CBS Philly: Hear Philly: 40th Street Summer Series Celebrates 10 Years Of Free, Live Music

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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By Dan Majka

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Taking place in UniversityCity on the last Saturday of each summer month, the 10th annual 40th Street Summer Series offers a variety of great, live music — and it’s all free.

“Hundreds of people gather at the green field behind the Free Library (of Philadelphia) at 40th and Walnut Streets for free entertainment, mostly music,” says Lori Brennan, Marketing and Communications Director for the University City District. “It’s really all types of genres, some of it is world music, some of it is local music, and everything in between. And over the years, we’ve kind of built of that concept and have added some family-friendly elements, like face painting and balloon artists.”

The goal of the promotion, Brennan says, is to offer something to the community.

“I say the community broadly defined, not just West Philadelphia or University City, but anyone who wishes to come, to offer programming for folks who maybe don’t go away to the shore, don’t have a vacation home to go to, and they’re in the city on a Saturday and want something to do that is fun and doesn’t cost them any money.”

Brennan says the 40th Street Summer Series sees everyone from families with young children — to students — to people who’ve lived in the neighborhood for very long time.

“It’s really open to everybody. You see a wide range of different types of people. Some of the crowd is up and dancing to the music, depending on what the performer is playing. Sometimes it’s more of sit down, just listen, jazz feel, but we encourage everybody of all ages to come out and check it out.”

The Summer Series kicks off on Saturday, June 28 with two performances, the first by Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra.

“They are a four piece percussion ensemble that mixes North Indian, Afro Cuban, Brazilian and West African,” Brennan says. “It should be really interesting and a lot of fun. Very high energy, very upbeat.”

And following them is the local band Music Over Matter, otherwise known as MOM.

“They are soulful, ancestral kind of music, very bold, and I think will feed the souls of young children, teens and adults alike.”

And the festival continues throughout the summer with musical performances in July, August and September.

“July 26th, we welcome Raphael Xavier W.O.R.X. Meets Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. They will be followed by the Avalon String Band,” says Brennan. “August 30th, we have Nation Beat and The Highwater Preachers, and the September 27th act is still to be determined.”

Easily accessible via public transit, Brennan says the 40th Street Summer Series promises to be a great time for all who attend.

“People bring their picnic blankets, their chairs, they bring food, they hang out in this really cool, open air field in the middle of the city and listen to free music.”

For more information about the 40th Street Summer Series, visit University City’s website.