by David DeCristofaro

One of the benefits of being an 80’s kid was growing up to both 80’s and 90’s music… Anyone from my generation has heard an Indigo Girls song or two in their day. Hearing their music live was a real treat. Fans enjoyed a spirited set that included memorable hits from the songsmith duo during the lazy sunset of the final day of the festival.

  1. Delta RaeRiver Stage at Wiggins Park: Saturday Night 7/25 (6:40PM)

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Photo by Samantha Sweeney

The good folks of Delta Rae were awesome. By far the most fan-engaging band I have seen in a long time, the group spent ample time with fans at the Meet & Greet Tent in the XPN Members area and stopped to talk to every fan that approached them to say hello while en route to and from the stage both before and after their lively riverside set. It was refreshing to see a talented band with such a strong reciprocated love and interaction with their fans.

  1. Courtney BarnettRiver Stage at Wiggins Park: Sunday Night 7/26 (3:55PM)

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Photo by Amanda Silberling

Ah yes, Courtney Barnett. This was the set I was looking forward to seeing the most. Barnett recently rocked a full house with her set at Union Transfer here in Philly, while her single Pedestrian At Best has been generating buzz with music fans from all over the world as of late. I had a chance to hang out with her for a few minutes along the waterfront and share some laughs before her set. Artists and staff from XPN alike filled the sides of the stage area to watch her perform, and not one left disappointed.

  1. St. VincentSusquehanna Bank Center Main Stage: Saturday Night 7/25 (8:00PM)

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Photo by Amanda Silberling

Everything wonderful you may have heard about St. Vincent is entirely true. I love Annie Clark, her artistry and creativity is both genuine and real. Prior to her performance, she had made headlines for accepting entries for her to create the perfect mixtape for a lucky person who submits 50 words or less describing what in their life would benefit from a St. Vincent curated playlist… Unfortunately I missed the cut-off for submissions, but seriously, how cool is that? The delightful Clark commands an intrepid stage presence and set that she orchestrates with her hands and body language that communicate and accentuate her lyrics in a simultaneous synergetic rhythm to her audible expression of the words themselves. There are few sets that I can remember in my years as perfect. This was one of them.

I hope all of you who attended the 2015 XPoNential Festival will please share your favorite performances from the weekend as well! Cheers and we’ll see you next year at the waterfront in Camden!

Check out all of our photos from the show below!

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Photography: Amanda Silberling, Stephanie DeFeo, and Samantha Sweeney

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  1. Pingback: Son Little Brings Nu-Soul to Life in Self-Titled Debut Album - Rock On Philly

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