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Taking summer to the streets with the Molestice Festival

An ambitious music fest stirs up a modest and historic corner of the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Low Cut Connie headlines the 2017 Molestice Festival. | Amber Patrick
Low Cut Connie headlines the 2017 Molestice Festival. Amber Patrick

Something about the neighborhood blocks in Philadelphia is a little different than anywhere else, and Molestice is evidence of that. The free annual block party music festival on June 24 celebrates the summer solstice on the 100 block of North Mole Street. Everyone is invited for an eclectic mix of music, craft beers, all-ages activities and Philly food truck favorites.

Brendan Walsh, co-founder of Mole Street Artists and also a resident of the block, says that there is a story of community here.

“It's been around since the 1830s and it's one of the only preserved residential blocks in that area. It’s got an old feel,” he notes.

Philadelphia, a city long recognized for its music, has one of the biggest music festivals in the country with Made in America. But Walsh wanted to build more on what he now calls home. Last year, the festival hosted over 1,500 people, and according to Walsh, people are coming from all over.

“Our real mission behind it these days is to give free music access to any and all Philadelphians,” he adds. “We feel like our gift to the city is an authentic music experience.”

Here's a peek at the lineup: 

Low Cut Connie
6:30 p.m.

Rolling Stone called them “rock revivalists,” and the band enthusiastically embraces the title: “It implies that we bring something to life and that is our main goal — to let our fans let loose and feel and live to the fullest.” The festival’s headliner is coming off the debut of its fourth album and promises to party like never before.

Hank And Cupcakes
5:30 p.m.

The Atlanta-based indie rock/pop duo consists of husband and wife Ariel "Hank" Scherbacovsky on bass and Sagit "Cupcakes" Shir on drums and vocals. The band, formed in Tel Aviv, Israel, comes to Philly with their third album “Cheap Thrill.” Their fusion of heavy drumming with funky disco riffs and synthpop has drawn critical comparison to The Ting Tings, Gossip and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Killiam Shakespeare
4:15 p.m.

Led by music duo Steve Mckie and Corey Bernhard, the band is comprised of a unique collective of diverse musicians that formed a creative element musically fused with jazz, funk, hip-hop, R&B and soul. For their latest release, “Killiam Season 1,” they collaborated with hip-hop legend DJ Jazzy Jeff. The mixtape is a musically cinematic journey merging urban vernacular with Shakespearean storytelling.

Brian LaPann
3 p.m.

The Philadelphia-based songwriter, guitarist and vocalist hits Molestice with articulate, soulful music. His blues and roots-rock sound borrows from Eric Clapton to Prince and Bob Marley, and he’s coming off a pair of singles and a feature with Chill Moody. 

Electric Kif
1:45 p.m.

Session gigs with artists ranging from Matt Scofield to Flo Rida would soon birth an eclectic and serendipitous band. Jason Matthews on keys hails from Philadelphia, Rodrigo Zambrano on bass is from Mexico City, Eric Escances on guitar is from Bordeaux, France, and Armando Lopez on drums is from Miami. Their latest EP, “Heist,” serves up cosmic funk, rock, electronica and jazz.

LoHai
12:45 p.m.

LoHai is a new soul pop collaboration between Alita Moses and Devon Yesberger. The band is reminiscent of the jazzy, fluid Esperanza Spalding and the earthy, vibrational attitude of Erykah Badu.

For more information on the festival, visit molestice.com.