Popped! prevails despite indoor move

LUCAS BALLASY TTN Girl Talk concludes his set with pyrotechnics on Saturday night.

Despite threats of floods, the two-day music extravaganza Popped! Music Festival offered indie and electronic beats to listeners of all ages this past weekend. The weekend’s forecasted weather and possible flooding prompted organizers on Wednesday, Sept. 21, to move the event from FDR Park in South Philadelphia to the Liacouras Center.

Headlining performances  came from Cage the Elephant and The Shins on Friday, Sept. 23, and Pretty Lights, Girl Talk, Foster the People and shorter acts from 23 other bands. Starting early afternoon Friday and late morning Saturday, festival-goers were provided more than 20 hours of live entertainment.

The size constraints caused by the move from FDR to the North Philly theater meant instead of performances on two side stages and one main stage, the shows were forced onto one main stage. Each band’s set was shortened slightly to provide for set changes, including the headlining Shins’ act which ran approximately 75 minutes, after they came on approximately 15 minutes late.

The original format for the festival also featured performances from comedians, and a food bazaar featuring vendors and food trucks from all over the city, such as Sweetbox, Hardena’s and Nomad Pizza, among others, which were nixed in the Liacouras Center. After the relocation, the bazaar moved to the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties.

Even though Popped! attendees were consequently limited to domestic brews, hot dogs, french fries and the like with the Liacouras Center’s more limited dining options, the bazaar found a convenient home at the Piazza. Festivities in the Northern Liberties area were already scheduled for the weekend as part of this ye ar’s Girard Fest.

Energetic and well-received performances came from the last two bands Friday evening–The Shins and Cage the Elephant, whose lead singer crowd surfed at least two times. Both shows drew drastically larger crowds than the other earlier performances.

Other members of the much-anticipated and independent lineup on Friday included Panda Bear, Elbow, The Hold Steady, Company of Thieves and Dead Confederate. Among Saturday’s 17 performances were Rakim, DJ ?uestlove of The Roots, Cults and Titus Andronicus.

The first Popped! graced the city’s music scene in 2007, but the festival has faced some issues the last few years. In 2009, LiveNation, who planned to sponsor the fest, pulled out last minute, causing organizers to find a plan B and coordinate efforts with the Philly Street Festival. Last year, there were no plans for Popped!. But despite minor problems caused by the weather, this year’s ‘plan B’ played out pretty nicely.

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