Fans of folk music in the area will know that this weekend marks the 55th anniversary of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. According the Philadelphia Folksong Society’s website, the family-friendly event is “the longest continuously running outdoor music festival of its kind in North America.” If you can’t make it to the unique event (or you’re just looking for even more ways to get your fill of folk music throughout the year), here are some Philadelphia spots to visit.
Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
At one time, Boot & Saddle was Philadelphia’s only country bar. After closing in 1995 and remaining shuttered for almost 20 years, the South Philly spot reopened in 2013 as a 60-seat restaurant and live music venue. While the iconic bar now features a variety of genres (including folk), much of its original atmosphere and décor has been preserved. Think hardwood floors, tin ceiling, folk-art murals of cowboys and the famous neon sign. The intimate 150-person capacity concert room boasts the critically acclaimed d&b Audiotechnik soundsystem, making it a great place to check out folk acts such as Co-Op’s Apache Trails, TJ Smith and The Wild North and Carsie Blanton.
20 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tin Angel is the cozy acoustic café above Old City’s Serrano. Grab something to eat downstairs, and then upstairs for the show. (Tip: Seating at Tin Angel is limited and can only be reserved if you’ve dined at Serrano and make dinner reservations.) The warm and stylish spot presents musicians from a mixture of genres with folk performers including Jeffrey Gaines, Anais Mitchell, Mary Scholz and Eric Anderson.
The Mermaid Inn
7673 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Built in 1734, this quaint stone building in Chestnut Hill is one of Philadelphia’s oldest folk music spots. Once called the Bothy Folk Club, the intimate space now features a variety of bands and singers Wednesday through Saturday nights ranging from bluegrass and folk to classic rock and the occasional jam band. Folk music is still a favorite though. Gravel Road, Dan Kelly & Friends and Shawn Nolan and Friends are just a few folk performers on this summer’s event calendar. If you’re looking to do a little performing of you own, open mic night has been offered every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Mermaid Inn since the 1980s. The music is the main draw here, but you can also enjoy a selection of imported and domestic brews as well as a menu of salads, homemade soups, burgers, broiled fish and sandwiches – all using local ingredients.
Lansdowne Folk Club
84 S. Lansdowne Ave.
Lansdowne, PA 19050
Founded in 1993, the Lansdowne Folk Club is a non-profit organization that is entirely staffed by volunteers. For the past 20+ years, the club has hosted over 200 concerts in its mission to share folk, blues and acoustic music with Lansdowne and the Greater Philadelphia region. The fall concert season lineup includes Charlie Zahm, Roosevelt Dime, Mollie O’Brien and Christine Havrilla. The majority of the concerts take place at the Victorian-era Twentieth Century Club in Lansdowne in the recently renovated ballroom. Tickets can be ordered in advance through the website for $17 or at the door for $20.
Bourbon & Branch
705 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
With a restaurant downstairs and a music venue upstairs, this Northern Liberties spot has become a popular spot for food, drinks and tunes since opening just a few years ago. The menu is Southern-style cuisine that’s been artfully influenced by Hispanic flavors, and don’t forget the finest American whiskeys. After dinner, head upstairs to enjoy high quality entertainment in a space that was designed for musicians by musicians. Ticket prices are typically under $10, and you’ll save a couple of bucks by purchasing in advance. A variety of genres are represented, with Drew Sestito, Jonny Carrol, Mackenzie Johnson and Jeanette Lynne as recent performers from the folk scene.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area.
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