The Inside Scoop on No. Liberties 2nd Street Fest - THIS SUNDAY!
WHAT: 2nd Street Festival
WHERE: Northern Liberties – Philadelphia, PA
WHEN: Sunday Aug 5th, 2012
This Sunday, August 5th marks the 4th Annual 2nd St Festival, from 12 noon until 10 p.m. North 2nd St, between Germantown and Green Streets in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section, will be closed off for this event. Levi Landis, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Folksong Society (who is programming this event) took some time out of his busy schedule to tell me about the who, what, where, when, why, and how.
TSI: How long has the Philadelphia Folksong Society (PFS) been involved with the 2nd St Festival?
LL: This is our second year being involved. Last year we had some national headliners and we noticed the crowd went from 7,000 to 15,000 attendees. We’re also trying to reach out to younger audience.
TSI: How did you meet them?
LL: We were introduced through Yards Brewing Company, our sponsor for the Philadelphia Folk Festival (PFF). We wanted to expand into the city and join something community-based that was already started.
TSI: Do you collaborate on other art and music programs?
LL: We have many partnerships and programs throughout the year. We partner with 66 schools for music education and have community service programs. We also work on press releases and events for Johnny Brendas, another one of our partners.
TSI: I read that PFS did all the programming for this year’s 2nd St Festival. How big is your programming team?
LL: Well, our entire operation has about 2500 volunteers the Folk Fest. But for 2nd St, it’s a unique collaboration involving our PFS staff, which is me, our Operations Manager, Joshua Lennon, and Festival Director, Michael Cloeren. We also had help from Point Entertainment and Electric Factory for booking the music acts.
TSI: What’s the hardest part of planning?
LL: The fact that it’s a free event makes it difficult to make the program compelling. We need sponsors to fund the programming. You can’t have as many artists because of lack of revenue and small budget. Though this year we’re having two DJ’s spin throughout day so we have non-stop music. Also, there are a lot of styles that represent Philly—for this festival, every music act, local and national, calls Philly home. It’s a challenge to make sure we have diversity and high quality bands present at our event.
TSI: I saw in your bio that you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies. How has that influenced what you’re doing now?
LL: It definitely got me involved in the nonprofit world. I started out running music venues and a community center which launched my career—that was back around 2002-03. I began learning the organic process of how music comes together. It’s great learning how to work with the volunteers who are psychically and emotionally invested in the work. And music is one of most spiritual things you can do.
TSI: What was the last festival you attended that wasn’t PFF/PFS-related?
LL: I was just at the Pennsylvania Blues Festival which isn’t quite related but was produced by our Festival Director, Michael Cloeren. I was also at the XPoNential Festival which is one of our partners.
TSI: Anything else you’d like to add?
LL: Just remind everyone to come out, the event is free. Go to 2ndstfestival.org for more info. Volunteering is still open so you can sign up here. Also, we’ll be giving away coupons for discounted day tickets to the Philadelphia Folk Festival.