Late July evenings along the Northeast corridor aren’t typically this comfortable. Sweatpants comfortable. Feet in cool sand comfortable. Hand in hand with the one you love comfortable. Late July evenings along the Northeast corridor don’t usually sound this wonderful either.
This past Friday night, Philadelphia’s oldest toddler, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse in Fairmount Park, began its 115th birthday weekend with a family-friendly bang in the form of Kidchella, the venue’s first ever kiddie indie rock music festival. I was happy to have been a small part of it, and happier still to share the night with some of my City Dads Group brethren.
Having discovered my monthly podcast which features the best and brightest of modern all-ages music, the Smith reached out to me this past spring for assistance curating what would end up being a 2+ hour event with three of the finest musical acts making music for families in the 21st century. Immediately scheduling Kidchella as an official Philly Dads Group meetup was a no-brainer! The forecast then did us a solid by serving up a scrumptious 75 degree night for which to sprawl out on the lawn and let our kids crawl all over us when they weren’t crawling all over the Smith’s sprawling playground.
Brady Rymer and his Little Band That Could bandmate Claudia Mussen performed as a duo (Brady’s usually setup is as a rockin’ 6-piece) and kicked off the night in fine style. Brady’s music is as classically American as apple pie, baseball and summer road trips, and he proved a perfect sunny table setter for the colorful pop-punk that would follow.
Traveling thousands of miles from their Seattle homes, The Not-Its, adorned their famous pink & black attire and melted faces with a brand of energetic pop-punk influenced by the music of Fugazi, Superchunk, and Velocity Girl (especially considering Sarah Shannon once fronted the latter back in the heyday of Sub Pop Records and the Seattle music boom).
Finally, The Walkmen’s Walter Martin performed a solo acoustic set of breezy pop songs as the sun began to set and the lights of the Smith’s grand main house illuminated the scene from behind. The delicate grandeur of Martin’s songs capped a gorgeous evening of family time, music making, dancing and … tacos. (Yum, Shifty’s Tacos!)
Plans are already being made for Kidchella 2015 at the Smith Memorial Playground, and of course, it will be a Dads Group meetup, one I hope dads from other cities might consider making the trip to Philly to attend, just as Lorne Jaffe from NYC Dads Group did this summer. Maybe I’ll even treat you to a cheesesteak the following afternoon.