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Kississippi at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Last weekend we took up residence on the second floor of MilkBoy in center city for our second-ever KEY FEST – a celebration of the Philadelphia music community, curated by us here The Key, spread out over three nights. It was once again filled with great music and positive vibes, and major thanks are due to all the performers, as well as the folks at MilkBoy and Bonfire Entertainment for graciously allowing us to bring artists into their space.

Below, check out an assortment of scenes from the weekend, by Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo and Key editor John Vettese.

Joie Kathos at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Joie Kathos at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Rapper Joie Kathos got the weekend started and the got the crowd moving with a fierce selection of songs from her recent Floaters EP.

Joie Kathos at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Hardwork Movement at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Hardwork Movement at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Nine-piece hip-hop collective Hardwork Movement had the place packed from the front to the back on Friday night, and brought a high-energy party atmosphere to the Fest.

Kate Faust at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Kate Faust at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Vibing out with Kate Faust. She played a large handful of new songs during her set, and we’re more excited than ever for her new EP.

Kate Faust at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Kate Faust at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

ILL Doots at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

ILL Doots at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

ILL Doots bringing opening night to a thunderous close. I’ve been an admirer of their music for a while now, but this was my first experience seeing them live, and I was blown away.

Madalean Gauze at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Madalean Gauze at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Madalean Gauze kicked night two into gear with an energetic set recalling Patti Smith and PJ Harvey.

Cherry at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Cherry at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

A shimmering performance from Cherry kept the show moving – Russell Edling and co. continue to show off their serious indie pop songcraft.

Shelf Life at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Shelf Life at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

On record, Shelf Life is a bit askew and experimental; in concert, they kick out the indie rock jams in a big way. The songs range from super pretty to playful (ie. one tune where they just repeat the lyrics “North Korea” over and over).

Kississippi at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Kississippi at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Fresh off a month and a half tour, Kississippi delivered a set filled with feeling that culminated in frontwoman and songwriter Zoe Reynolds laying on the venue floor, singing as the crowd stood above in awe. Just beautiful.

Friendship at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Friendship at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Friendship started the roots-centered Sunday night with a test run of several new songs that are already making us excited for album number two.

Lou at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Lou at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

The always impressive Lou dives in to their set, which was nicely immersed in jangling rock melodies and plaintive vocals by Tess Emma.

Howlish at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Howlish at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Mark Watter’s Howlish got loud and boisterous, channeling their Tom Petty and War On Drugs-isms with punk energy.

Howlish at Key Fest | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Howlish at Key Fest | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Hezekiah Jones closed out the weekend on a mellow and introspective note, with some choice moments of garage rock in the mix.

Check out a full gallery from the event below!

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