Eclectic mix of artists to rock NoLibs

WXPN is presenting a winter musical festival at The Fire starting today, Feb. 12.

The 2013 Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival will be held today, Feb. 12 to Feb. 16. The festival will take place at The Fire on West Girard Avenue.

This will be the ninth annual festival and will include more than 30 artists, ranging a broad musical spectrum.

The diverse lineup allows a number of musical styles to be showcased and gives music fans around the city a reason to convene in Northern Liberties.

“This festival is an opportunity for Northern Liberties to host a great show,” Jay Purdy, lead singer of festival performers, The Extraordinaires, said.  “I like to imagine it as a gala event, where dignitaries from West Philly, South Philly, Center City and beyond are invited to tour the grounds, enjoy a beverage and talk music.”

The local radio station presenting the festival, 88.5 WXPN, is known for hosting area music events including its annual XPoNential Music Festival held in July.

The Festival will kick off tonight with a tribute to Van Morrison that includes Reverend T.J. McGlinchey, Nate Skiles Band featuring Slowy and The Boats, Brad Hinton Band, Swedeland, Dan Collins, Small Houses, John Francis and special guest Ben Arnold.

The night will allow for some of Philadelphia’s best songwriters to honor another songwriter who is sometimes underrated.

“I think he’s just one of those songwriters I like without really being aware of how intensely awesome his work is” McGlinchey said of Morrison.

Wednesday’s lineup consists of Asbury Park duo Brick+Mortar, as well as Ruby the Hatchet, Revolution, I Love You, Swear and Shake, City Rain, and Black Stars.

American Babies will be taking the stage Thursday night, as well as The Fleeting Ends, Ross Bellenoit, Joe D’Amico Band, and Mike Mizwinski of MiZ. Fans can expect to see some great guitar work all night.

“Thursday is the night if you’re into guitar players, with folks like Ross Bellenoit, Brad Hinton, Tom Hamilton and Mike Miz playing in their respective bands,” Joe D’Amico of Joe D’Amico Band said.

Prominent Philadelphia MC, Reef the Lost Cauze will headline Friday night of the festival, bringing his raw style of hip hop to Northern Liberties.

“[It’s] a very hectic scene. I don’t really do perfection well,” Reef the Lost Cauze said of his performances. “My set has always been controlled chaos.”

Bok Nero, Rone, Chalk & The Beige Americans, Sammy Dimes, and Jahn Q. Publaq are also scheduled to perform Friday night.

Saturday’s lineup will feature Philadelphia’s own, The Extraordinaires. Conversations With Enemies, Anjuli Josephine, Quilt, Tinmouth, and OhBree are also scheduled to perform.

The night will also serve as Anjuli Josephine’s release party for her new EP.

Artists said that the festival will bring exposure from new fans and bring different types of music and people together in the Philadelphia music scene.

“The idea that people have to stick in one circle or one scene so to speak is kind of eliminated,” Reef the Lost Cauze said. “It makes for different audiences and different experiences. That is just something that this festival does.

“It brings different bands and fans together,” D’Amico said.

Many artists on the bill are friends and collaborators, familiar with each other from performing around the city.

“I’ve known most of these guys for years,” McGlinchey said. “It’s fun when we all get to be in the same room playing tunes that we all can sing along to.”

Artists said The Fire is the prefect venue for the event.

“When The Fire is full to the brim with people it really comes to life,” Purdy said. “There’s something about the geometry of that room. I almost wish they’d install a chandelier in that place that was safe to swing from, because at around 1 a.m. that starts sounding like a really good idea.”

As well as having a great venue, the festival is known to feature some of the best lineups around.

“The Fire’s Winter Music Festival is one of a number of cool things they do each year,” D’Amico said. “They usually hand pick some of the best bands and put some great bills together for it.”

Purdy, who has played the festival in the past, said this year’s lineup is as strong as ever.

“We’re honored to be part of it,” Purdy said.

The festival will serve as a showcase for local talent and a chance for fans, new and old, to take part in the music, including performers themselves.

“I know there’s a lot of bands that I’ve never seen or I’ve never heard of that I plan on checking out,” Reef the Lost Cauze said.

Speaking of what can be expected from the festival: “Amazing local talent performing songs you might not be aware of how much you love, or you might already know, either way, great music,” McGlinchey said.

Tickets range from $8-$10 and are available at All shows are 21-plus.

Kyle Noone can be reached at 

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