Sunday afternoon was another hazy, hot, and humid day in the City of Philadelphia. Enter the Mad Decent Block Party.
Originally scheduled for Saturday, the date and location of the event had to be moved when the city pulled many of the events permits over concerns for the size of the crowd on city streets. A day late and a venue change later, the event kicked off on Sunday afternoon at the Piazza in Northern Liberties.
Headlined by hometown favorite Diplo, as well as Das Racist, DJ Sega, PO PO, and several others, the free all day event was a large draw for music fans. The day kicked off at 1pm with an hour set by Luvstep (Dirty South Joe & Flufftronix).
Up next was Kito at 2pm. The crowd continued to grow, and grow. Free water guns were distributed and water filling stations constantly restocked to help beat the heat.
Mother Nature also got in on the action, dropping a heavy shower on the area. Whether it was the weather or a non-related technical difficulty, there were several problems with the sound system early in the day. It cut out completely at least three times while performers were on stage to the chagrin of both the artists on stage and the growing number of people packing into the Piazza.
Several vendors were on hand to peddle their wares, there was a beer garden, and restaurants like PYT and King’s Oak were packed with those looking for a tasty meal, cold drink, or refuge in the air conditioning. It was a crowd surfers paradise and a dog lovers heaven.
As the day progressed the Piazza started to reach the limits of a comfortable crowd size. As more and more people somehow got on stage with the performers (aside from just the usual media and artist’s posse), the small entrance to the backstage area was mobbed by fans trying every excuse in the book to get themselves on stage. This made it difficult to move easily from the stage/backstage area to the crowd area (and back).
The water gun situation also started to get a little out of control and water would fly out of nowhere to hit you in the face (or worse yet, your camera gear). Once the free water guns ran out, some people began just filling empty 20 oz. bottles and throwing the water in the air.
While the sound was great on stage (and towards the front of the crowd) it was lacking in the middle and at the back of the Piazza. For a last second venue change, it was probably the best you could hope for. Preparation is key.
How about the music? It was on point. We loved the DJ set by PO PO who really worked the crowd into a frenzy. Paul Devro took over from there and kept the crowd bumping. By the time Das Racist took the stage around 6pm, there were people as far the eye could see. The Piazza was packed to the gills.
DJ Sega was up next but we just couldn’t get in to his set. It seemed to build and build slowly but never really go anywhere. From the look of the crowd however, I think we were in the minority.
Diplo was handed the decks at 7pm and at this point they stopped allowing anyone else to enter the Piazza. Those exiting the courtyard were also told they could not re-enter. Working the turntables, as well as the mic, Diplo got fans bumping to some bass heavy hip-hop. The place went nuts. At one point Diplo had to ask fans to stop attacking the large inflatable “Mad Decent” tube man.
When Diplo’s set ended after 8pm, fans disbursed from the venue, many of them heading to after-parties (like the one at The Barbary).
Overall the Mad Decent Block Party was a success. While it would have been a better event if held in it’s original planned location, they did a wonderful job of scrambling to find a new venue and make all the necessary changes. At times it was maddening, and it was most definitely decent. Well played.
To view a full photo slide show of the event, as well as video from Diplo’s set…