It’s back, and it’s the social event of the season! It’s the DeBella DeBall, marking John DeBella’s 30-year anniversary with Philadelphia radio. This year, the DeBall will be held on Friday, Dec. 14 at Vie, and as always, it’s a dress-to-impress affair.
Dating back to the days of The Morning Zoo on 93.3 WMMR, the DeBall has continued in fine tradition on 102.9 WMGK. In years past, it always fell on Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7) and was promoted as a “day which will live in infamy.” This year, the DeBall is on a Friday night, so party goers needn’t worry about “school night” curfews.
It began as a goof. When DeBella first got to town on Nov. 13, 1982, he asked, “Where’s the party?” Several weeks later, he was headed to the Ripley Music Hall on South Street with two listeners in tow in the limo, joining six others at the club with Jon Bon Jovi playing to a crowd of nine. By the following year at The Warwick Hotel, 1,200 listeners had tickets and 2,000 showed up. Over the years, musical performances have included Eddie Money, Joan Jett, Dee Snider, Sam and Dave, Southside Johnny (John’s favorite of all) and a host of others.
The music is always at the center of the evening, and this year’s DeBall will feature local musicians who’ve had a connection with John since his arrival in Philly. “I’m excited that every artist taking the stage that night is an artist that made me fall in love, musically, with the city of Philadelphia,” John says. DeBall mainstays Johnny O &The Classic Dogs of Love anchor the performances with special guests David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket featuring members of The Hooters, Tommy Conwell and Richard Bush (The A’s) joining the onstage fun.
And talk about fun. Truly the stars of the evening are those who attend. The “dress-to-impress” dress code is interpreted in a variety of ways. From wedding dresses to cocktail hour slink and everything in between, it’s definitely a people watcher’s dream!
Festivities are free but still require an invite. Tickets can be secured by listening to the DeBella show weekday mornings on WMGK from 6-9 a.m. or by registering online at wmgk.com. Approximately 1,000 tickets will be dispersed but they go quickly. Invitees must be 21 or older. Free hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Vie and a cash bar will be available.
Dec. 14: 7:30 p.m.-11:45 p.m. Vie, 600 N. Broad St., Philadelphia. Visit wmgk.com for more information.