The 5th annual Roots Picnic kicked off on Saturday, June 2nd at the Festival Pier on Penn’s Landing. The gates opened at noon with Mother Nature providing picture perfect weather for the entire day.
The eleven hour day of music (on two stages) began 20 minutes after the gates opened.
The event was open to people of all ages and we saw everyone from young children to grey haired folks jamming out at the Festival Pier.
When fans weren’t checking out acts on the main stage or in the tent, they were lounging around on the bleachers, ground, or picnic benches, hula-hooping, drinking beer, or waiting in (a long) line for food.
The lines were so long for food at one point that we spoke to people who had been waiting almost a full hour to get a cheese-steak. Maybe at the 2013 Roots Picnic they will allow people to bring actual picnic baskets.
The real reason people flock to the Roots Picnic isn’t for the food however. It’s always been about one thing, the music.
This year’s line-up featured artists from a wide range of genres. There were sixteen performances in total on Day 1, and several of them included multiple acts.
The major draws on Day 1 included Stretch Armstrong, tUnE-yArDs, Flosstradamus, St. Vincent, James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem who played a DJ set), and a two and a half hour headlining set by The Roots, De La Soul, and Wale.
While some sets did overlap, the promoters did a decent job of making sure that fans could catch acts on both stages. James Murphy actually apologized to fans in the tent for starting his set while St. Vincent was still playing on the Main Stage, but said he was scheduled to start playing at 7pm (which he was).
The highlight of the day was clearly the lengthy hip-hop performance by the Roots, Wale, and De La Soul. The Roots opened with a tribute to recently deceased Beastie Boys member MCA; Black Thought and company rocked a cover of “Paul Revere” (which they actually performed twice because the volume on the mics wasn’t working properly the first time).
After several more songs by the Roots, Wale took the stage. Up next it was De La Soul’s turn to wow the crowd. Finally, the Roots returned to close out the show.
You can view a full photo gallery of Day 1 below: