Philadelphia’s historic City Hall building will double as a performance venue every week this summer.
“City Hall Presents,” a regular Wednesday evening series of free performances in the courtyard of City Hall, will feature a range of Philadelphia-based artists. It opens with Alo Brasil, a Brazilian carnival-esque percussion ensemble, and closes with rising indie star Kurt Vile, now touring Europe in support of his latest release, “Wakin on a Pretty Daze.”
“Kurt definitely has a fantastic draw. We’re really excited to be able to bring him on board for this,” said Josh Dubin, the special events coordinator for the city’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy. “It definitely puts a punctuation mark at the end of the summer.”
The city office partnered with WXPN, which has the musical muscle to book acts such as Vile, Alo Brasil, and a handful of other acts on the program that might be familiar to listeners of the radio station.
City Hall served as a performance venue last year, with mixed results. The OACCC booked nearly twice as many performances in 2012, utilizing rooms inside City Hall as well as the courtyard. That didn’t work out so well.
“The outdoor shows really went over better than the indoor shows,” said Dubin. “It’s easier for people to find the performances. The City Hall courtyard is a tremendous foot-traffic corridor. Lots of people coming and going, people getting to SEPTA after work. It’s a natural center of gravity for people to discover these performances.”
The courtyard has a 1,000-person capacity, said Dubin, with no tickets or reservations. As further incentive: Gourmet food trucks will be invited to park on City Hall’s concrete apron.