Summer Music Festival Preview

The summer months offer many summer festival options in Philadelphia and beyond.

XPoNential Music Festival
Date: July 26-28
$: Seating closer to the stage ranges upward of $100, but seats toward the rear and lawn range from $40-$60
Where: Wiggins Park and Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, N.J.

Presented by WXPN, this three-day festival features some of the biggest alternative rock, folk and indie artists around. The big names headlining the festival this year are The Lumineers, Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket. XPoNential also showcases a lot of singer-songwriters, like Ryan Bingham and Michael Kiwanuka, as well as many other local artists like the popular group Dr. Dog. In addition to the usual food and drink vendors, Flying Fish Brewing Company is a sponsor of the festival, and there will be many craft brew stands set up throughout the grounds. Tickets go on sale May 1.

Firefly Music Festival
Date: June 21-23
$: Three-day passes are available for $258, but as the festival draws nearer, single day tickets will become available
Where: Dover, Del.

Some of the most popular bands in the country will be at Firefly, and there is quite a diverse selection: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Calvin Harris, Foster the People, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and The Walkmen. Firefly is held on an 87-acre campground, surrounded by lush forests – sort of the Northeast’s equivalent of Bonnaroo. Also interspersed throughout the festival are eight pop-up restaurants, each with unique dishes, and two venues that appeal to wine and beer lovers. The Vineyard will feature selections from the area’s wineries, while The Brewery will have the popular Dogfish Head craft pale-ales, including the debut of what they are calling “Firefly Ale.” Concert-goers can also experience the music from hundreds of feet up in the sky, since $20 dollar hot air balloon rides will be available on site.

Made in America
Date: August 31 and September 1
$: Two-day passes are available for $169
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pa.

For Philadelphia’s second Made in America festival, Jay-Z hands the reins over to Beyoncé. This year’s festival will feature an extremely diverse array of artists: Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Deadmau5, Phoenix, Calvin Harris, Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and 2 Chainz. The mix of today’s biggest hip-hop artists combined with hard and alternative rock groups is designed to re-introduce Budweiser to a younger demographic. Last year’s festival was a success, as Jay-Z and other artists, including Pearl Jam, performed in front of nearly 50,000 people. Like last year, there will be three different stages set up across the parkway. The proceeds from the concert will go to United Ways in the Greater Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey and Lancaster County. Last year’s two-day festival let Philadelphia and New Jersey invest more than $350,000 into education and other career-oriented programs to equip high school and college graduates with proper job skills and training. This year’s festival promises to be just as successful.

Philadelphia Folk Festival
Date: August 15-18
$: Tickets can be purchased for the entire festival for around $120, or you can attend a select weekend show, with tickets ranging from $40-$60
Where: Old Pool Farm, Schwenksville, Pa.

Sponsored by the non-profit Philadelphia FolkSong Society, the Philadelphia Folk Festival is the largest and longest-running outdoor folk festival in the country. While the lineup for this year has not been released yet, festivals in the past have featured Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and the Dukes and tributes to legendary folk artists like Woody Guthrie. They might not be household names, but the Philadelphia Folk Festival is all about the experience, as over 5,000 people camp for the weekend, allowing for a very convivial and festive atmosphere. The festival also features arts and crafts, with experts all over the campgrounds demonstrating glassmaking, metalsmith and candle making. Discounted tickets can be purchased before August 1.

Date: August 2 to August 11
$: Tickets range from $29-$50, depending on who is performing
Where: Bethlehem, Pa.

This is Musikfest’s 30 year anniversary celebration of the festival, which attracts up to one million people to the city of Bethlehem, Pa., each August. The festival is celebrating this year with an eclectic lineup including Carly Rae Jepson, OneRepublic, Styx, Foreigner and Ke$ha, as well as a tribute to Peter Frampton: Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus. The festival also includes free performances by over 30 different artists.

Roots Picnic
Date: June 1
$: $63
Where: Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, Pa.

This year’s sixth annual Roots Picnic is hosted by Philadelphia’s own hip-hop group The Roots and will be featuring performances by Gary Clark Jr., Grimes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the classic group Naughty by Nature. All of the artists are handpicked by The Roots themselves.

Dave Ziegler can be reached at

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