Pretzel Park’s Summer Concert Series kicks off this weekend

The Sideshow Prophets will take to the stage at Manayunk’s Pretzel Park this Saturday for the first installment of the neighborhood’s 2013 Summer Concert Series. 

Based in Philadelphia, the Sideshow Prophets is a seven-piece “punk-rock rhythm-n-blues band” with more than a decade in the industry. They’re said to be all over the stylistic map, citing influences that range from 40’s rhythm-n-blues, 50′s rebel rock and roll, 60’s soul, and the punk “attitude” of the 70s.

They’ll play on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Pretzel Park, located in Manayunk at the intersection of Cotton and Cresson streets. The show is free to the public.

“They’ve got a big sound and great energy that will tie-in well with the weekend’s activities,” said Kevin Smith, president of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, whose organization co-sponsors the series.

A high-energy weekend 

The concert in Pretzel Park is one of several events leading up to Sunday’s inaugural Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic.

In addition to being the second installment of the Manayunk-Roxborough Food Co-Op Farmer’s Market in the park, the Manayunk Development Corporation is hosting a “Walk the Wall” fundraiser benefitting several local non-profits on Saturday morning.

In addition, the first-ever Manayunk Fit Fest will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Levering Street Parking Lot. During the family-friendly festival, visitors can participate in free workout classes, partake in on-site health consultations, and explore the trails along the Manayunk Towpath. 

The Friends of Pretzel Park returned to hosting concerts in Pretzel Park in 2012, after a brief sabbatical of a few years. While last year’s concerts took place exclusively on the first Friday of the month, event organizers are experimenting this year, trying to find a way to maximize exposure for the concerts.

“It’s a different angle this year,” said Smith, who wants to capture the energy surrounding the bike race this weekend and boost Saturday afternoon programming in the park throughout the summer.

Monthly community building 

In addition to support and guidance from MNC and FOPP, additional monies for the concert series are coming from the Philadelphia Activities Fund and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Smith said that attempts to gain additional sponsorship from bike race organizers were unsuccessful, but hopes for future consideration in coming years.

In the meantime, plans are still unfolding for the concert series, which is scheduled to run monthly through October, with a new act every month, and aims for ongoing enthusiasm from neighbors.

“It really is about community building,” said FOPP member Dave Bass. “It’s helped us meet people and get people involved – it’s something to plug into.”

While civic engagement is an important consideration for organizers, Bass was careful to emphasize the event’s core mission.

“In addition to these lofty goals,” he chuckled, “it’s just a good time.”

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