Winter Jam returns to the Piazza this weekend

One loc­al ra­dio sta­tion’s free con­cert has drawn large crowds in the past, but this year’s event may be the biggest yet.

  • Crowds flock by the thousands to the Piazza at Schmidt’s each January, braving the cold for the radio’s free Winter Jam concert. PHOTO COURTESY OF WRFF/Stephen Eckert

  • Radio 104.5’s Winter Jam brings more than 5,000 to the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties to see a free show. PHOTO COURTESY OF WRFF/Stephen Eckert

The Piazza at Schmidt’s in North­ern Liber­ties is no stranger to large events. For the past few years on one af­ter­noon in Janu­ary, Ra­dio 104.5, Phil­adelphia’s al­tern­at­ive sta­tion, has hos­ted its Winter Jam con­cert, a free show for all ages. By pop­u­lar de­mand, the con­cert is com­ing back this Sat­urday, Jan. 25, for an­oth­er day of fun and en­ter­tain­ment for the whole fam­ily.  

In the past, more than 5,000 mu­sic lov­ers gathered for Winter Jam, ac­cord­ing to Clear Chan­nel’s News and Com­munity Af­fairs Dir­ect­or Lo­raine Mor­rill. This year is ex­pec­ted to draw a much lar­ger crowd, with pos­sibly as many as 7,000 people. 

The event will take place at 1001 N. 2nd St. from noon to 5 p.m. and will fea­ture per­form­ances from bands twenty one pi­lots, New Polit­ics, Switch­foot and MS MR.

In ad­di­tion to the more well-known bands the sta­tion has per­form­ing at the show, the sta­tion will also give the chance for a loc­al band to open up for the head­liners.  

The event pro­motes not only the ra­dio sta­tion, but loc­al busi­ness as well.  

Kev­in McGehrin, bar man­ager at PYT loc­ated on Han­cock Street in the Piazza, has been work­ing at the res­taur­ant for more than four years and said he looks for­ward to the over­flow of busi­ness that Winter Jam brings to the area. 

“We love it,” McGehrin said. “We see a huge up­tick in busi­ness and over­all at­ten­tion to the area. It’s great ad­vert­ising for us.”

McGehrin said the ra­dio sta­tion con­tacts the busi­ness pri­or to the event for plan­ning pur­poses. The two en­tit­ies have formed a strong re­la­tion­ship over the years work­ing to­geth­er, he said. 

Creep Re­cords store, also loc­ated on Han­cock Street in the Piazza, also wel­comes the ex­tra busi­ness.

“It brings good traffic in­to the store, raises more aware­ness about the busi­ness,” said Jamey God­fry, the store’s gen­er­al man­ager. 

Al­though the area stores and res­taur­ants are gen­er­ally happy for the in­creased traffic, God­fry said it still causes them to be cau­tious and on the lookout for po­ten­tial bumps in the road.

“We’ll beef up se­cur­ity, just like on any oth­er day we know we’re go­ing to be busy,” he said.

Des­pite the con­cert’s steady growth in pop­ular­ity over the years, some of those who live in the Piazza’s sur­round­ing apart­ments do not seem to mind the ex­tra bod­ies float­ing around the area on the day of the event. 

Chris McNer­ney, who’s lived in the Navona Apart­ments, loc­ated in the Piazza, for the past three years, said he doesn’t mind the crowds the event brings in each year.

“It really de­pends if the event fea­tures the kind of stuff you’re in­to,” he said. “For the people who en­joy this kind of mu­sic, they don’t care at all.” 

The gen­er­al con­sensus re­gard­ing the up­com­ing mu­sic fest, it seems, can be summed up by God­fry’s re­marks. 

“The more the mer­ri­er.” 

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