The annual Roots Picnic concert celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. 2012 marked the first time that the show was expanded to two days, Saturday, June 2nd, and Sunday, June 3rd. Both days took place at the Festival Pier on Penns Landing and featured two stages.
We’ll give you a separate break down of each day (complete with its own photo gallery and recap) below. Simply click the link for each day to get the full details on what went down at this year’s event.
Popped Music Festival was scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia’s FDR Park, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans. The event, which was to feature two stages of live music and comedy, as well as a wide range of gourmet food trucks, was forced to make last second plans late last week to move the event indoors. The change in venues was due to forecasts for soaking weekend rain. After some of the highest rain totals and worst flooding on record over the past two months in our area, the concert promoters weren’t taking any chances.
The move from FDR Park to the Liacouras Center at Temple University brought about several disappointing changes to the festival. The gourmet food trucks were not included in the event. Instead, those attending Popped Festival were left with the limited food choices being served by the permanent vendors inside the Liacouras Center (which basically boiled down to hotdogs, pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, ice cream, and soft pretzels), and a very pedestrian beer selection (highlighted by $5 plastic bottles of Miller Lite).
Another unfortunate casualty of the move indoors was the removal of the second stage. This stage was set to host all of the comedians and some of the the musical acts. Without it, there were no comedians included in Popped Festival and the set times had to be changed to incorporate all of the bands/artists onto one stage.
An outdoor setting also would have allowed fans to sit in chairs or blankets on the grass/dirt instead of the hard concrete floor of the Liacouras Center. All in all the move indoors was a let down but we applaud all of those involved with the move for getting it together so quickly and still providing a great line-up of bands on both Friday & Saturday.
Friday’s line-up included headliners The Shins & Cage The Elephant (catch our Cage The Elephant interview here) as well as other great acts like The Joy Formidable, Elbow, and Panda Bear. Saturday’s line-up excited us a little more. Along with co-headliners Pretty Lights & Girl Talk, we were treated to sets by Foster the People, Rakim, Charles Bradley, Kreayshawn, and more!
We spoke with several artists backstage who were excited to be a part of Popped Festival. Kreayshawn happened to be celebrating her 22nd birthday at the Festival and told the audience she was single and might even find her future husband in Philly. Hearing “Gucci, Gucci” on stage made us crave some Arby’s. Hard.
Charles Bradley’s powerful and soulful voice was a crowd favorite, even if his dance moves have probably suffered somewhat due to aging.
Rakim had a few issues with the sound guy who couldn’t seem to give him enough bass, but eventually they worked it out.
Foster the People were energetic and fun on stage as they prepared to wrap up their current stay in North America. They were one of the highlights of the day in our estimation.
Girl Talk broke out the pyrotechnics to open his set but he didn’t need 60 minutes of actual flames to set the stage (and crowd) ablaze. As it has become a signature of his live shows, he was joined on stage by rowdy audience members who danced excitedly along with those in the crowd to every catchy mash-up as they were sprayed with toilet paper (from custom guns) and confetti cannons. Girl Talk even managed to work in samples from other Popped Festival artists (Foster the People and Kreayshawn to be sure).
By the time Girl Talk had finished, the Liacouras Center was thick with haze.
The night ended with Pretty Lights and his massive stage set. Derrick Vincent Smith brought the house down with his superior DJ skills and his insane visual light show. He certainly had no problem earning his top billing.
Popped Music Festival bursts onto the scene September 23rd and 24th with two days of great music, comedy, and food at FDR park here in Philadelphia. The line-up of artists/bands is loaded with big names that we are anxiously awaiting. Independent Philly will be there to cover both days of Popped Fest, and to help get everyone as pumped up as we are for this event, we’ll be interviewing some of the performers over the next week.
Our interview series kicks off with Matt Shultz, lead singer of Cage The Elephant, who, along with The Shins, are slated to headline day 1.
2011 has been a crazy year for Cage The Elephant. Their sophomore album “Thank You, Happy Birthday” debuted at number 2 on the Billboard Top 200, and they’ve played shows and festivals all over the world. But there ain’t no rest for these wicked performers. Thankfully, they were able to slow down long enough to answer some questions for us ahead of their upcoming gig.
Independent Philly: Who came up with the name “Cage the Elephant”? Does it have any special significance?
Matt Shultz: It doesnt have any significance, to me anyway. We were playing a show in Georgia under a different name and a homeless guy there was ranting and raving about an elephant cage that needed cleaning. I’m sure it had special significance for that guy.
IP: You’ve played at Festivals like SXSW, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Glastonbury… what’s the largest crowd you’ve ever played in front of?
MS: Lollapolooza (approximately 36,000 people) or Freak Fest in Madison, WI (around 39,000).
IP: Is there one show that really stands out in your mind?
MS: Recently, Lollapolooza 2011 was amazing. The crowd was so good, and the weather was perfect. It was super hot mid-day with a cool summer rain in the afternoon which everyone really needed. Amazing.
IP: What was it like hearing yourself on the radio for the first time?
MS: It was weird. The first time was in a Burger King in the UK. We were on tour and stopped to eat some food, and I heard “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” on the radio. I was like “Hey! this is my band”, but no one cared.
IP: What can fans of Cage the Elephant, who haven’t seen you perform live, expect to see from you at Popped Festival?
MS: Pain. We’re gonna get on stage and throw darts at each other and have a bottle rocket fight. it’s going to be dangerous.
IP: As a music fan, who are you most excited to see perform at Popped Festival?
MS: I love The Shins. I definitely want to check out Elbow, The Joy Formidable, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Panda Bear.
IP: Are you planning to stick around the Festival for Day #2?
MS: I’d love to but I think we have a show the day after so we have to head out.
IP: Your second album, “Thank You, Happy Birthday”, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. What has the fan reaction been like to the new songs at live shows?
MS: People’s reaction has been pretty good live. We’re getting a bigger (fan) reaction out of the new material than from the old songs.
IP: Which experience did you enjoy more, performing on David Letterman, or singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on opening day for the Reds?
MS: David Letterman. Singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was pretty hilarious because they didn’t tell us when to start and we were kind of staggered at the start.
IP: Which band member would win the following contests…
A Fist Fight:
Brad or Daniel or all 5 of us would knock each other out.
A Cheesesteak Eating Contest:
A Game of Madden 2012 Football:
Brad or Jared, they are the video game guys.Jared is always bragging that he’s great at Madden but I’ve never seen him play.
(credit: Sandy Kim)
IP: What’s been your biggest rock-star moment to date?
MS: I don’t have very many. Ended up at a weird party after Lollapolooza where there were a bunch of people who hadn’t listened to records in ages. It was just weird.
IP: Tell us something that would surprise, or even shock our readers…