From 'Elegance' to the 'Essence' of Philly: The Dell is back

Posted: April 20, 2011

The list of headliners slated for this year's summer concert series at the Dell Music Center "don't get any better than this," Mayor Nutter said yesterday when he announced the lineup.

Jerry Butler, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Angie Stone, Ginuwine, Joe, Marsha Ambrosius and Rachelle Ferrell will headline shows at the East Fairmount Park venue from July 7 to Aug. 25. Three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Nancy Wilson and jazz saxophonist Najee will kick off the concert season at the Dell on June 23 with an "Evening of Elegance."

"Now that is a serious summer lineup," Nutter said at a news conference. "I'm getting ready to put those dates and these artists in my calendar . . . so I know that, no matter what, I need to wrap up the night at the Dell."

The historic Dell Music Center, formerly known as the Robin Hood Dell East, was shuttered for two years after a broken drainage system allowed storm water to seep under half the amphitheater's seating, causing significant damage to its foundation in 2008.

Nutter said that the reconstruction of the Dell was long overdue and will help "ensure this great venue has a long run."

After a $6 million renovation project, the Dell reopened in time for the 2010 concert season.

Renovations included improvements to the stage complex and new seating, roof and parking lot. The facility is handicapped- and wheelchair-friendly.

"This is one facility where they feel like it's theirs," Department of Recreation Commissioner Susan Slawson said of the Dell's neighbors and audience. "They do whatever they can to make sure it's there. [The community was] putting pressure on us" to make sure the Dell reopened.

The community was excited to see the affordable, family-oriented venue back on its feet last year, so much so that they were determined to sit through heavy rain for the grand reopening featuring the O'Jays, a soul and R&B group.

"People surprised us with that turnout," Slawson said. "People sat in the rain. They would not leave."

Unlike last year, this year's events will fall on Thursdays instead of Mondays. In addition, patrons can look forward to showcases by local talent.

Tickets for the concert series will be available at the center beginning on May 25.

For additional show and ticket info, visit www.MyDellEast.com or call 215-685-3590.

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