Type to search

Live From Ardmore: Philly Music Fest

Photo courtesy of Philly Music Fest

Local bands with national appeal highlight the Sept. 24-25 livestream.

Philly Music Fest is typically held over four nights at three venues. Thanks to COVID-19, this year’s event has been trimmed to a pair of nights, Sept. 24 and 25. Headliners Japanese Breakfast, the Districts, Langhorne Slim, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Mt. Joy will all take center stage at Ardmore Music Hall—virtually.



It’s a wonder this successful fundraiser for music education programs is happening at all. “The bad news is that musicians are struggling,” says Greg Seltzer, the event’s founder and producer. “The good news is that a lot of them are home in the Delaware Valley and available to perform. When COVID hit in March, I had the four-show festival totally booked. Our work was done. Posters were designed. We were ready to go.”

Over four years, Seltzer has raised more than $40,000, all of which goes to local organizations via micro-grants. This year, he’ll donate some of the proceeds to local musicians facing economic hardships due to shuttered venues and canceled events during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the special broadcast on the WXPN, NPR Music Live Sessions and Philly Music Fest Ardmore Music Hall websites, bands will perform full sets on stage, with fans viewing from home and at watch parties hosted by local restaurants and shops.



This year’s lineup offers a varied mix of rock, jazz, hip-hop, folk and funk. Seltzer had been trying to land Japanese Breakfast—aka indie-pop artist Michelle Zauner—for three years. “She’s typically on tour all year,” he says. “COVID gave me a chance to say, ‘I know you’re at home. How about it this year?’ And it worked.”

For his part, Ardmore Music Hall owner Chris Perella offered the venue and its four-camera HD audio and streaming video equipment—technology powered by Nugs.net. The sets will be live, interspersed with taped pieces that air while crews clean the stage between performances. Seltzer was hesitant to hold the festival virtually, fearing that the audio and visual quality wouldn’t be good enough to inspire donations to his nonprofit. Uninterested in couch concerts and the like, he wants to deliver a “decent and better experience.” “Kitchens and living rooms were cool in March and April—now, we want to see bands on a stage,” he says. “If we get donations to seed the grants, pay the musicians and make viewers happy, we’ll accomplish our goals. It’s still virtual. But it’s great music.”

Find Philly Music Fest Online: