Festivals celebrating female-powered music and indie filmmaking, family-friendly events and more

Listen 4:37
People cool off in the mister at the Eakins Oval pop-up park. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

People cool off in the mister at the Eakins Oval pop-up park. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

We are squarely in the middle of summer festival season, and there are several happening this week. They’re not all the same, and that’s why we’re here to help.

Ladybug Music Festival
Various venues
Wilmington, Del.
Thursday, July 18, shows start at 5 p.m.; Friday, July 19, 4:30 p.m.
In 2012, the Ladybug Music Festival was conceived as a neighborhood block party. Just a few years later, it has morphed into a showcase and celebration of independent female musicians of all styles. This year’s festival is expected to be the biggest yet, with close to 100 local and international acts performing at more than 20 venues in and around downtown Wilmington. A wide range of local favorites — 
Lisa Jeanette, Tanqueray Heyward, June Leonardi, Brianna Judge and Fostina Dixon — are on the bill. Technically, the festival is not all female, as some bands include men, but the emphasis is definitely on women and their contributions to the musical community. Performances will take place in a variety of unique venues — including a hair salon, a personal-training center, and a pizza place — as well as on a main stage.

Kroc Fest
1865 Harrison Ave.
Camden, N.J.
Saturday, July 20, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden is celebrating its fifth anniversary by hosting Kroc Fest. Activities for all ages will include sports and games, an obstacle challenge, animals, Touch-A-Truck, mascot photo ops with RJ Kroc and the Rutgers Raptor, the Camden County pop-up library, face painting, live music and performances, and food, including ice cream.

Atlantic City Free Summer Concert Series: Ladies of Skyy, The Emotions and GQ, hosted by Bowlegged Lou of Full Force
Gardner’s Basin
800 New Hampshire Ave.
Atlantic City, N.J.
Saturday, July 20, 1–7 p.m.
Atlantic City offers free summer concerts once a month in June, July and August at Gardner’s Basin. Though you can’t grill, you can bring your lawn chair and cooler and kick back to the sounds of some of your favorite artists from the 1970s and ’80s, if mellow R&B and funk is your preference. This weekend’s show offers the music of the Ladies of Skyy, the Brooklyn-born trio founded by sisters Denise, Bonné and Dolores Dunning, who are best known for their 1981 hit “Call Me.” GQ, best known for the 1979 hit “Disco Nights (Rock Freak),” has performed over the years with different lineups, but original member and lead singer Emanuel Rahiem Leblanc remains the frontman. The Chicago girl group, The Emotions, enjoyed its greatest success with 1977’s “Best of My Love” and their hit collaboration with Earth Wind and Fire, “Boogie Wonderland.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“Smart, Funny & Black” with Amanda Seales
Kimmel Center
250 S. Broad St.
Sunday, July 21, 8 p.m.
HBO’s hit show “Insecure” may have been created by writer/actress Issa Rae, but her outstanding ensemble cast is what has made its first three seasons essential viewing. (It has been renewed for a fourth season.) Comedian/actress Amanda Seales’ spot-on performance as Tiffany DuBois, the upwardly mobile married member of Issa’s tight group of girlfriends, has upgraded her profile enough that she headlined her own HBO special “I Be Knowin,’” earlier this year. Now the former MTV VJ is taking her talents on the road, in a comedic game-show format that incorporates African-American history and culture.

Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center
7 Lock St., Manayunk
Sunday, July 21, 7 p.m.
Philadanco, Philadelphia’s premier African-American dance company, has trained dancers since 1970. The troupe is touring through the fall, and although it will be back later in the year, Sunday is the only summer performance in Philly. Please be aware that though the performance is at a venue in Manayunk, tickets must be purchased at the Dell Music Center Box Office. They are not available online.

Jennifer Lopez: It’s My Party
Wells Fargo Center
3601 Broad St.
Saturday, July 20, 8 p.m.
Actress/singer/host/fashion icon and all-around force of nature Jennifer Lopez brings her party to Philadelphia this weekend, just before her 50th birthday on July 24. The Bronx, N.Y.-born Puerto Rican superstar has been working for two-plus decades, gaining accolades and awards along the way. While her fashion and love life have provided constant fodder for the blogs, over the years she’s earned the respect of the public and her peers as a consummate entertainer. Her most recent album “A.K.A.” came out in 2014, but since then, between making movies, starring on TV shows, and developing and hosting the reality competition “So You Think You Can Dance” she’s also collaborated with artists like rappers Cardi B and French Montana.

Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire
Talen Energy Stadium
1 Stadium Drive, Chester, Pa.
Saturday, July 20, 7:30 p.m.
$27 and up
Yes, the U.S. women’s soccer team brought home the World Cup, but Philadelphia has a Major League Soccer team right in our own backyard. Although soccer doesn’t get its just due in football- and basketball-mad Philly, the Union could be contending for a championship this year. The Fire has yet to win a match on the road this season, which may give them some extra motivation and make this a very competitive contest.

The Rolling Stones
Lincoln Financial Field
1 Financial Field Way
Tuesday, July 23, 8 p.m.
$150 and up
What more can be said about this iconic band, still rolling since its 1960s debut? Mick Jagger, who turns 76 next week, had heart surgery earlier this year, but he’s bounced back to rejoin mates Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards, who co-founded the band with him after a chance encounter at a U.K. train station. Since then, the group has assured its place in music history with classic hits that span several decades. Despite advancing age, their live shows are still winning raves, as this recent review of their show in New Orleans proves.

