As summer quickly comes to an end, so does festival season in Philadelphia. Luckily for those who crave one last summer hurrah, there is Northern Liberties’ 2nd Street Festival.
Held the first Sunday of every August from noon until 10 p.m., the 2nd Street Festival proves to be one of the city’s largest street festivals of the summer.
The festivities took place over seven blocks on 2nd Street, from Germantown Avenue to Green Street. The blocks were transformed from the jungle of cars to a sprawling strip of stands and tents all serving an estimated crowd of 20,000 people.
“[The planning] goes all year,” said Levi Landis, executive director of The Philadelphia Folksong Society. “We’re already thinking of things for next year. The really big questions you need to start asking years ahead.”
For the third year in a row, The Philadelphia Folksong Society, the same group that organizes the Philadelphia Folk Festival every year, teamed up with festival directors and the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association to make the festival possible.
Making the event possible at all, Landis explained, is no small feat. The festival boasted 26 different performances spread out over three different stages. Stages were set up on Germantown Avenue, Laurel Street, and Fairmount Avenue, with the final few hours of the festival wrapping up on the Piazza at Schmidt’s stage.
Between those stages were the tents, stands, and trucks of more than 100 vendors selling food, art, clothing, jewelry, and music.
Of these vendors were the familiar 2nd Street mainstays such as Cantina Dos Segundos, El Camino Real, Standard Tap, North Bowl, and Rustica Pizza, all serving up special food and drinks for the occasion. On the drinks side of things, Yuengling, Sierra Nevada and Sly Fox set up five portable beer gardens for any festival brew-needs.
While the scope of the festival is certainly impressive, Lisa Schwartz, president of The Philadelphia Folksong Society, explained that the festival itself is greater than the sum of its respective parts.
“It is unquestioningly a labor of love,” Schwartz said. “Everyone links arms and they do everything they can to make a great platform.”
The website for the festival identifies one of its missions as “Raising awareness to our new and exciting neighborhood,” and identifies Northern Liberties as the “ideal community,” an attitude that seemed heartily embraced by both vendors and organizers alike.
“They live here, they work here, and now they’ll celebrate here for the street that they love,” Schwartz said.
“The do-it-together attitude is in the cultural soup,” Landis said. ldquo;It’s all part of the Zeitgeist … if you’re touching into that, you’re touching into something powerful.”
“Great music with great beer and great food. Who’s going to deny that?” he asked. “We probably don’t even have to print the poster.” ••