Philadelphia summer music rundown, starting with Roots Picnic

Bruno Mars, June 24.
Bruno Mars, June 24. (KAI Z. FENG)
Posted: June 01, 2013

The Roots Picnic is this weekend, which means the summer music season in the Philadelphia region is about to get underway in earnest.

The selections highlighted here only begin to touch on the range of activity between now and Labor Day, outdoors and in, on a grand and intimate scale.

In the oversize category, there's pop country's Kenny Chesney, coming to Lincoln Financial Field on June 8 with a compelling undercard that includes Eric Church and Kacey Musgraves. The Mann Center for the Performing Arts has the National and Dirty Projectors on June 7, Belle & Sebastian and Yo La Tengo on the Skyline stage on July 10, and New Order on July 26.

Delbert McClinton plays the Keswick Theatre in Glenside on June 15 and Buddy Guy is there on July 30.

Last summer's addition to the local scene, Morgan's Pier, is back with a winning schedule of indie bands and DJs, with We Were Promised Jetpacks on June 12, Dmitri From Paris on June 15, James Murphy on July 6, and Parquet Courts on July 24. Union Transfer hosts Tricky on June 11, Quadron on June 16, Savages on July 14, and El-P and Killer Mike as coheadliners on Aug. 12.

Roots Picnic

You know this year's Roots Picnic lineup is money because there are two acts on the undercard with dollar signs in their names. Those would be rappers Trinidad Jame$ and Joey Bada$. (Sorry, A$AP Rocky is not scheduled.) Also on the bill, along with the Roots, is bluesman Gary Clark Jr., Canadian mix mistress Grimes, Beyoncé's sister Solange, forward jazz man Robert Glasper, and "Thrift Shop" rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. June 1 at Festival Pier.

Bruno Mars

The fedora-wearing pop singer born Peter Hernandez moves up to arena headline status with his "Moonshine Jungle" tour, in support of last year's Unorthodox Jukebox. The album maintains the slick hitmaking streak that began when the Hawaiian native got his start writing hooks from B.o.B. and Travie McCoy and has continued on through the not-so-unorthodox Unorthodox's "Locked Out of Heaven" and "When I Was Your Man." With Fitz & the Tantrums. June 24 at Wells Fargo Center.

Appel Farm

The annual yang to the Roots Picnic's yin is the Appel Farm Arts & Music Festival, the mostly folkie singer-songwriter fest held in bucolic Elmer, N.J., on the same Saturday every year. The 2013 edition's most enticing attraction is the great Iris DeMent, the truth-telling American songwriter who returned to action after an eight-year absence with Sing the Delta in 2012. Also of note: Low Cut Connie, Aioife O'Donovan, John Gorka. June 1 at Appel Farm.

The Rolling Stones

The band sounds lean and mean, the singer still has moves like Jagger, and this could be the last time the Rolling Stones ever tour. The "50 & Counting" trek finishes out its North American leg in Philadelphia. So step right up, tickets ranging from $147 to $597 are still available. June 18 and June 21 at Wells Fargo Center.



Philly Fourth of July Jam

In 2012, a half-million people came to see the Roots host this free event on the Ben Franklin Parkway. (OK, so they also came for the fireworks.) The Questlove and Black Thought-curated event, which is the more mainstream bookend to the Roots Picnic, will feature John Mayer, Jill Scott, Demi Lovato, Ne-Yo, and J. Cole. July 4 on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Taylor Swift

The pop star from Wyomissing, Pa., released the megaselling Red in October, but when you have an entire globe eating out of your hand, sometimes it takes a while to get around to even the markets you're most popular in. Philadelphia is one of those for the 23-year-old breakup-song specialist, whose stadium-sized "Red Tour" rolls in with openers Ed Sheeran and Austin Mahone. July 20 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Xponential/ Americanarama Festival

This year's WXPN-FM Xponential music fest will again split its time between two Camden venues in charmingly intimate Wiggins Park and the cavernous Susquehanna Bank Center, which is where Bob Dylan's Americanarama fest, with Wilco and My Morning Jacket, will play on the closing night of the three-day enterprise. The Lumineers and Dr. Dog will also play the Susq, while acts such as Dr. John, Lianne La Havas, and Red Baraat will be at Wiggins. July 26 to 28 in Camden.

Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis is the son of recently deceased bandleader Johnny Otis, and a legend in his own right for the 1974 psychedelic soul masterpiece Inspiration Information, and "Strawberry Letter #23," a 1977 hit for the Brothers Johnson. It has now been paired with Wings of Love, which compiles Otis' work between 1975 and 2000, and the songwriter rarely performs live. Aug. 9 at The Blockley.

Philadelphia Folk Festival

The 52d Philadelphia Folk Fest will be held, as always, on the Old Pool Farm near Schwenksville in Montgomery County, with deejay-emcee Gene Shay reliably telling silly jokes between acts. One highlight will be the Mavericks, the re-formed country/Tex-Mex nine-piece ensemble who are back as a better than ever live act. Also: Todd Rundgren, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Luella & the Sun, Black Prairie, and the Richard Thompson Electric Trio. Aug. 16 to 18 at Old Pool Farm.

Budweiser Made In America

Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia now means Jay-Z's Budweiser Made in America festival. The paid event party on the Parkway is carving out an identity that mixes hip-hop, hard rock, and pop. This year's headliners are Trent Reznor's industrial force Nine Inch Nails and Jay-Z's better half Beyoncé, who will also play the Wells Fargo Center on July 25 and Boardwalk Hall on July 26. Other boldface names: Kendrick Lamar, Deadmau5, Public Enemy, and A$AP Rocky. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 on Ben Franklin Parkway.

Contact Dan DeLuca at 215-854-5628 or, or follow on Twitter @delucadan. Read his blog, "In the Mix," at

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