Philly Local Festival & Fun Guide Summer 2015

festIn case you haven’t heard, summer is officially here. Around here, summer season is festival time. Earlier this week we featured six highly recommended summer music festivals from California to Connecticut. If you saw that list then you knew that we were planning on highlighting some of the best festivals local to our area as well. Each of the local events on our list pack just as much entertainment, and have all of the family, food, fun and even philanthropy as the festivals we highlighted earlier this week. So grab your gear and come on out and dance. The best part about this list is that you don’t need to break the bank on traveling or burn up all your vacation time to join the fun. Not one of these summer events are more than a 3 hour drive from the Philly metropolitan area.
We’ve included a link to the website where you can find ticket and accommodation info for each event. See you there!

Camp Bisco Montage Mountain Scranton PA 7/16-18, 2015. Electronic dance meets jam band style rock in this 3 day rain or shine camping and music event created by Philly’s own Disco Biscuits. This year, its 13th, marks a change of venue from upstate its former home in upstate NY to the beautiful Pocono mountains of PA.

Bear’s Picnic Liberty Festival Grounds Roaring Branch, PA 8/6-10, 2015. A music packed 4 days are complimented by a family friendly atmosphere at this 10th installment of Bear’s Picnic. Arts & crafts, a children’s activity area (run by certified teachers), kid’s music classes with an onstage performance on Sunday, and FREE admission for kids 15 and under coupled with artists like Leftover Salmon and Steve Kimock’s tribute to Jerry Garcia featuring Jeff Chimenti, Jay Lane and more.

Philadelphia Folk Festival Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, PA 8/13-16, 2015. Every August for an astounding 54 summers, people have flocked to Schwenksville, PA for this annual event. Music, community, camaraderie, and zany fun have always been a hallmark of Folk Fest. There’s something to do for every age, every kind of people. And this year the fest welcomes the return of the legendary Arlo Guthrie alongside favorites like North Mississippi Allstars and new addition Lyle Lovett.

Peace of Mind 5 Camp Muckleratz Elizabethville, PA 9/3-6, 2015. Peace of Mind Fest is a weekend long music festival and camp out held on Labor Day weekend 2015. This year it will feature 2 stages of music along with food, craft vendors, kid’s activities, after show jams, and more. This event features some of the region’s most talented bands, including One Unified friends and featured artists Steal Your Face and Jah People. A long list of local and national touring acts round out the bill for this mellow and family friendly fest.

F.A.R.M. Music and Arts Buena Vista Campground Buena, NJ 7/23-26, 2015. F.A.R.M. stands for Future of Artistic and Revolutionary Minds. This event is a 3 day gathering that is, as described by its promoters, “designed to uplift people’s senses of creative thinking and sustainable living with musicians who feel it, artists who express it, and teachers who explain it.” Simply put, there’s music from a variety of genres, including headliners Keller Williams and Papadosio, there’s live performance art, art installations, interactive performances, workshops and more. One of the more eclectic events on our radar, this may be one for the adventurous festival goer to try.

Liberation Music & Arts Festival Sandy Valley Campground White Haven, PA 7/24-26, 2015.
An ideal summer festival localfestsetting, White Haven provides a perfect spot for this fabulously funky festival. Billed as an “epic weekend of music and arts,” the Liberation Festival features artists that include: Break Science, Consider the Source, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, The Underwater Sounds, Desert Dwellers, Splintered Sunlight and Jah Works. Plus a highly anticipated collaborative super jam set to include Nick Cassarino, Nate Edgar and Weedie Braimah from The Nth Power; Joey Porter from The Motet; Alvin Ford Jr. from Dumpstaphunk; and Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis, “The Shady Horns” from Lettuce. This one is definitely a festival for the music lover.

