Written by Margaret Cooper
Photos by Silverstone Media
As the summer days get longer — and the sun gets even hotter! — festival season officially reaches full swing. While you can’t catch them all (trust me I’ve tried, #FOMO), do yourself a favor and check out the 3rd annual SENSORiUM Music & Arts Festival. Join El Ten Eleven, TOBACCO, Tweed, and so many more musicians, artists, and friendly faces in the heart of Philadelphia on Saturday, August 24th at the Ukie Club on Franklin.
Curated by Philly’s own funktronica quartet Tweed, the event features an incredible lineup of musicians, a sprawling craft vendor selection, a number of different artists, and tasty food and drink options galore. For those that are 21+, alcohol will be served outside and the venue includes a full-service bar indoors! Located downtown Philadelphia, the backdrop offers views of a stunning Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral set against the city skyline. The Ukie club provides a welcoming home for the event, a seemingly natural fit in the downtown area close to Northern Liberties and a mere one and a half miles from Fishtown. The day fest begins at noon and runs until night, when the party moves indoors for an impressive after hours lineup including Wax Future and Bad Leather & The Friend Zone (featuring Tweed drummer / disco extraordinaire Joe Vela). Check out a video recap of last year’s event here.
With over twenty musicians, five artists at large, and three stages, it’s safe to say that things might get a little bit weird (in a good way!). Headlined by El Ten Eleven, Tobacco, Tweed, and Space Bacon, the SENSORiUM lineup places a priority on electronic and psychedelic influence. Smigonaut brings his neuro bass beats, ever danceable Nah Mean?, jam-trance inspired Solar Circuit, and Philly-based psydub producer Goldenspiral highlight all ends of the electronic spectrum. The artists at large, including Wax Future’s Keith Wadsworth and ZONE Drums, are sure to keep things interesting with fresh collaborations and spontaneous improvisations. Things only get better as the night goes on with a stacked late-night lineup including the future funk flare of Wax Future and the undeniable authenticity of analog electronic music with Beard O Bees (AKA Jesse Miller of a little band called Lotus).
So at this point, I know you’re probably thinking — what exactly does the SENSORiUM mean???
Festival organizers define it as:
“the amalgamation of perception, the sum of sensation, ...where experience and environment combine.”
The event undoubtedly lives up to its claim with a wonderfully immersive, certainly sensational experience. Vendor row presents a wide selection of works by a group of handpicked, incredibly talented local artists and craftspeople. The art installations are also absolutely fantastic — many are even interactive! Last year included multiple themed lounges, a mirror maze, giant beer pong set, and the creation of a multi-story high mural live painted by the talented Steve Shorts. This year, DR01D Visuals will be back on hand providing late-night visual stimulation of the psychedelic sort. Alongside The Progressive Art Society, a number of live painters and artists will be featured through the inclusion of installations, galleries, workshops, and flow performances. After sundown, fire spinning performances will take place alongside music at the main outdoor stages.
And if you needed one more reason to go, did we mention that the organizers place a tremendous emphasis on environmental care? Multiple trash and recycling stations exist throughout the venue and sustainability is prioritized in the consideration of food and beverage vendors. A team of fantastic volunteers and staff work hard to keep a clean festival space and leave no trace following the event. Music festivals can have a pretty trashy rep and it’s great to see an event taking a conscientious, proactive stance!
On a little block in downtown Philadelphia, SENSORiUM has effectively captured the magic of the festival atmosphere in a single day. In spite of the urban surroundings, the grassy space offers up a little slice of heaven under the open sky. With a large, open lawn, the event leaves plenty of room to dance, have fun, and be yourself. The proclaimed goal of the event is to “leave a positive impact and create an unforgettable experiential party for everyone.” There is something to be said of the heart that goes into the small, grassroots festivals — and the way that heart is transformed into a community experience, cultivating positive energy and pulling in a wonderful crowd. Capturing that special brand of Philadelphia soul, the festival is sure to please for the third year running. Effortlessly weaving the visual, auditory, and experiential arts into a rich creative experience, SENSORiUM Music & Arts Festival is truly a treat for the eyes, ears, and soul.
The event begins at noon and is 18+ or all ages with the accompaniment of a parent.
Tickets are only $45 for an all day pass or $65 with afters included (21+) – grab them here.