The Philly Music Festival will return for its third year in the fall, with more than 20 bands playing in three venues over four nights in September.
This year’s steadily growing all-local indie-band fest will happen at MilkBoy Philly, Johnny Brenda’s, and World Cafe Live from Sept. 25 to 28.
The headliners over the four nights are Man Man, the Philly-born experimental pop band led by Ryan Kattner; Speedy Ortiz, the rock quartet fronted by recent Philly transplant Sadie Dupuis; Vacationer, the dream-pop band led by former Starting Line frontman Kenny Vasoli; and Ceramic Animal, the mellow Doylestown psych-rock brother act featuring Warren, Erik, and Elliot Regan.
The fest is a nonprofit venture founded by Gregory Seltzer, a lawyer and Philly music enthusiast who said the festival raised $25,000 for various local music education charities last year, up from $15,000 in 2017. This year, cool acts on the undercard include garage rockers RFA, space jazz explorers Sun Ra Arkestra, Camden jazz trumpeter Arnetta Johnson (who’s an NPR ‘Slingshot’ Artist to Watch), songwriter-guitarist Ali Awan, West Philly power trio Ill Fated Natives, and hip-hop jazz soul collective Ill Doots.
New at this year’s fest is InSide Hustle, a panel discussion at World Cafe Live on Sept. 28 that aims to advise up-and-coming acts about self-promotion and brand building.
And for the second year running, the festival will include Tech Tour, a Friday afternoon event at the South Philadelphia offices of Guru Technologies that will highlight the overlap between start-up musicians and technology entrepreneurs, and mix panel discussions with live performances. Admission to both InSide Hustle and the Tech Tour will be free.
The opening on Wednesday night at MilkBoy will showcase Ceramic Animal along with two other bands that have previously played the festival: Secret American, the infectious bicoastal retro-pop outfit of former Cheers Elephant songwriter Derek Krzywicki; and Sixteen Jackies, the theatrical glam-rock quartet that looks back to David Bowie and T. Rex for inspiration.
Thursday’s lineup at Johnny Brenda’s presents three bands led by women, starting with Speedy Ortiz, whose Dupius, a former Bostonian who also records as Sad 13, last year released Mouthguard, her debut collection of poems, from independent publisher Gramma Press.
Also on the bill: Remember Sports, the punky quartet led by singer Carmen Perry that was formed at Kenyon College in Ohio before moving to Philly and changing their name from just plain Sports, which, unsurprisingly, was already taken. Last but not least is Sammus, the stage name of black feminist rapper Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, a Ph.D candidate in science and technology at Cornell University and a video gamer who adapted her nom de rap from a character in Nintendo’s Metroid.