XPoNential Music Festival Susquehanna Bank Center & Wiggins Park Camden NJ 7/24-26, 2015. What makes this one slightly different from others on our list is that this is not a camping or overnight type event. This 3 days festival has been taking place on the Camden waterfront (just across the bridge from Philadelphia) for more than a decade. With a full days worth of performances  at 2 different venues, and available 3 day concert passes you can pick which to attend. With acts like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, My Morning Jacket, George Ezra, The Wailers, The Indigo Girls and more, there’s a show for everyone. And it’s all sponsored by Philly’s award-winning local public radio station, WXPN.

The Peach Music Festival as featured in our previous post.

The Budweiser Made In America Festival Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 9/5-6, 2015.
Made in America is a massive musical celebration that takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Labor Day weekend. With the city of Philadelphia as its backdrop, MIA stages and performers take over the Parkway. The gates to the festival grounds open at noon each day, the event is rain or shine and there’s no re-entry on either day. In addition to the three stages, the festival grounds will also feature a specialized food tbenjamin-franklin-parkway-210361_640ruck area, merchandise tents and beer gardens. The lineup has yet to be announced for this year’s fest but if previous years are any indication (Jay-Z, Beyonce’, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Pearl Jam to name a few) it will not disappoint.

Whether it’s one of our local suggestions, or something you’ve chosen all on your own, get out and take advantage of the incredible selection of music festivals that summer has to offer. Try something new. Share with family and friends. Festivals make memories that last a lifetime. So get out and see some lie music this summer.

Sunday Spotlight: Jersey Shore Edition

sea_isle_city_signSummer is here. For many locals in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas this means one if not many trips to the Jersey shore. If you’re not familiar with, or have never been to the shore, let us give you a few basic facts. One, the Jersey shore is nothing, absolutely nothing, like you may have seen on the tv show of the same name. And the further south you go, the less like it it becomes. Two, if you’re talking to someone from Philly and ask them where they are going on vacation and they say “I’m going ‘down the shore'”, they mean that they are hitting one of the shore points that line coastal New Jersey from top to bottom. We here in this area take for granted that sometimes we say things to people and they have no idea what the heck we are talking about (See also: going up the mountains. This means that they are taking a trip to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania).

So this summer, we’re going ‘down the shore’ as part of our Sunday Spotlight series. Out first stop, Sea Isle City. A quick seaisle1stop at the Sea Isle visitor’s center located at 300 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in Sea Isle, provides you with a map and guides for everything going on in Sea Isle this summer from movie nights to music events to midnight munchie spots. A booklet outlining transportation, beach guidelines, and the best places to eat just to name a few things will help the first time visitor navigate this friendly beach town.
We spoke to a few people who were at the visitor center and around town in hopes of getting the scoop on why Sea isle City is worthy of our first Jersey Shore Edition spotlight. One woman we spoke to said that Sea Isle has “the perfect balance for a shore town.” Some towns she said, “are a little bit rowdy and cater more to a younger party type crowd. And some are obviously much more quiet and upscale, almost too quiet. Sea Isle has young and old, something for everyone. It’s family friendly but still fun for college kids and spring break types too.”

It’s true that our guide showed a good blend of activities for both adults and kids and the town is full of places for kids to play and adults to party. There’s 3 playgrounds, a kid’s activity zone, and free family dance parties every week. No kids? No problem. Sea Isle is loaded with things to do, places to go, and people to see. And when we asked where people’s favorite places to go were, we got no shortage of opinions. While you can easily find all of the whats, whens and wheres in the visitor’s guide, or ask just about any one of the friendly shop owners or servers you’ll encounter, there were a few things that we just needed to get first hand opinions on: pizza, breakfast, and of course beer.

Who has the best breakfast in town? Rick’s Breakfast House (at 61st and Landis) got the top honors of those we asked. One commenter said, “the breakfast sandwiches are out of this world.” Another reminded, “they only take cash so be sure to stop at the ATM first, but it’s totally worth it.” We found that to be true of several local businesses and eateries in Sea Isle so take note and carry cash, or at least be sure to have your ATM card handy.

