Snarky Puppy and Soulive to headline; Saturday events moved to the Electric Factory due to impending rain
STORY WRITTEN BY FERN BRODKIN
For Digital First Media
Live from the Lot returns to Ardmore, this time with a full weekend of entertainment on two stages. The SEPTA train station parking lot will once again be transformed into an all-ages, family-friendly concert space on May 21 and 22 when 14 bands will entertain close to 2,000 concert-goers per day.
Clearly the highlight of the weekend is Grammy Award—winning band Snarky Puppy. They will headline the festival on Saturday night and they will also play an afternoon set on Sunday. In addition, the Snarky Puppy horn section will join Soulive, the Sunday night headlining act.
Snarky Puppy as a band is truly an anomaly, with altogether close to 30 rotating band members. They are currently touring in support of their new release “Culcha Vulcha” (Ground Up, 2016).
“We travel with 8 to10 members, generally,” said bandleader Michael League in an e-mail interview. “The players are constantly rotating, but there are 7 or 8 guys who play about 70 percent of the shows.”
League said that the band will play two completely different sets at Ardmore, encompassing both new and old material, so neither the audience nor the band members will get bored.
NOTE: DUE TO IMPENDING RAIN, ALL SATURDAY EVENTS WILL NOW BE HELD AT THE ELECTRIC FACTORY, 421 N. 7TH STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA. PLEASE ACCESS WWW.LIVEFROMTHELOT.COMFOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS.
“I make a set list every night,” said League, “but I normally ditch it 2 to 3 songs into the set. I like to feel out the crowd to see what’s working for them, and adjust the set accordingly. We now have a pretty large repertoire — well over 30 songs — so there’s loads of flexibility in what we play from night to night.”
In a phone interview, Ardmore Music Hall co-owner and talent buyer Chris Perella explained that the very reason for having an outdoor music festival behind the venue is to be able to host acts that are too large to perform in the Music Hall.
“We viewed this as our chance to do something once a year (or) maybe a couple of times a year,” said Perella, “where we can bring in an artist the caliber of Dr. John or do 2 days of Snarky Puppy after how much amazing growth they’ve seen in the past year or two and to have a lineup on a little bit of a different scale than what we are usually able to do.”
He added: “The fact that there (is) an adjoining space that we could use and literally take our existing infrastructure a few feet back into the parking lot it felt like a good fit and the community was really gracious and helpful in letting us pull it off.”
Perella said that he and his partner Tom Linquist considered last year’s inaugural outdoor event “a great success, other than the fact that it was 97 degrees, which was definitely challenging. We were thrilled about it otherwise.”
Perella and his team decided to move the event to May this year to avoid the heat and to have the event on a Saturday. When some of the bands they wanted to book weren’t available on May 21 but they were available the following day, they decided to extend the festival to 2 days.
“And that gave us a chance to do some pretty fun things including having Snarky Puppy twice, which is a huge thrill for us and I think for a lot of people,” said Perella.
Perella added that it is truly a community effort that enables them to pull off these festivals. They developed a solid relationship with Ardmore Initiative and partnered with SEPTA, which allowed them to use the lot.
“We’re very conscious of how respectful the community of Ardmore is and we certainly want to have the same consideration back,” said Perella.
He added: “I think (SEPTA sees) the benefit of having an event that is 20 ft. off of the Ardmore train stop because we certainly want to promote ridership from people who are in Philly who can come out to the festival and walk right into the entrance, and of course can also take the train to other shows that we have at the Music Hall.”
Besides bringing in top-notch national touring acts, Perella is also committed to supporting local artists, such as Swift Technique and Darla, who will both perform on Sunday. In addition, a new component of this year’s festival was the addition of the Spot on the Lot contest, to give an emerging local band the opportunity to perform at the festival. More than 20 bands were narrowed down to 5 finalists through a social media voting campaign. On May 5, The Phonies, from Philadelphia, were voted the winner by a panel of music industry professionals. They will open the festival on Saturday.
In addition all the outdoor entertainment, Ardmore Music Hall will host a Kickoff Party on Friday night, May 20 featuring Electron with Tom Hamilton’s American Babies; an After-Party on Saturday night featuring Everyone Orchestra conducted by Matt Butler; Grateful Dead Brunch on Sunday featuring Steve Kimock; and an After-Party on Sunday night featuring Pink Talking Fish. The inside events are for ages 21+ only.