Community and Music: The 2019 XPoNential Music Festival

Last weekend, I attended the 2019 XPoNential Music Festival, the annual music fest put on by Philadelphia’s public radio station, WXPN. Though I have been listening to XPN for years, this was my first time attending the festival – and it was every bit as amazing as I always imagined it to be, and more. While I could write a review of the music, there are already so many articles like that out there, so I’d rather focus this short post on the magic of the festival as a whole, and the sense of community it fostered.

I’ve been listening to XPN for at least five years now, if not more. I was originally drawn to the station because it played everything, and their support of local musicians appealed to me. The variety and their mission of connecting artists with audiences made me stay. Last year, I finally became a member of the station, and last weekend I was lucky enough to attend their annual music festival when family friends offered me a ticket. What followed was an experience filled with music discovery, community, and fun.

The festival was at Wiggins Park and BB&T Pavilion on the Camden Waterfront. The music at the festival was truly diverse, which is something special about the festival and XPN in general; their ability to showcase a wide variety of music, from Ruston Kelly’s country, to Bettye LaVette and The War and Treaty’s soul, to Y La Bamba’s Latin music, to Japanese Breakfast’s indie rock, to Hozier’s alternative folk, to Blondie’s new wave punk. It doesn’t matter what the music is – if it’s great, XPN will celebrate it.

Rayland Baxter’s performance on the Marina Stage

And XPN’s ability to celebrate music and connect everyone through their mission of music discovery is just as great. Just by listening to XPN, I feel that I’m part of a community, and being at the festival increased that feeling exponentially (pun intended!). Physically being surrounded by all the listeners and fans of XPN all seated together on the lawn, listening to fantastic music, was phenomenal. I could truly feel that I was part of a community, from the moment we all boarded the ferry together on the way to the festival to the moment a large group of us returned to the hotel at night.

And that’s how powerful music is. It creates a sense of belonging, brings out our strongest emotions, and helps us form meaningful connections. XPN understands this, and succeeds in fully capturing these elements in their annual festival.


This article first appeared on the Wix site.

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