This spring, Philly-born singer-songwriter and band leader Dave Hause added “festival organizer” to his resume. Along with his brother Tim and the folks at Rising Sun Presents, the inaugural Sing Us Home festival brought two days of vibrant roots and rock music to the campus of Manauynk’s Venice Island Performing Arts Center — the neighborhood the Hause brothers grew up in.
Night one was a family affair on Friday May 5th, opening with a set by Philly veterans Circle of Syn — a veteran psych rock band featuring Dave and Tim’s dad, Dave Hause Sr. — followed by a set from Tim showcasing his terrific new self-titled album, and a campfire song-circle styled performance featuring Dave, Kathleen Edwards, and The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. On Saturday May 6th, it was a fast-paced run of rock-forward programming, with locals The Tisburys, Crossed Keys, and Catbite mixing with touring artist Lydia Loveless and Drive-By Truckers. The brass band Ocean Avenue Stompers circled the grounds between sets and popped up on stage a couple times, and Dave Hause and The Mermaid’s set was a stellar centerpiece.
Aside from grey skies on a chilly Friday eve, the weather was a mostly optimal, helping transform what’s normally an event space parking lot into a gorgeous setting for a festival, with the Manayunk Canal and the ivy-covered factory buildings lining it making a breathtaking backdrop. The vibe was a mix of Warped Tour and neighborhood block party, lively MCing was provided by Reuben Frank of NBC Sports (who also joined The Tisburys on keys), and anticipation is already high for year two in 2024.
Check out scenes from sing us home below, courtesy of WXPN photographer Ellen Miller.