Northeast Times

A festival season’s grand finale

The 2nd Street Fest­iv­al in NoLibs, with 26 mu­sic acts and more than 100 foods and crafts vendors, brought out an es­tim­ated 20,000 neigh­bors last week­end.

Bust­ling blocks: Fest­ival­go­ers en­joy the sights, sounds, drinks and eats of the North­ern Liber­ties’ an­nu­al 2nd Street Fest­iv­al, which took place Aug. 4 this year. SEAN KEAR­NEY / STAR PHOTO

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.”

Land­is agreed.

“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.” ••

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