Happy 10th Anniversary to WXPN's Free At Noon
Donavon Frankenreiter at WXPN’s Free At Noon on 2/11/05 | Photo by Lisa Schaffer

On February 11th, 2005, singer-songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter walked on to the stage of World Cafe Live in Philadelphia for the very first WXPN Free At Noon performance. Since then, hundreds of musicians have graced the stage every week for XPN’s weekly Free At Noon concert series.

The idea for Free At Noon came from WXPN’s Afternoon host and Music Director, Dan Reed, when he began working at WXPN. He came from radio station WFPK in Louisville, Kentucky, where he started a similar series in their studios, and he has booked every single show since the series started in Philly.

Over the years, Free At Noon has featured Hall & Oates, Adele, Dr. Dog, Citizen Cope, Norah Jones, Counting Crows, Richard Thompson, Ingrid Michaelson, Willie Nelson, The B-52’s, Rosanne Cash, St. Vincent, Ted Leo, Steve Earle, the Spin Doctors, The Head & The Heart, Spritualized, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Dawes, Ray Lamontagne, Father John Misty, They Might be Giants, John Legend, Old Crow Medicine show and many more.

What one artist has played Free At Noon the most? It’s British singer-songwriter Bobby Long. What artist performed the longest show? That would be Dr. Dog on April 10, 2010, when they played the usual eight song set, followed by a 12 song encore. They’d probably still be playing if we had let them. There have been 109 “sell outs.” Only two bands ever cancelled – the Hard Working Americans and The Concretes). We had one special Saturday Free at Noon, a double header with Tori Amos and Passion Pit on August 15th, 2009, and our first-ever Labor Day Free At Noon this past year with Spoon.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Free At Noon, a collection of songs has just been released for a membership pledge to WXPN. You can go here for a copy.

Below, listen to the very first Free At Noon with Donavon Frankenreiter.

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