It’s been a tough road for this year’s Popped! Festival, which brought big names like Vampire Weekend and The Ting Tings to Drexel last June.

Plans to expand the 2009 event and move it to “The Lakes” of South Philly crumbled before our very eyes as partnerships with AEG and Live Nation fell through in succession. But Popped! planners didn’t give up. Instead, they’re bringing us a downsized, street fair-esque version of the much-loved tradition in what is now dubbed the 2nd Street Festival. The best part is, it’s free!

Head down to the 600-1100 blocks of 2nd Street (between Girard & Spring Garden in Northern Liberties) this Saturday. Those who forgo SEPTA in favor of more eco-friendly forms of transportation will be rewarded with a bike check on-site and a skateboard ramp open to the public. Over 60 vendors will set up shop at Popped!, selling food, beer, tattoos, clothes, crafts, and more.

When you’re not at the dunk tank or entering for a chance to win a Vespa, hit up the two stages, which will showcase some of the biggest buzz bands on the indie scene today. We’re psyched for all ten-ish guests, but extra psyched for a few.

First there’s Sharon Van Etten, just back from a tour with the Great Lake Swimmers in support of her debut album Because I Was In Love, easing us into the day with soft, delicate folk.

Fellow singer-songwriter Benjy Ferree, who seamlessly fuses heavy and optimistic, will take the stage at 3:45 to showcase his Watership Down-based concept album.

Since nothing says summer like indie-alt-country, and nothing says good like comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel and Okkervil River, be sure to catch Rock Plaza Central at 4:50. Next up is Arc in Round (formerly Relay), bringing with them a new name and a poppier take on atmospheric noise.

A full schedule is available on Popped!’s website, as well as updates about a mysterious Special Guest to fill the final performance slot.


All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.