The Roots Picnic is going virtual.
Last week, the 13th annual version of the festival was wiped off the Mann Center calendar when the Fairmount Park venue nixed its entire summer schedule. But now the Roots have announced that a version of the 2020 Picnic will go on as an online-only event on June 27, staged in partnership with Michelle Obama’s voter-registration organization When We All Vote.
The Picnic will mix musical performances with appearances by celebrities urging fans to exercise their right to vote. The event will be shown exclusively on the Roots’ YouTube channel. It’s being produced by Roots manager Shawn Gee of Live Nation Urban, along with Questlove and Black Thought’s Two One Five Entertainment, and Dan Parise of the production company DPS.
The virtual musical lineup is scaled down from the previously planned Picnic, which had been scheduled for Aug. 1, after being postponed from itsinitial date of May 30.
The Roots will perform and also back Philly neo-soul singer Musiq Soulchild. They’ll be joined by H.E.R., who was one of the highlights of the 2019 Picnic, plus rappers Lil Baby and Roddy Ricch, gospel choir leader Kirk Franklin, Persian-Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra, and more.
Meek Mill, DaBaby, Summer Walker, and Ghostface and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan are among the acts on the original 2020 Picnic bill who will not be going virtual.
A number of other musicians and celebs are joining the Picnic but aren’t listed as performers. Besides the former first lady, they include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Kerry Washington, Tom Hanks, actress Liza Koshy, NBA star Chris Paul, and Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth.
“I felt that it was imperative that this year I open up both the Roots and my Live Nation Urban platforms as vehicles for both voter education and voter registration.” said Roots manager Gee. “Our goal is to aggressively impact change, and we’re going to have some fun while doing so.”
Fans will be able to begin the registration process at weall.vote/rootspicnic or by texting ROOTS to 56005.
When the Aug. 1 date at the Mann was called off last week, the show was classified as rescheduled rather than canceled, so refunds will not be automatically issued. Instead, tickets will be honored for a new date next year, not yet announced. Fans can request a refund once that new date is announced or as of Aug. 9, 2020, whichever comes first. More information is available at livenation.com/refund.