If only Philly had a festival that brought together all of the city’s brightest musicians while raising money for important charities.
Wait, on second thought, we do.
For the third year in a row, the Philadelphia Music Festival is a four-day blowout featuring the hottest up-and-coming Philly artists. The best part is that the majority of the money raised through ticket sales will be donated to local charities focused on music education.
This year, the festival is happening on Sept. 25-28 at several locations, including MilkBoy and World Cafe Live.
Greg Seltzer is the founder and curator of the festival. By day, Seltzer is an attorney who works with plenty of businesses and startups. By night, he plans one of the most exciting and charitable homegrown festivals in the city. All day and night, he remains a local hero.
The DIY festival is now entering its third year. The first two years provided opportunities for trial and error, Seltzer said.
The addition of some non-performative content to the festival is new for this year. There will be two panel discussions on topics dealing with the music industry entitled, “Tech Tour” and “Inside Hustle.”
The primary objective of the Philly Music Fest is to support music education for underprivileged children through charities. The festival raised money for Future Up and Settlement Music School in 2018, along with several other Philly-based organizations.
“We have no employees, we have no paid helpers or volunteers at all, so all of the proceeds are donated to those charities after compensating the musicians,” he said.
The second is to raise awareness of the musicians performing and of the Philly music scene in general.
“We're going to highlight all Philly bands so that people can understand the power and the magnitude of the Philadelphia music scene that's really emerging and coming up,” he said.
In a city as vibrant as ours, finding talent to perform at the festival was the easiest part of all the planning, Seltzer claimed.
The Philly bands featured were easy to discover — they have music on streaming platforms and have gone on tour around the country before. This makes it easy for Seltzer to seek them out and help bring attention to the city’s music scene.
Strand of Oaks has performed at the festival in the past and has seen incredible success. They have since performed on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and have even toured around the U.S. and Europe.
“Philly has such depth of music talent that what Philly Music Fest is designed to do is highlight those bands,” he said.
No matter your taste, you’ll find a new band to fall in love with here. There will be a wide array of talent performing each day.
“Diversity is a big issue for Philly music, plus something that we feel really strongly about — not only diversity in race and gender, but diversity in genre,” Seltzer said. “I just think it's really important for the people attending to see the diversity of genre that's being created in Philadelphia.”
One of the festival’s four nights has been designated an “alumni night,” which will feature bands that played the festival in years prior.
Overall, Seltzer has a clear vision for how he’d like the festival to remain in the future. He hopes to add more events instead of making the performances longer, such as adding panel discussions on other topics like journalism or film.
“It’s corporate banner free, it’s very DIY, and I’d love it to stay that way,” he said.
Coming out to this festival is one of the best ways to show your love for the city. Every single band, charity and food and drink vendor is straight out of Philly.
If you weren’t already proud of all the homegrown talent around you, you certainly will be after giving this festival a try. In a few years, it may even be the next Coachella.
Philadelphia Music Festival | Sept. 25-28, Various locations. phlmusicfest.com/
COMING TO THE STAGE
You have our permission to pencil these upcoming musical acts into your concert calendar.
We can’t wait for these badasses to drop a bomb on us. These old punks have been yelling at us since the ‘80s, and we’re still listening. They were one of the first to mix punk with surf, appealing to rebels from basements to beaches. | Sept. 20. 7pm. $18. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. kungfunecktie.com
Let’s get freaky. This has to be one of the strangest groups we listen to, and we fucking love them for it. They’ll be here to school us on what makes them so cool when they make a pitstop at the Met as part of their “House of Zef” tour. | Oct. 4, 8pm. $39-69. The Met Philly, 858 N. Broad St. themetphilly.com
The Black Keys
We always have a fever burning up for these two. Fuzzy, edgy alt-rock that runs deep into your innermost crevices will seep out into a 19,500-seat arena. Come out and witness just how much this duo evolves with every album. | Oct. 14. 7pm. $39.50. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
The only thing they’ll steal from you is your heart. This band’s known for being deep and connecting with fans through vulnerable lyrics. Their music feels like a shrooms-enhanced carriage ride through a wheat field to find yourself — or something like that. | Nov. 9. 8:30pm. $23. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. utphilly.com