Ask anyone in Philly about the Roots Picnic and they would tell you it's one of the oldest annual music festivals in Philadelphia, put on by the nationally acclaimed band The Roots. The Picnic, since its inception has always been held at Live Nation Philadelphia's summer staple spot Festival Pier at Penn's Landing.
The lineup as always, was headlined by none other than The Roots themselves; and the lineup consisting of their choosing. The Picnic was headlined by stars such as Jeezy, Solange, and Grammy award winner Pharrell Williams who would be performing alongside The Roots. Also on the lineup were current and previous artists from the XXL Mag's Annual Freshman list and an abundance of up and coming stars. Unfortunately Lil Wayne, the mega rap star canceled his performance last minute due to unforeseen health issues. But the rest of the lineup didn't disappoint.
The Picnic started an hour late due to technical difficulties. Once everything was confirmed nowhere in Philly could you not hear the roar of the crowd. Dj Diamond Cuts was up first. She's toured with legendary artists such as GZA. One of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan. Once her set started rolling so did the crowd. After finishing up her set, the rest of the openers kept the momentum going. Rising stars Tunji Ige, No Name, Dj Spinna, and Dj N.O.C had the crowd going wild.
Pnb Rock, coming off his 'Misunderstood Tour' had the crowd singing along. Once he started his singles Misunderstood and Selfish not one person would have heard him even if they wanted to. You would have thought they paid him to stand on stage. Next up Playboi Carti, one of the two Atlanta trap artists at the festival, was ready to go. No introduction was needed as he stepped up. Calls of "I love you" could be heard throughout the crowd.
Unfortunately for him the only thing stopping all the girls was a metal barricade and two anxious looking security guards. The obstacles didn't stop the crowd from belting out song after song. He hyped up the crowd enough to start a mosh pit!
21 Savage, Thunder Cat, and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie were up next. The new and old artists rapped their hearts out. You could feel the energy from the crowd as they went in with all their biggest hits. Finally the diverse act of the day came on. Kimbra, the New Zealand pop and R&B artist walked up to her midi keyboard and sang. She sang with such soulful intensity and passion that people only truly in tune with themselves and their music can achieve. She was joined by her band to help keep the tempo up.
Solange and Jeezy, the next contenders to follow the previous acts. Jeezy, the second Atlanta rapper on the lineup started a little later than intended. But no one minded as JB Smoove, comedian and star of the hit show Curb your Enthusiasm came out to introduce the artist. And I know what your thinking. Yes. Yes he did say another season is in the works. Your welcome. You can thank me later.
After Jeezy ran on stage you would have thought he was in his hometown of Atlanta. The love the crowd showed him was incredulous.
The great migration to the next stage for Solange could only be described as buffalo migrating through the Great Plains. Her beautiful voice encompassed the whole crowd. With her lyrics you would have thought she was singing personally to everyone in attendance. Finally, the reason for the 10th anniversary show.
The Roots came out. It started off with Black Thought's amazing MC skills getting the crowd ready for the rest of the set, while all remaining of group took to their spots on the stage. The band had everyone hyped up, but you could feel the anticipation in the crowd. This moment is what most of the crowd waited the whole day for. The once in a lifetime experience of seeing Pharrell live. Moments after Pharrell appeared on stage.
His signature hat and fashion sense seemed to glow in the spotlight. Anyone who doubted his talent as a Grammy winner slowly sank to the back of the audience. Compared to the other artists of the day you could barely hear the crowd. No one in attendance wanted to sing or move. Many would call exhaustion, but everyone knew the real reason. The energy emitting from Pharrel and the Roots was to much to handle. Nothing would have changed anyone's mind about staying here forever. With His amazing stage presence everyone could tell why The Roots had hand picked him. Before he finished, everyone wished they didn't have to say farewell.
Written by Harrison Daly
Photos by Streak Photography