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Feud leaves Sister Sledge one member short for parkway show

Kathy Sledge, the group's youngest member, said she was never offered the opportunity to join her sisters onstage tonight at the Festival of Families.

WHEN THE Festival of Families kicks off tonight on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, one of the main musical acts will be Sister Sledge, who'll be belting out "We Are Family," a fitting anthem for the event.

Except that particular "family" may be one member short, thanks to a feud between the Sledges.

Kathy Sledge, the youngest member of the quartet, has apparently been ousted from the performance by her siblings Joni, Debbie and Kim, she said last night.

"I don't want my fans to think I'm a 'no-show,' " Sledge said last night. "I want them to know that this isn't about disgruntled sisters, but about reconciliation."

Sledge said she was the one who came up with the idea of the group reuniting for the pope's visit and pitched it back in June.

There was a precedent for it: The group performed for world leaders numerous times at the White House, most recently during Obama's first Inaugural Ball.

The idea for a show on the parkway was warmly received from city officials, she said, but she didn't hear any further updates.

Until a few months later, when a bulletin about the upcoming performance was on CNN. A bulletin that accompanied a picture of Kathy smiling next to her sisters.

Sledge, who lives in Bucks County, tried to contact them for an explanation, but never heard back.

They've had their disputes before, she said, but nothing quite like this.

"As it got closer and closer, I knew it would look like I wasn't going to show up, and that wasn't true," she said.

Recently, one of Sledge's sisters reached out via text message, but she still received no word on whether she would be welcome onstage with them tonight.

At this point, she fears it's too late - the logistics of a concert take much longer to set up than a few hours.

But she's not bitter.

"I wish my sisters the best of luck," she said. "This would've been an amazing platform to express that we are family."

Attempts to reach the other sisters last night were unsuccessful.

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