Maitland performing at Sofar Philly, March 2014 | photo by Lindsey Borgman
Celebrate five years of SoFAR Philly with the curators’ top five favorite moments
SoFAR Sounds have been curating intimate living room shows in Philadelphia for five years now, bringing touring and local bands together in a kind of under-wraps-until-the-last-minute way that has resulted in some pretty spectacular performances. To celebrate this milestone, SoFAR Philly coordinators Carolyn Lederach and Ken Winneg have shared their top Sofar memories with us, from rooftop shows in Center City to holiday shows on a South Street balcony. Read what they have to say below, and be a part of the 5th anniversary event on Saturday, November 12th in South Philly by signing up here (hurry though, the early show is already sold out!).
March 22nd, 2014
One of the top shows I think for all of us. It was a really cool night, we had two bands from the UK on their first US tours, and two Philly bands. We got Scotland’s Prides and London’s To Kill a King (right before their US tour with Bastille) along with Maitland and Worshyper. On a personal note for me…watching the videos are pretty sentimental because one of my friends who passed away was sitting in the front row on all the videos. So it’s both cool and sad, in a way, to have that documentation of the music and still capturing my friend being around. It was also the first show three of our volunteers came to (Casey, Victoria, and Shana). So it was a sentimental show for me on a lot of levels. To Kill a King also said Maitland was one of their favorite US bands they found during their tour here, so I thought that was really awesome (that’s part of the SoFAR interview I did with them in Nashville at the end of that tour). – Carolyn
September 18th, 2016
One of our latest shows at probably our best space – the rooftop of the Free Library building in Philadelphia. It was a nighttime show with just an incredible skyline of Philly in the backdrop. We had Dollys, Luke Mitchem, Tyne, and Vincent John play that show. So it was another nice mix of artists from multiple locations, which we really love to do. Tyne is a super young artist from London and she just blew everyone away. She’s also played a bunch of SoFARs in London and a couple other ones in the US while she was over here. – Carolyn
February 8th, 2016
We got to be a part of the very first SoFAR Tour here in the US. This is a new aspect of SoFAR that we’ve been working on, where we curate a group of three touring acts who are SoFAR alums to go on the road and play only SoFAR shows. We’ve been a part of the SoFAR east coast run twice now, so that usually includes NY, DC, Boston, and Providence. That tour included Gracie and Rachel, Covey, and Animal Flag. – Carolyn
October 26th, 2012
Our 2nd Anniversary show and first Halloween show. Everyone was talking about this up and coming band from Central PA. But I was really looking forward to a solo performance by Ron Gallo from the Toy Soldiers. We also had Charlottesville’s The Hill and Wood, our second ever spoken word act Vanessa Ingram, Satellite Hearts (who we’ve had play several times since then), and closing the show was The Districts. Ron Gallo blew me away and I remember telling a friend about how much he reminded me of a young Woody Guthrie. The Hill and Wood provided the perfect second act with soulful ballads and some rocking tunes (and wore fake mustaches to fit our Halloween theme). But The Districts stole the show with “4 and 4” and an acoustic but still rocking version of “Funeral Beds”. They were the first SoFAR Philly band where the audience demanded an encore! Very few bands have had that honor. It was also the first show our regular emcee, Davis Jameson Howley, did. We asked all the guests to come in costumes, Davis was one of the few who did. – Ken
December 13th, 2015
Our annual Holiday show. It was planned to be a cozy show at the home of Fergus Carey (of Fergie’s Pub) and Christine Chisholm on a cold Winter’s night featuring RFA, Hemming, Morningsiders and Michael Blume. Since we are in the midst of climate change it turned out to be a balmy 70 degrees. So instead of doing a show in a living room with a tree, roaring fireplace, and ugly Christmas sweaters, we set up on the outdoor deck overlooking South Street’s Magic Gardens. It was yet another perfect Sofar night. – Ken
Runner up: Square Peg Round Hole ft. Josh Miller from January 16th, 2016. I think it encompasses a lot of things that represent SoFAR. There’s the community vibe of two bands collaborating. The silent audience taking it all in and later participating in the song to make it something even more magical.