Roots Picnic will expand to two days in June, with Mary J. Blige, Summer Walker, Jazmine Sullivan, and more
The music and culture festival will return to the Mann Center in Fairmount Park after missing the last two years due to the pandemic.
The Roots Picnic will return to the Mann Center in Fairmount Park this June, with the multistage music and culture festival curated by the Philadelphia hip-hop band expanding to two days and featuring headliners Mary J. Blige, Summer Walker, Wizkid, Kamasi Washington, and Jazmine Sullivan.
This year’s Picnic will take place on the Mann campus on June 4 and 5. It will be the first to be staged as an in-person event since 2019, when the festival drew a crowd of 25,000 as it made the move to the Mann after over a decade on the Delaware River at the Festival Pier, which no longer exists.
The Picnic will feature two performers from Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast in Blige, who was part of the Dr. Dre-led hip-hop halftime show, and country singer Mickey Guyton, who sang the national anthem. At the Picnic, Blige will perform with The Roots as her backing band.
The lineup is deep. The J. Period Live Mixtape, a showcase for MCs that is always a highlight, will feature Roots rapper Black Thought, plus Rick Ross and Benny the Butcher. A Soulquarians Jam Session will find Roots drummer Questlove and other neo-soul musicians backing Keyshia Cole, SWV, and Philly R&B singer Musiq Soulchild.
The bill for this year’s edition of the fest, which was founded in 2007, will include a pairing of jazz-funk-hip-hop pianist Robert Glasper with Philly vocalist Bilal and DJ Jazzy Jeff backing legendary rapper Rakim. Gospel choir leaders Kirk Franklin and Tye Tribbett will perform, as will Philly rapper and pop artist Tierra Whack, indie pop singer Serpentwithfeet,and rappers Freddie Gibbs, G Herbo, and Chief Keef.
A podcast stage curated by Philadelphia hip-hop personalities Wallo267 and Gillie Da King with include live airings of Questlove Supreme, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered, and Million Dollaz Worth of Game, among others.
Which artists are playing on which day? That information is yet to be determined.
“This year, Black Thought, Questlove and I attempted to curate a lineup that broke through the genre barriers that often separate us in Black culture,” Roots manager Shawn Gee said in a statement. “To be able to book Mickey Guyton, Kirk Franklin, G Herbo, Wizkid, Wallo & Gillie, and Mary J. Blige on the same lineup is a dream come true.”
The return of the Picnic comes at a time when both The Roots principals have been in the spotlight for projects outside of the band.
Tariq Trotter, a.k.a. Black Thought, is starring in and wrote the songs for Black No More, the new off-Broadway musical based on George S. Schuyler’s 1931 Harlem Renaissance novel, which is playing at the Pershing Square Signature Center in Manhattan. And Questlove’s directorial debut, Summer of Soul (...Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), is up for a best documentary film Oscar.