Popped Music Festival was scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia’s FDR Park, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans. The event, which was to feature two stages of live music and comedy, as well as a wide range of gourmet food trucks, was forced to make last second plans late last week to move the event indoors. The change in venues was due to forecasts for soaking weekend rain. After some of the highest rain totals and worst flooding on record over the past two months in our area, the concert promoters weren’t taking any chances.
The move from FDR Park to the Liacouras Center at Temple University brought about several disappointing changes to the festival. The gourmet food trucks were not included in the event. Instead, those attending Popped Festival were left with the limited food choices being served by the permanent vendors inside the Liacouras Center (which basically boiled down to hotdogs, pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, ice cream, and soft pretzels), and a very pedestrian beer selection (highlighted by $5 plastic bottles of Miller Lite).
Another unfortunate casualty of the move indoors was the removal of the second stage. This stage was set to host all of the comedians and some of the the musical acts. Without it, there were no comedians included in Popped Festival and the set times had to be changed to incorporate all of the bands/artists onto one stage.
An outdoor setting also would have allowed fans to sit in chairs or blankets on the grass/dirt instead of the hard concrete floor of the Liacouras Center. All in all the move indoors was a let down but we applaud all of those involved with the move for getting it together so quickly and still providing a great line-up of bands on both Friday & Saturday.
Friday’s line-up included headliners The Shins & Cage The Elephant (catch our Cage The Elephant interview here) as well as other great acts like The Joy Formidable, Elbow, and Panda Bear. Saturday’s line-up excited us a little more. Along with co-headliners Pretty Lights & Girl Talk, we were treated to sets by Foster the People, Rakim, Charles Bradley, Kreayshawn, and more!
We spoke with several artists backstage who were excited to be a part of Popped Festival. Kreayshawn happened to be celebrating her 22nd birthday at the Festival and told the audience she was single and might even find her future husband in Philly. Hearing “Gucci, Gucci” on stage made us crave some Arby’s. Hard.
Charles Bradley’s powerful and soulful voice was a crowd favorite, even if his dance moves have probably suffered somewhat due to aging.
Rakim had a few issues with the sound guy who couldn’t seem to give him enough bass, but eventually they worked it out.
Foster the People were energetic and fun on stage as they prepared to wrap up their current stay in North America. They were one of the highlights of the day in our estimation.
Girl Talk broke out the pyrotechnics to open his set but he didn’t need 60 minutes of actual flames to set the stage (and crowd) ablaze. As it has become a signature of his live shows, he was joined on stage by rowdy audience members who danced excitedly along with those in the crowd to every catchy mash-up as they were sprayed with toilet paper (from custom guns) and confetti cannons. Girl Talk even managed to work in samples from other Popped Festival artists (Foster the People and Kreayshawn to be sure).
By the time Girl Talk had finished, the Liacouras Center was thick with haze.
The night ended with Pretty Lights and his massive stage set. Derrick Vincent Smith brought the house down with his superior DJ skills and his insane visual light show. He certainly had no problem earning his top billing.