Cheers to 6 years of free summer concerts

By Angelina Miller
August 17, 2016

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Picture a gorgeous summer day at an outdoor concert venue, thousands of friendly people, good vibes and a stage with a number of upbeat bands playing all day long. While that all seems wonderful enough to begin with, let us add in the fact that all of those people are there for FREE.

Plot twist: This picture is actually a reality and has been every single summer since 2010. Crazy, right? The only way that has been made possible is because of Radio 104.5, Philadelphia’s hub of modern rock and alternative music. For six years now, people of all ages have been welcomed to spend one Sunday a month from May to September in Philadelphia at free alternative music-centered concerts. Radio 104.5 calls this their yearly “Summer Block Party” series.

Beginning in 2010, the very first show of the Summer Block Party series was kicked off at The Piazza and Schmidt’s with the bands Zelazowa and Panic Years. With other popular bands such as Matt & Kim, Young the Giant, Grouplove, Neon Trees, Panic! At The Disco and Imagine Dragons, and the factor of these concerts being completely free, The Piazza consistently filled up with more and more people each year from 2010 to 2014.

“The first show I went to was when Panic! at the Disco headlined in August of 2013,” Jill Ciritella, a current Salisbury University sophomore and dedicated Radio 104.5 concert goer, said. “I just got there early to be up front, but the band actually came out and played a sound check when there were only about 30 people there. My friend and I also caught their set list and guitar picks at the end of their set later in the day. It was so much fun!”

However, in May of 2014, the first block party of the 2014 series became the last at The Piazza and Schmidt’s. The large crowd for bands CHVRCHES, Phantogram and Cherub lacked an appropriate number of security and port-a-potties, leading to crude behavior, underage drinking and public urination. “My entire house was peed on, people were having sex two feet in front of my children and everyone was drunk that day,” said Sibyl Lindsay, a resident of Northern Liberties and mother of two toddlers at the time.

Two days after the Block Party, Clear Channel, the owner of Radio 104.5 at the time, issued a statement apologizing for the behavior of fans. They also announced that future block parties would be held at Festival Pier, another venue in Philadelphia with a larger capacity and more viewing space to accommodate the event’s consistent increase in fans.

In June of 2014, the Block Parties went on with The Head and the Heart, KONGOS, Bear Hands and Alright Junior. Since then, Festival Pier has welcomed up to 6,000 fans every show from May to September to see more bands including The Fray, The Airborne Toxic Event, Misterwives, Nate Ruess from Fun and Atlas Genius.

Come 2016, Radio 104.5 has continued to make sure their most recent Summer Block Party series is better than ever. May brought a full line up of X Ambassadors, Kaleo, Nothing But Thieves, Run River North and Modern Colour. Six years time has lead lineups to grow from two bands to five, with four openers and a fifth headliner. The June block party was canceled for severe weather reasons, but that was made up in July with KONGOS, The Strumbellas, Arkells, Bleached and The Wild Wild. August recently followed with The Struts, Bishop Briggs, 888, The Rebel Light and Sonnder.

For dedicated block party goers, or those who have not been but like the sound of all of this, there is even another Summer Block Party left for the 2016 series! CHVRCHES, Miike Snow, Iration and more bands will hit the Festival Pier stage on Sunday, Sept. 18. The event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. with DJ Reed Streets mixing Radio 104.5 hits.

Photos from the first three 2016 Summer Block Parties can be seen in the video above and more information on these events can be found at

Editor’s Note: 
August 17, 2016, 8:52 p.m.
An earlier version of this story included the wrong date for the September block party, which is Sept. 18, and has corrected the spelling of the band Sonnder.

1 thought on “Cheers to 6 years of free summer concerts”

  1. Sibs now that she is a”respectable” mom forgets about all the wild times she had at drunken concerts..

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Angelina Miller

1 thought on “Cheers to 6 years of free summer concerts”

  1. Sibs now that she is a”respectable” mom forgets about all the wild times she had at drunken concerts..

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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