Where should we go for a cold beer in an unpretentious environment?deaddog
A slight difference in opinion here but a little research actually backed up both claims. A long time Sea Isle summer resident told us that The Springfield fit the bill perfectly. “It’s a little older crowd and it’s been around forever. If you’ve been coming here a while, you’ve been drinking at The Springfield. Plus they have ‘No Shower Happy Hour’ and the outdoor bar has live music every day.” As someone who’s had more than a few beers at The Springfield over the years, I can’t say I disagree. And while our other responder seemed to like The Springfield as well, she told us that “The Dead Dog is the most laid back bar on the island. If you just want to go hang out and have a few beers this is the best spot. If you’re trying to dance and pick up guys or whatever, save it for LaCosta or The OD (Ocean Drive).”

Where should we go for really good pizza?
We got a mix of opinions here but at the end of the day there were two that prevailed. Basilicos (on 43rd st) got good feedback from everyone. It’s a full scale restaurant so you can get more than just pizza, and as one person said, “their sauce is out of this world and the pizza is the best on the island by far.” Another popular choice we got was DeNunzio’s. While we can’t argue that beachfront pizza is living the dream, our new found friends told us that “the brick oven pizza is so, so delicious.” Who are we to argue. Honorable mentions: Uncle Oogies, a Sea Isle staple that delivers to the beach (yes, to the beach) and Azzura.

And if we’re looking for good live music, where is the best place to be?
A handful we asked, and a handful all answered, the OD. The Ocean Drive located at 40th st. and Landis ave. in the heart of Sea Isle, has been the island’s hot spot for generations. Boasting a ‘No Shower Happy Hour, tons of drink specials, and an outdoor bar and grill, it’s definitely one of the most popular places in Sea Isle. Entertainment nightly, with bands like seashore staple Secret Service, have kept people coming back for years.

seaisle3seaisle2While we’ve covered our basic shore point needs of beer, beach and bands, there are a million other things to do and see in Sea Isle. Come down and check it out for yourself. Check out our sneak peak at summer 2015 below and have a great time checking out Sea Isle City this summer. Bonus: Sea Isle runs a jitney (shuttle bus) service during the summer to help you get around a little easier while visiting. For the bulk of the summer it runs 7 days a week from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. It runs up and down Landis ave from 29th st. to 94th st. and will stop at basically any corner where someone is waiting to flag it down. So there’s no excuse to get behind the wheel if you’ve had one too many!

Sea Isle City Food Truck Rally June 26th, 2015 – June 28th, 2015
Kix McNutley’s 6400 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City, NJ 08243

Sea Isle City’s Got Talent June 26th, 2015 – August 14th, 2015
Excursion Park 40th St. & Pleasure Ave., Sea Isle City, NJ 08243

Free Movies Under the Stars
Excursion Park, JFK Blvd and Pleasure Ave. Dusk
June 30 – “Paddington”
July 7 – “The Boxtrolls”
July 14 – “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July”
July 21 – “The Lego Movie”
July 28 – “Earth to Echo”
August 4 – “Planes – Fire and Rescue”
August 11 -“Maleficent”
August 18 – “Dolphin Tale 2”
August 25 – “Annie: It’s the Hard Knock Life” (2014)
September 2 – “Cinderella” (2015)

Free Concerts Under the Stars
Excursion Park, 8-10pm
June 20 – Split Decision (Pop)
June 27 – Lights Out (Four Seasons Tribute)
*July 4 – Atlantic Pops Orchestra 7:30-9pm, followed by Fireworks (Rain date: July 5)
July 11 – Real Diamond (Neil Diamond Tribute)
July 18 – BSTREETBAND (Bruce Springsteen Tribute)
July 25 – The Glimmer Twins (Rolling Stones Tribute)
August 1 – Masquerade (R&B)
August 8 – Separate Ways The Band (Journey Tribute)
August 15 – Alan Jackson & Garth Brooks Tribute
August 22 – The Rockets (Variety)
August 29 – Don’t Call Me Francis (Variety)
September 5 – Bigg Romeo (Variety)

Summer 2015 is Underway: What to do in June.