ShakesBEER in the Park: “Othello”
Pretzel Park
4300 Silverwood St., Manayunk
Saturday, July 20, 7 p.m.
If you like Shakespeare, this unique rendition of the Bard’s masterful work is one you’ll appreciate. The Manayunk Theatre Company’s tongue-in-cheek take on the classic “Othello” includes rules that mean the actors have to drink whenever anyone misses a line, when a train goes by, and when church bells ring, among other, “secret” rules. And should you miss this edition, “Julius Caesar” is scheduled for Aug. 17 and “Titus Andronicus” is set for Oct. 19, weather permitting.

Apollo 50 Celebration
The Fuge
780 Falcon Circle #200, Warminster, Pa.
Saturday, July 20, noon–5 p.m.
On the 50th anniversary of the day that Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong made that leap for mankind onto the moon, the Fuge will host a community celebration to commemorate the event. Though it’s now an events venue, the Fuge was once the Johnsville Centrifuge, where America’s astronauts came to train on a G-force simulator, at that time the most advanced of its kind. The community day includes food, games, exhibits and entertainment, in partnership with a student committee from nearby William Tennent High School.

Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Celebration
Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th St.
Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Free with museum admission
The Franklin Institute offers its own celebration of the Apollo 11 mission with an afternoon of activities, including spacesuit demonstrations, footage from the moon landing, screenings of an Apollo 11 documentary, and more. Tours of the lunar lander, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum, will be led by NASA solar system ambassador Frank O’Brien.

13th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival
Saunders Park Greene
39th Street and Powelton Avenue
Saturday, July 20, noon–7 p.m.
The annual community jazz festival draws music fans from all over the city to experience the fun, food, community, vendors and, of course, the music. This year’s theme is “Hometown Philly Sound” which is represented by the headliners, local faves tenor saxophonist Bootsie Barnes and veteran bandleader/saxophonist Sam Reed. They are scheduled to perform at 5:30 p.m.; the event is rain or shine.

Salsa at Spruce
Spruce Street Harbor Park
301 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Friday, July 19, 7–11 p.m.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to salsa dance, Spruce Street Harbor Park offers free lessons this summer on selected Fridays through Sept. 20. If you already know how to dance, there’s also a space for you to show your moves. Dogs (on leashes) are welcome.

New Hope Film Festival
New Hope Arts Center
2 Stockton Ave., New Hope, Pa.
Phillips Mill Community Association
2619 River Rd., New Hope, Pa.
July 19-28, various times
Prices vary
Writer and entrepreneur D.F. Whipple conceived a film festival that would bring world-class indie filmmakers to Bucks County, but with a strict submission policy that eliminated any favoritism or unfairness in the process. The competitive festival includes 89 independent filmmakers from 17 countries who submitted their work via a film submission website. Daily screenings throughout the week include matinees and post-screening Q&A’s with the film’s creators.

University Dining Days
Various venues
July 18-28
Three-course lunches: $15 or $25
Three-course dinners: $15, $25 and $35
For the next 10 days, patrons can enjoy the best dining that University City and West Philadelphia have to offer with discounted lunch and dinner from some of the area’s more popular spots. University City boasts some of the most diverse cuisine in the city including Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Mexican, Italian, Argentinian and vegetarian. Neighborhood faves like Hip City Veg, Dahlak, Pod, Tipsy Bistro and CO/OP are among 30 of the participating restaurants.

Summer Fest Live!
Xfinity Live!
1100 Pattison Ave.
Saturday, July 20,  2-6 p.m.
Given the scorching forecast, craft beers sound like a good bet for the weekend. Summer Fest Live! returns to the Xfinity with the Summer Craft Beer Festival. You can have your pick from more than 175 craft beers from over 100 breweries. A custom beer glass, live music and food trucks are part of the day’s perks, though food is for purchase outside the venue. This event is for the 21 and older crowd.

John Leguizamo: Latin History For Morons
Merriam Theater
250 South Broad St.
Friday, July 19, Saturday, July 20, 8 p.m.
$39 – $109
Recently Emmy-nominated for his role in the Netflix series “When They See Us,” the multi-talented John Leguizamo is coming off a successful Broadway, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Public Theater run with his own take on Latin history and culture. Inspired by his son’s school assignment on heroes, “Latin History for Morons” combines comedy and history to make a few salient points about culture and perception when you’re a member of a marginalized group.

“We The People” Improv Festival
The Philly Improv Theater and other locations
2030 Sansom St.
July 17-20, various times
Prices vary
Local improvisational troupes including Whiplash, Reputable Source, The N Crowd and more join companies from around the country for three days of performances around the city. It builds up to headliner Paul F. Tompkin’s live Superego Podcast who will be onstage for two shows at the Philadelphia Theatre Company on Friday night. The festival includes two separately ticketed workshops on Saturday to help individuals and/or troupes hone their improvisational skills.

The Black Food & Dessert Expo
The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
100 Station Ave., Exhibit Hall E, Oaks, Pa.
Saturday, July 20, 1-11 p.m.
This expo hopes to expose more people to the skills, talents and cuisines of African-American cooks, chefs and restaurateurs from around the country. The New York Times recently published a story on the contributions of black chefs across the country, despite the challenges of working in what remains a mostly white, male-dominated culture. Two sessions include food sampling, drinks and more than 30 vendors.

The Oval opening day, including Food and Flicks Friday – “Black Panther” screening
The Oval+, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Friday, July 19, 5-11 p.m.
Eakins Oval and a portion of the Ben Franklin Parkway transform into The Oval+ through August 18. Fairmount Park Conservancy, design company PORT and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation have combined to produce several installations, events, games and activities at the Oval. Some designated areas meant to active public space on the Parkway include pop-up outdoor reading and music stations, a double-decker bus turned music venue, a basketball court, badminton, ping-pong tables and more. The Friday night kickoff event includes a “Black Panther” screening at 9 p.m., one of several “Food and Flicks” Fridays on the schedule. Events are free, but food and drink will be available for purchase.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal