Festivals, concerts, movie screenings and more will be plentiful and better coordinated on both sides of the Delaware River this summer, officials said yesterday.
One sign of cooperation: Camden's Adventure Aquarium is springing for the America's Birthday weekend fireworks that go along with the Wawa Taste of Philadelphia Concert (July 6). And no Philly complaints that Cirque du Soleil will set up its tents on the Jersey side (adjacent to the Susquehanna Bank Center) for the first time, for the premiere run of "Totem" May 30-June 23.
The Great Plaza at Penn's Landing is mostly about freebie fun this year - including this weekend's Art Star Craft Bazaar, the 10-event strong Peco Multicultural Series on Saturdays and Sundays through August, and "Screenings Under the Stars" series of recent hit flicks on Thursdays in July and August (including "The Hunger Games" and "Silver Linings Playbook")
More no-charge allures include the Power 99 "Peace on the Streets" party June 28, a Philadelphia Orchestra concert (with fireworks) on July 2, Smooth Jazz Summer Nights on Fridays in August and a hot Sounds of Gospel Concert on Aug. 24 boasting performances by Hezekiah Walker, Kurt Carr, Tye Tibbet and others.
The WHYY Connection Festival returns to the Plaza, enlarged to a two-day (Sept. 7-8) run in conjunction with Coast Day.
A little upstream, the Race Street Pier is coming on strong as a visitor destination with free performances and concerts curated by Fringe Arts and others on First Fridays and Third Thursdays, June through September. Free all-level yoga classes are on tap on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. in June.
Only a couple of Live Nation ticketed concerts will be held at the smaller-capacity (2,000) Great Plaza site. Most have been booked into the three times more accommodating Festival Pier, at Spring Garden Street, starting with Sunday's sold out Armin Van Buuren electronic dance-music show.
Across the river, Live Nation is mounting a huge concert series at the Susquehanna Bank Center, including a record-breaking nine shows with country rock stars Tim McGraw, Zac Brown, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban.
Both SBC and Wiggins Park will be exploited for an enlarged XPoNential Festival. Cross the bridge on a Friday in June and you'll also find a new Food Truck Party going on at the Camden waterfront.