Thanks for helping us kick off the unofficial first week of summer! Sure, we still have nearly a month to go until it’s actually summer, but let’s face it, once Memorial Day has come and gone, we’re all in summer mode. We hope you took the time to check out this week’s interviews and our Memorial Day Wall of Honor.

summertodoguide3It’s hard to believe that June is already upon us. Soon, school will be out, the beaches will be packed, and back yards everywhere will be filled with the smell of chlorine and sunscreen. There is already so much on our summer calendar that we just had to share some of June’s excellent events with you. Check out what you can and please let us know of any events you’d like to share. Leave us a comment or stop by our Facebook page and tell us about it.

Thirsty? Philly Beer Week just kicked off and is under way! Running from May 29th- June 7th, it is abeer 10 day celebration that features pub crawls, beer tastings, tours and more from over 40 local bars, breweries, and more. For tickets and full event info you can check out the Philly Beer Week website here.

Spruce Street Harbor Park opened up last weekend! Set along the Delaware River Waterfront (On Columbus Blvd at Spruce Street), it features a beautiful outdoor oasis. Gardens, a lounge, bistro seating, gorgeous lighting, family events, dining and entertainment, all under the warm, bright sunshine, or moonlit sky. This year there are 2 cool events going on at Harbor Park all summer long.
The Art Star Pop-Up Market which runs every Saturday from 11-4 and features artists, artisans and crafts people selling their wares. And The Punk Rock Flea Market running every Sunday from 11-5, and features locally made products, vintage apparel, new and old merchandise, crafts, jewelry, and more.

June 14th, is Pride Day in Philly. The celebration is marked by the LGBT Pride Parade and Festsummertodopost2ival. The parade kicks off at 13th and Locust at 11:30 a.m. and proceeds through Center City and Philadelphia’s historic district. The parade terminates at the Great Plaza of Penn’s Landing, where the festival is held. The festival features food, drinks, games, entertainment, and over 80 community, sports, and religious organizations. For more information and a schedule of events visit http://www.phillygaypride.org

Of course summer entertainment wouldn’t be complete without music. Summer time is concert time. Philadelphia has something for everyone, of every musical taste this year. Whether pop is your thing, you need a little bit of soul, or you’re ready to rock out, there’s something in June’s concert notables for you. Check them out.

June 7th: Get the party started with the B52’s at The Keswick Theatre
June 10th: Fall for Fallout Boy & Wiz Khalifa at Susquehanna Bank Center
June 13th: Pop’s reigning princess Taylor Swift plays at Lincoln Financial Field or
Barry Manilow croons at Wells Fargo
June 16th: The Divine Miss Bette Midler plays at Wells Fargo and
John Mellencamp brings the heartland to Philly at The Merriam Theatre
June 17th: Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant with Sensational Space Shifters at The Mann
June 19th: It’s a 90’s throwback with NKOTB (New Kids on the Block), TLC and Nelly at Wells Fargo
June 20th: The queen of soul Aretha Franklin appears at Caesars Atlantic City
June 21st: The legendary Sir Paul McCartney performs at Wells Fargo
June 25th: Rock out with Rush at Wells Fargo
June 27th: CCR’s John Fogerty rocks The Mann
and also at The Mann on June 28th: Go old school with Bare Naked Ladies, Violent Femmes, and (Men at Work’s) Colin Hay.
That’s just the first month of summer concert season. Check out Tourbeat for more artists and dates or visit the venue’s websites. If a fun and fabulous summer festival is more your speed, check out Festival Finder or Jam Base’s Festival Guide to find out what’s going on locally and nationally on the summer festival scene.

