Newport Folk Festival isn’t the only North East Music Festival next weekend worth your attention. The University of Pennsylvania’s noncommercial radio station XPN 88.5 is again hosting XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ – this year with its most impressive lineup yet. Started in 1994 as Singer Songwriter Weekend, it grew annually for a decade, changing its name first to All About the Music Festival, and then its current moniker in 2007. Now nearly twenty years on, it increasingly challenges similar commercial fests as the best deal around. With the 2013 line-up it can be argued to be the most overlooked music festival in the country. Though it lacks the resources of its more famous counterparts, its long history and the station’s commitment to artists mean musicians are willing to go out of their way to play XPoNential. “Dr. John, the New Orleans legend, was a late addition eager to be on the bill,” philly.com notes. “Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and locals Dr. Dog both played the larger Firefly Festival in Delaware in June, and made a deal to play the XPN fest as well.”
So who is playing?
On the Wiggins Park stage Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros headline Friday, July 26th; Dr. John, Lord Huron, Trampled By Turtles, John Butler Trio and more highlight Saturday; and Phosphorescent and Dawes close the fest on Sunday. The Susquehanna Bank Center stage includes Dr. Dog, Polica and The Lumineers on Saturday and Bob Dylan’s full AmericanaramA tour on Sunday. Wilco and My Morning Jacket sets included. Although it can’t boast dozens of artists like, say Austin City Limits, or even the line-up depth of Newport, limiting the schedule to two stages focuses it, making it more realistic for attendees to actually see all the artists they want and in a more relaxed setting with longer sets than at many fests. For folk and indie roots fans, it can’t be beat. “3-Day Go Everywhere Passes” are just $70 for XPN members, and $125 for non-members – a fraction of the cost of its competition, including Newport (where many of the same artists are playing the same weekend). It’s also more family oriented than any compatible festival, and offers single day kids passes for just $5! A variety of ticket options are still available here. General admission / lawn tickets for just the Lumineers and Dr. Dog show on Saturday night are also available at LiveNation.com (though Sunday’s AmericanaramA is sold out).