Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods and music. It’s no surprise that a new music festival is coming our way. Anthony Talarico, a longtime Fishtown resident, business owner, and neighborhood advocate, is excited to announce the First Annual Fishtown Music & Arts Festival, which will take place on Saturday, Oct.8, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Front Street, between Girard and Thompson Streets, under the El, attendees can expect a fun and effervescent scene complete with performances from top local bands, area artists and artisans, culinary options ranging from local award-winners to food truck favorites, as well as cocktails, local brews, programming for kids, and more.
For $15, attendees will gain access to the stage outside Front Street Café, where live music will be played nonstop from 12pm to 10pm, featuring bands like Best of Philly winner SNACKTIME and DJs like Goodie/Shakedown creators Rob Paine & Frank Collazo, as well as Ben Arsenal, Minka, Out of the Beardspace, Sylo, DJ Xtina, and Wassup Gina. Foodie favorites such as Kensington Quarters of 13th Street Kitchens, Kismet Bagels, Front Street Café, Middle Child Clubhouse, and Lightbox Café will be open to the public, while cocktails will come from Stateside, with micro brewers Tonewood bringing an array of acclaimed local craft beer from their brewery in Camden County, NJ.
People of all ages are welcome to attend, as the festival will contain activities and entertainment geared specifically toward children, such as a play area with a stage show. Around the periphery, under the direction of Ritual Shoppe and Holly Simple Studios, you’ll find a slew of artists and crafters selling their wares and creations, including works of art, home accessories, jewelry, and more. Vendors include the likes of the Queer Candle Co., MVP Studio, Paid for Pot, Max Gordon, Goddess Rising Intimates, Keke Crochet Clothing, Chris Russo, Angela Monaco Lazer Links, Casa Vida, Off Belay Bags, and Moon Child Vintage.
Anthony Talarico, the event’s creator, explained his love affair with the city and why he created the event.
“I moved here after college 15 years ago,” Talarico says. “Philly Pride is the driving force behind this vision and the festival.” Our goal is to highlight the distinctiveness of Fishtown as well as our local Philadelphia community. We will make certain that this event caters to all of our local residents and their families.”
Talarico has spent the last eight years planning this festival, and has enlisted longtime friend/business partner Onur Yilmaz to put it all together once COVID restrictions were lifted. Over the past six months, they have solicited support from local business owners, with many offering sponsorships, participation, or simply a monetary donation to help get the festival off the ground. The collaboration demonstrated by Fishtown and its residents hammers home all of the key objectives of this event, a grassroots festival for Fishtown by Fishtown.
While the vending area and kids zone between Thompson and Master are free, the music area and stages will require a ticket. Early birds can get a day pass for $15, but prices will rise as the date approaches.
Talerico shared why he felt Philadelphia needed another festival.
He stated “The casual idea began to pick up steam when we had too much time on our hands during the pandemic. All of the things that made our city and neighborhood such a great place to live were put on hold. The conversation seemed to keep coming up with different people in the neighborhood during the pandemic and everyone was in support of the idea. During this time, my business partner Onur Yilmaz and I started talking about what we needed to do to make this vision come to reality, and as we moved into 2022, the reality of putting an event together started to form and evolve. In March of 2022, we approached the Fishtown Business Improvement District, who offered some great insight into how to executive an event of this size and set us up with resources and infrastructure that they already have in place from previous events. Next, we spoke with Matt Cahn, the owner of Middle Child and floated our idea , which resulted in immediate interest and a partner/sponsor in helping us get the streets shutdown for the event. I could give plenty more examples of how everybody along the way jumped in and helped this vision become a reality. Our community is very like minded and everyone was in support of a homegrown neighborhood event that we can all participate in and and grow with. “
He explained why he decided to create this festival in Philadelphia, a city rich in music.
“Music is a common thread that brings people together. We have traveled all over their country and even internationally to attend our favorite parties, bands and DJs over the last 20 years. The sense of community that these experiences are able to foster, I think, is the impetus at the core of this event. In a country that seems more divided than ever, these events are the places where we all recharge and connect with music and each other before heading back into day-to-day society. During the pandemic everyone in our close and extended group of friends was struggling with the loss of those experiences that have become so ingrained in their social lives. Philly has a unique identity and a culture that most people recognize as special if they come and get to know our city and people. There is a very vibrant and healthy music scene taking shape in Philly at the moment, and we think this is an opportunity to spotlight our artists and the communities they have built, and gain exposure both locally and regionally. With the right effort, we can continue to grow Fishtown and Philly into a musical mecca of the east coast.”
Talarico expounded what makes this festival so unique.
“All of our artists have direct Philly connections and are major parts of this city’s strong music scene. Other street festivals have live music or DJs, but the festivals are not necessarily centered around music. This festival is also broken down into two sections, our ticketed event with 10 hours of music is on Front Street in front of Middle Child up to Thompson Street. Our free access is from Thompson Street about 150 yards south towards Master Street. This area will have roughly 25 art vendors participating. Additionally we will have a kids zone with face painting, balloon hats and a free street performance from local performers of Fabrika. Being able to provide free performances for our local community outside of our music lineup was important and we’re proud of our curated entertainment line-up,” he said.
As with any music festival, deciding which musical talent will best appeal to your audience is a laborious task, but luckily Philadelphia has a wealth of talent to draw from.
“Our musical line-up derived from us prioritizing a vast variety of genres while showcasing the individuals that are most active in the city at the moment. We have about four and a half hours of live music then four and a half hours of house music. With that being said, there is a sizable list of others left off the bill that we will be approaching for year two. We have a three year plan on the growth of this event and want to make sure we give as many musicians and artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. We have a growing list of musicians and vendors that have reached out requesting to participate this year that we will be working with next year, “ Talarico described.
The festival’s food vendors also required special attention. The food and beverage industry, particularly small businesses, has taken a beating over the last two years. Once again, great thought was given to who would be a good fit for the festival.
“Food and beverage partners for the most part are directly local to the Fishtown/Kensington neighborhoods. Kensington Quarters is one of the longer standing restaurants in the neighborhood, and when we approached them they were thrilled to be a partner. When opening the first brick-and-mortar, Kismet Bagels picked Fishtown because of the show of support in the shops early days and they felt this neighborhood should be home for them, therefore we knew that we wanted them to join us for this event centered around celebrating the Fishtown neighborhood. LightBox Cafe is a healthy alternative for our sober population, they serve up Organic Kava teas that promote relaxation and healing qualities. As alcohol is always a part of these events, we thought it was important to offer a healthy option for those that want it. Gritty City Winery is a new kid on the block serving small batch wine in Kensington.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the festival’s music stage, please visit fishtownfestival.com