Haverford Music Festival returns as a Made in America palette cleanser

20160909_wkpfea_figgs_haverford_3x2
Pete Donnelly of the Figgs, on the roster of Sixth Annual Haverford Music Festival. "These events are always a pleasure," he says, "a nice break from the vampire lifestyle of nightclubs."

After the immensity of last weekend's Made in America Festival, perhaps it's time to head to the suburbs' bucolic environs. This is not the reason that Haverford Civic Council, booking curator Al Fichera, and area native Barry Gutman is putting on this weekend's Sixth Annual Haverford Music Festival, but it's a start.

"We wanted to showcase the talents of all genres cultivated in this area," says Fichera, a producer of jangle pop band Flight of Mavis and troubadour Kenn Kweder. Mavis' Frank Brown, who resides in Havertown along with Fichera and Gutman, has a new band, Travel Lanes. It will perform at the free festival run by an all-volunteer crew.

"Ours is a town of music lovers who can enjoy anything from a female jazz vocalist like Michelle Lordi, the jazz-rooted country pop of Sasha Dobson . . . and still rock out to the Figgs, Flightschool, and Anderson Council," says Fichera. "They can enjoy the haunting folk-noir of Ben de la Cour and the '90s hits of Lisa Loeb."

If one band doesn't suit your taste, walk a block to hear another on one of four stages - as many as Made in America, for those keeping score.

"The fest strengthens Haverford Township's cultural identify," says Gutman, who adds that, although the fest is free, donations are welcome in buckets on site.

"Haverford is a bright and soulful place, not just a suburb, but a rich community on its own," says Pete Donnelly of the Figgs. "These events are always a pleasure, a nice break from the vampire lifestyle of nightclubs."

If anyone knows the grind of nightclubs, it's Donnelly, a local with a bustling solo career, who has played with the Figgs, along with Tommy Stinson of the Replacements and Terry Adams of NRBQ.

On and off from 1996 to 2012, he and his pals were Graham Parker and the Figgs, with the literate pub rocker.

"There have definitely been times where we were close to calling it quits," says Donnelly, who mentioned that landing a Lexus commercial got the trio (Saratoga Springs, N.Y., high school pals Donnelly, Mike Gent, and Pete Hayes) reinvigorated again. "All of a sudden, by pure coincidence, Mark Maron said he'd like to have us on his podcast . . . and here we were with the most exposure we'd seen in many years, and we didn't even really feel like seeing one another."

The Figgs' music, however, was louder than any dissent, the tunes were flowing, and they recorded several records back to back, such as 2010's The Man Who Fights Himself, 2012's The Day Gravity Stopped, 2015's Other Planes of Here, and its newly released On the Slide. "Revitalized, we landed in a much more mature place," says Donnelly, "where the reasons to play music were obvious and the reasons not to didn't exist."

Considering that On the Slide is the Figgs 14th album, the music satisfies what Donnelly calls "some basic urge that seems to really be flowing lately . . . and luckily, enough people who buy our stuff so that we can make more."

Rather than sound like part of a grind, On the Slide is a fresh mix of experimental tunes and sharply focused rock-and-rollers. "It's a culmination of a lot of years," says Donnelly, "into a sharp and deliberate record."

The Haverford Music Festival, with the Figgs, Sasha Dobson, Lisa Loeb, noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Eagle and Darby Roads in Havertown.

Admission: Free. Information: haverfordmusicfestival.org.