Unbroken sunshine welcomed the return of the Roots Picnic to Philadelphia, as the two-day music festival took over the Mann Center in Fairmount Park.
Upwards of 60,000 tickets were sold to the 15th annual event, organizers said. Attendees came from near and far to see headliners like Mary J. Blige and The Roots — both Black Thought and Questlove performed — plus local stars like Tierra Whack and Jazmin Sullivan and dozens of other hip hop artists, including WizKid and Summer Walker.
At the first edition in 2008, Roots band manager Shawn Gee told The Inquirer that just 2,000 people showed up. Back then, it was held at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River.
The event moved to the Mann in 2019, but then went virtual-only for two years because of the pandemic.
This year, performances are taking place on two stages, and are being livestreamed on YouTube. There were also backdrops set up for photos, and a whole arcade area with games.
Though people of all races and ethnicities were in attendance, several festival-goers said the event felt like a center for Black culture, with one describing it as “a profoundly black experience” and another calling it “Cochella for Black people.” WNBA champion and winning coach Dawn Staley was spotted on the grounds.
Scroll down to check out more pics from the concert and festival.