Philly’s popular folk fest goes on – online, Woodstock revisited and haunted attractions in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

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Musicians from the band Gangstagrass

Gangstagrass (Melodie Yvonne)

Virtual events continue to be part of the landscape but more venues are opening up at reduced capacity and with other COVID-19 protocols, including mandatory mask-wearing. Here are the best of the on and offline events this week.

Good folk

Now in its 59th year, the Philadelphia Folk Festival will go on despite the coronavirus pandemic. The nation’s oldest continuously run outdoor music festival will take place online with both live and archived performances that will be available up to a week later. Virtual ‘campsites’ replace outdoor ones this year via the now ubiquitous Zoom platform. Tiered pricing allows viewers to choose between a daily festival pass or one for the entire festival, and allows for contributions to the Philadelphia Folksong Society, as well. Live performances include the bluegrass/hip-hop outfit Gangstagrass that features two Philly-based MCs, singer/songwriter Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, Los Lobos, Morton, Pa.’s Devon Gilfillian, Watkins Family Hour, Leela Gilday and more. Philadelphia Folk Festival, online Thursday, Aug. 13 – Sunday, Aug. 16, $25 and up


Summer jazz

Jazz is considered America’s homegrown classical music and for good reason – its artists created a genre that has stood the test of time and grown exponentially since its development in the late 19th and early 20th century. By the mid-1950s, jazz music moved out of clubs and concert halls and on to festivals, including Newport Jazz, held for the first time in Newport, Rhode Island in 1954. Lightbox Film Center is presenting an online screening of a new digital restoration of “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” filmed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958. The documentary features performances by Thelonious Monk, Anita O’Day, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington and Mahalia Jackson, among others.

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“Jazz on a Summer’s Day” online screening, $10, some proceeds will go to organizations supporting jazz music and jazz musicians.


Royal tribute

Like every other cultural or arts venue, the Old City gallery, Philly Arts Collective, had a full slate of events planned for spring. And like them, those events were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those events was a Prince tribute featuring art inspired by the late Minneapolis genius. Now that the gallery has reopened, the event is back this Saturday. All artwork is for sale and music will be livestreamed to the gallery. Expect temperature checks and mandatory mask-wearing as well as capacity limited to 50 to avoid overcrowding and enable social distancing. Prince Tribute exhibit, Saturday, Aug. 15 noon – 10 p.m., Philly Art Collective, 253 N. 3rd St. $10 -$15

Woodstock redux

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, now forever etched in the world’s memories as simply Woodstock, WXPN hosted a listening party in 2019, playing every performance of the historic event. This year, they’re doing it again. “Woodstock Week: Back to the Garden Again” continues through the weekend with the final performance coming from Jimi Hendrix, just as it did 51 years ago. (Note: His performance remains amazing.) Last year, WXPN did its best to recreate the concert in real time but this year, the performances are playing at times more amenable to real life listening. Along with other special programming, you can access an on-demand interview with Andy Zax, who curated the Grammy-winning, limited edition box set “Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive.”

“Woodstock Week: Back to the Garden Again” WXPN, through Aug. 16.

Prison state

Eastern State Penitentiary reopens on Friday, Aug. 14. When they do, things will be somewhat different – the world’s first penitentiary will be following COVID-19 protocols that its inhabitants in 1918 could hardly imagine. Masking is mandatory, hand sanitizer will be offered upon entry and visitors will be guided to walk one way through the museum and stay six feet apart. All financial transactions will now be cashless. A modified version of “The Voices of Eastern State,” the audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi, will provide guidance through the museum. Films from the 2019 “Hidden Lives Illuminated” project will be screened on site for the first time since they were broadcast on the side of the prison last year. Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave. Friday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. $11-15, 7 and under free, timed tickets must be purchased online and in advance.

Paranormal reality

Are you an aspiring ghostbuster? Ft. Mifflin is offering a unique opportunity to become an amateur one at their Open Investigation Evening. Bring your flashlights and a healthy sense of curiosity and join Interstate Paranormal Research for a look at the allegedly haunted fort, which dates back to the Revolutionary War. A National Historic Landmark since 1970, according to Ft. Mifflin’s website, the group will offer tips and techniques to help fledgling paranormal investigators. The fort’s history includes a Revolutionary War battle that helped turn American fortunes against the British, and incarcerating Union soldiers during the Civil War, so there may indeed be some ghosts lingering at the property. One of them could be William H. Howe, a Union private from Perkiomenville, Pa., who is the only person believed to have been executed there after being found guilty of murdering a fellow officer. Open Investigation Evening, Ft. Mifflin, 6400 Hog Island Rd. Saturday, Aug. 15 7 p.m. $45

Downtown dine

If you’re seeking casual dining in the shadow of City Hall, Dilworth Plaza has a new dining initiative. Dinner at Dilworth makes use of City Hall’s expansive plaza with its decorative fountain displays for an outdoor dining experience. Food can either be taken out from nearby restaurants or ordered from Dilworth Park’s restaurant Air Grille. Drinks for 21 and over can be ordered from Brûlée Catering. Starting this week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., the plaza will be open for dining and there will be live entertainment from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., including jazz music, steel drum performances and more. No reservations are required. You can find a list of nearby restaurants offering takeout HERE. Masks are mandatory for park patrons and staff, except when eating or drinking. Dinner at Dilworth Wednesday, Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. through Oct. 7.

Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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