summertodopostAnd we can’t forget the littlest One Unified fans.
The Dinosaurs of the Deep exhibit continues now through the first week of July every day at Adventure Aquarium in Camden. And the incredible Art of the Brick Lego exhibit is still hanging around this summer at The Franklin Institute. It’s the world’s largest Lego exhibit, made of over 100 creations using over one MILLION Legos!
If you’re looking smithparkto get outside with the kids, a visit to Smith Playground & Playhouse, one of the oldest playgrounds in America dating back to 1899, is a must for every pint sized Philadelphian. The playground, located in Fairmount Park, offers children a free place to play, jump, swing and climb.

We hope you’ll keep it here all summer long for more stories, more interviews, more music news, and new features. Summer 2015 is underway! Make it a great one.

Summer Fun…”Down the Shore”

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Wildwood is a hot spot for people in summer. Today we’re talking to the general manager of the Kings Inn, a motel in North Wildwood, NJ.

How long has the Kings Inn been in business?
“Since 1985.”

Are you originally from Wildwood?
“No. I’m originally from Delaware.”

What brought you to Wildwood?
“Right out of high school, I just came down to my grandmothers down here and started my life.”

Are the owners of the Kings Inn from Wildwood?
“Not originally, no. Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia area I believe.”

How long have you worked there?
“This is my 19th summer.”

What made them decide to open a hotel there?
“This was already an existing business when they purchased it. It was a turn in key from a family that owned it before and was selling it and it was a partnership and an investment.”

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What is the busiest time during the summer, that are busiest for you?
“Fourth of July is very busy. We have a soccer tournament the last weekend in June, which is right before the Fourth of July. And the first week in August is exceptionally busy.”

What would you say the Kings Inn offers that other places don’t?
“Location. We’re on the Boardwalk at 23rd Ave. in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Two blocks north of Morey’s Pier.”

Why do you think Wildwood is such a hotspot for families to come to?
“The main reason, is it’s a huge amusement destination. There’s everything to do here from Motorcraft to beach walking, water parks to amusements, and inexpensive I would say. The crest is probably more expensive. (As for the hotel) Excellent prices that we offer as compared to other resorts.”

Do you find the people come from all different parts of the country?
“Yeah, I have a woman that’s coming here from Kissimmee, Florida for four weeks this year. She has family in the Philadelphia area and she comes up to visit and they all get rooms here from the tri-state area. I’ve had them come from California before.”

What Wildwood has come to gain a sketchy reputation over the years. Do you feel that is true or that it is a family friendly destination?
“It’s coming back to the families. It had troubles, I would say, in the 90s. But the families are starting to come back. I think the wise of the condos have been a detriment to the tourism business. The little tiny hotels that were bought out and turned into condos, people come in and complain about that. That’s one of the biggest concerns. They like the little quaintness of a family motel.”

I remember being a little sad seeing all those condos go up and the mom-and-pop places closing down. That was always one of the cool little nuances of Wildwood. So you feel that those condos hurt Wildwood?
“I do feel that. I see them empty. They’re surrounding our motel. There never completely full except for the Fourth of July weekend and the weekends that we do really well. But that’s just because we are full and they start to branch out to the condos. I believe someone told me that there’s only 8000 motel rooms on the island now. There’s over 9000 fireman, so the convention, The firemen I’ve had to go to the condos. And a lot of the condos don’t have pools or conference centers or meeting places. So it just gets more and more difficult for people to come. But in the same token, The city has taxed the little mom-and-pop places so high, that want to developer comes and offer them a couple million dollars, they’re going to take it and run. The taxes in the city are tremendous as compared to A six-month business if you’re lucky.”

Why do you think people prefer to stay at the mom-and-pop places as opposed to the condos, besides the pool and conference rooms if needed?
“Daily maid service. Condos don’t offer that and they probably don’t offer linens all the time. The people enjoy getting up, being able to go out on the boardwalk and have their breakfast. They come back and the rooms are nice and fresh and then change for the beach or the pool, start their day. Lots of time so just go out and ride the boardwalk and want to come back and get showered. It’s just a convenience. Some people don’t want maid service but most people do and that is a plus.”

