Philly Music Fest 2023 is Oct. 9-15

Philly Music Fest
Kurt Vile and Schoolly D to perform at Ardmore Music Hall

by Davis Giangiulio, Managing Editor

Philly Music Fest is back … live and in person. The indie rock festival returns October 9-15 with a line-up that includes performances from Kurt Vile & The Violators, Marian Hill, Mo Lowda & The Humble, Schoolly D and a host of other acts. The shows are scheduled for six independent venues, including Ardmore Music Hall, World Café Live, Johnny Brenda’s and other venues in Philadelphia. Get the full schedule here.

Greg Seltzer
Jenn and Greg Seltzer, founders of Philly Music Fest. Photo by Jess Nucci.

Philly Music Fest founder Greg Seltzer and his wife Jenn Seltzer packed this year’s schedule with local favorites, including Philly hip hop icon Schoolly D, who will perform at Ardmore Music Hall. Legendary musician Kurt Vile is excited to perform with Schoolly. “It’s a thrill to be able to put two nights of shows together there: one with a Philly icon, Schoolly D, whose voice is just unbelievable, my favorite classic voice from Philly, so deep that it just cuts right through into your brain and soul. I can’t believe we get to play with Schoolly,” Vile said. “He was the first person I requested actually… when I heard he agreed I definitely lost it a little bit.”

The music festival is a nonprofit venture that funds musical education programs. “Our hometown is a very special place to burgeon — from Stan Getz, The Disco Biscuits, Teddy Pendergrass, yours truly Schoolly D, and everything in between,” said Schoolly D. “PMF is planting seeds for the next generations of talent that will change the world. ‘Cause that’s what we do, yo!”

PMF is a labor of love for the Seltzers, the Narberth husband-and-wife team that produce the event. The first Philly Music Fest was in 2017. Philly Music Fest donated $100,000 to local music education programs after its 2022 events. “I wanted it to be reflective of our city’s culture in the music scene… having a genre-less festival, and making our genre a location.”

Philly Music Fest features artists across genres, from rock and punk to folk, R&B and pop. Diving into the music industry to create a festival was a completely new endeavor for Seltzer. Some of his work has been on the legal side of the music industry. That built him a few connections within the market and gave him a basic understanding of it too.

“I basically combined a passion of going to shows and festivals as a fan with a bunch of skills and disciplines I gathered with some of the brightest folks from around the country,” Seltzer said. Since entering the industry, Seltzer’s been surprised at how many different levels of it are difficult. He didn’t realize how rough it is for venues, record labels and ticketing platforms. “It’s endless how tough of a business it is.”

Philadelphia natives Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongo of the band Marian Hill will perform at PMF. Photo by Israel Riqueros.

That’s why Philly Music Fest hosts Inside Hustle, a panel and networking event for those in and looking to get their starts in the local industry. At the event, artists share their stories about how they navigate scoring deals and booking gigs, and this year promoters, agents, radio representatives, accountants, legal experts and more will be hosting tables to discuss one on one their roles. “It takes a village to build a music scene and to support musicians,” Seltzer said. He hopes people can find that village at Inside Hustle.

Aside from the musical appeal, Seltzer said Philly Music Fest’s non-profit structure also drives attendance and artist participation. The investment into music education programs means concert-goers aren’t just going to see headliners, they’re also helping build the foundation for the next generation of artists Philly Music Fest will book. “We’re recycling the talent base,” Seltzer said. “You can know that you are giving to the local music scene.”

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