Delicious news: the Hall & Oates-headlined Hoagie Nation Festival is getting a culinary and musical upgrade this year with a new VIP pre-party at the Fillmore and expanded dining options on the day of the festival.

Set to unfold on May 26 at Festival Pier, the festival returns with a solid concert line up, as well as free samples of hoagies from 20 Philadelphia-area delis for all who attend.

However, for those who want to start chowing down early, tickets for a Friday night pre-party at the Fillmore are now on sale. The event is set to host an array of notable chefs, including Bravo's Top Chef contestants Jennifer Carroll of Spice Finch and Jason Cichonski of ELA and the Little Noodle Pasta Co., Food Network Star and Chopped Grill Masters semi-finalist Chad Rosenthal of The Lucky Well, Cup Cake Wars champions Lily Fischer and Nima Etemadi from Cake Life Bake Shop, Hungry Pigeon's Scott Schroeder, Bud & Marilyn's Marcie Turney, and other culinary talents from the area will also be at the party. All will be crafting up their own signature versions of the hoagie — whether it be in the form of an appetizer, dessert, or classic sandwich.

In addition to food samples galore, party-goers can look forward to a live concert by Mayer Hawthorne and Philly All-Star band David Uosikkinen's In the Pocket.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Lucky Well Commissary, an extension of Ambler's the Lucky Well set to open Summer 2018, where Chef Rosenthal will designate space in his kitchen to train, mentor and create employment opportunities for Philadelphia-area residents struggling to overcome poverty.

The party sets the stage for round two of food and musical fun when the official HoagieNation festival unfolds on Saturday. New this year, a food stand by Daryl's House will be added to the lineup of tasty offerings. Modeled after Daryl's House Club & Restaurant in Pawling, NY, the stand will offer popular menu items including Jerry's Ribs, Daryl's House Chicken Wings, and a Very Best Weiner. Other restaurant vendors to look out for at the festival include Lil' Trent's, Baby Blues, My Four Suns, Steve's Prince of Steaks, Boardwalk Specials, Sum Pig, Champs Steaks, Cheese It Up, Ice Cream Truck, Nico's Pizza, Panzarotti Truck, PJ Whelihan's, Chickie's & Pete's, Tony Luke's, and more.

The lineup of festival music offerings is equally robust, which in addition to full sets from Daryl Hall & John Oates, includes performances by Train and Fitz and the Tantrums, as well as local bands Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers and Mo Lowda & the Humble. To see the full roster of performances, click here.

A limited number of tickets for the Friday pre-party event went on-sale today at noon. To secure one for yourself, head to, Ticketmaster Outlets or call 1-800-745-3000.

May 25-26, Festival Pier, 601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, $40 and up,