What is your favorite time of year there?
“The busier the better. The end of July, beginning of August. We go from April till October but don’t really pick up a lot of business until the kids are all out of school. Usually Father’s Day weekend. When we’re busy were like a well oiled machine. Right now were just really a weekend business. We offer really, really good rates. We offer five nights for $129 for the week in May, up until Memorial Day. Then the prices go up as the schools let out. However busy the boardwalk is, is how we judge our business. And we do have really excellent weekend packages on the off-season. And we do really well but we can’t work just on weekends.
They tried making the city a year round town, they made the Holly Street mall a walk-in mall and tried to bring more residents in to the town to make it year round but it doesn’t work if the piers and the beach aren’t open. The weather is really a major concern. If you have bad weather, you don’t have tourists. Where as when you go to Disney World or other places it doesn’t matter if it rains. It does here. It’s a huge beach resort and it’s a very large beach. You can put more people on this beach than any other than I’ve ever been to.”

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Why do you feel people should come to Wildwood for vacation?
“The boardwalk is a safe place both day and night. The Morey’s have really done a tremendous thing for the city. There’s more to do and to come to the Kings Inn, it’s a convenient place. You park your car I don’t have to move it the whole time you’re here, although you can, we have one parking spot per unit, included in the price which is rare in a city. It’s also assigned parking so you know you have a parking spot to come back to. The only time you might want to take your car out is if you’re going to go to other restaurants in the area. But you can eat a full dinner, breakfast, and lunch right out on the boardwalk and not move your car at all.
As for Wildwood, there’s just more to do. We have three piers of amusements. You can pay one price and do unlimited rides on all three piers. When you do the water park pass you get the tramcar for free, with the wristband, till 5 PM. There are bowling alleys, movie theaters, fishing boats. A lot of the resorts have those, but it’s very busy here and there’s a lot to do. You never run out of things to do here.”

Today’s Delicious Summer Poll

Memorial Day: Starting our Summer by Honoring the Memory of Those Who Gave All.

It’s Memorial Day!
Everyone knows that today is the “unofficial” start to the summer season. The mercury is climbing. Pools are open. The beach is packed. Cookouts are in full swing. And summer vacation is just a whisper away. We will most definitely be bringing you a taste of summer fun this week with our summer kick off. First though, we want to pause for a moment and remind everyone that today is about much more than barbecues and beach balls.

Memorial Day is recognized as a United States federal holiday for the purpose of remembering the people who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday is observed every year on the last Monday of May. While it is perfect timing for a gateway to summer, and what better way to remember those we’ve lost than with a celebration? It is also a solemn day. It’s a day for reflection. It’s a day for memories. It’s a day to honor and give thanks. So while you’re flipping burgers on the grill, or flipping over to get an even tan, take a few precious moments to pause, reflect and remember that today there are mothers remembering sons and daughters, brothers remembering brothers, wives remembering husbands, children remembering parents, and all of us remembering that the sacrifices that these unspeakably brave men and women have made, make it possible for you to sip that next beer, toss that next frisbee, swim that next lap…
So let us raise our glasses to the memory of the men and women of the United States armed forces. And take a moment to read our Veterans Memorial Wall (originally posted here), really read it… repeat the names, look at the dates, take note of the ages, the ways in which they were lost. I promise you that if you do that, that next sip of beer will taste smoother, the next bite of that hot dog will taste better, and your freedom, your sweet, sweet freedom will seem more valuable than ever.

To those who sent in the names of their lost love ones: we are profoundly sorry for the loss that you have had to endure. We thank you for sharing your heroes with us.
Happy Memorial Day! Summer… here we come!

wallofhonor

click on the image to view full size memorial.