STORY WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media
The annual Roots Family Picnic is always a fun time, but this year’s edition on Saturday May 30 at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, promises to be the biggest event yet. Spread over three stages – a first – the eclectic lineup will feature performances by The Weeknd, Phantogram, Erykah Badu, who will be backed by The Roots and A$AP Rocky – and that’s just the headliners.
The fact that hometown favorites The Roots host and play the festival makes it particularly special; and that’s a feeling which carries over into the artists who get picked to be a part of the Picnic.
“Hell yeah we’re excited!” said Josh Carter, one half of electronic rock duo Phantogram. “We’ve been fans of The Roots…forever really, and it’s an honor to be asked to play and be one of the bigger acts on the bill. I’m pumped, I’m really stoked to see A$AP perform and Erykah Badu; that’s gonna be sick – I can’t wait.”
Phantogram is still riding high on the success of last year’s excellent Voices, which featured the hit “Black Out Days,” Carter and his bandmate Sarah Barthel are basically finished with the touring cycle for the album, doing just a few select dates before heading back into the studio to work on album number three.
“As far as pressure being off, I guess in a way I’m looking at this little tour around the Roots’ Picnic as a good time to be around friends and just rock out and play some solid shows,” Carter said of having nothing to promote during the live show. “Part of our live show [now] is we play stuff that isn’t recorded or on any Phantogram record.”
Festivals aside, the outfit is also working with Outkast’s Big Boi on an EP that the rapper has said he’d be open to expanding into a full length and they’ve also been in talks to do something with Cartoon Network. As for the new album, Carter said it’s still in the beginning of production, but that it’s less than a year from being on shelves.
“We have a lot of ideas, but I’d say we’re in the embryonic stage, we’re just getting start,” he said. “We’re hoping for early 2016, hopefully by February or something like that. We’re always busy being creative.”
That creativity might get an additional boost being surrounded by fellow artists at The Roots Picnic, but there’s another highlight that Carter is looking forward to come May 30.
“My birthday is right around there too so it’s gonna be a fun little birthday tour in Philadelphia,” he said.
Make sure to pick up tickets as soon as you can if you want to help Carter celebrate his birthday — and enjoy all the other acts at The Roots Picnic — the event is pretty much guaranteed to sell out before taking place.
IF YOU GO
What: The Roots Family Picnic
When: 11 a.m. Saturday May 30. The festival is all ages.
Where: Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.
Tickets: $65.00 – general admission
Info.: Call (800) 745-3000 or visit www.rootspicnic.com.