The AV Club, September 2011 (lost in website overhaul)
Day 1, September 23
Summer music festivals have come at an increasingly steep price since the love-and-peace crowds descended on the Catskills for an impromptu Aquarian Exposition. Now a trip to Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo will set you back several hundred bucks, expose you to Coldplay and a rash of merchandising, and force you to subsist on rationed water and hashish as you live in a badly-pitched tent with your college roommate, her boyfriend, and their dealer for four days. There’s an easier path, however, a way to see the big names in little bands and still sleep in your own bed. The indie indoctrination comes to South Philly as Popped! Music Festival relocates to the stately FDR Park.
Friday, The Shins, still dreamily melodic if not as life-altering as Zach Braff claims, headline with their half-forgotten Beach Boys-do-Dr. Seuss ditties. Who knows, their return might be enough to make you forget that even your mom has “New Slang” on her iPod. Meanwhile Animal Collective zoo-escapee Panda Bear plays his folk-electro Tchaikovsky, and NASCAR bastard Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. wins the admiration of your friends—and instantly becomes uncool.
Day 2, September 24
More underground darlings squander their anonymous cachet during the second day of Popped! Music Festival, Philly’s Lolla-lite. Mainstream sample-dissident and copyright revolutionary Girl Talk weaves mashup magic, summoning spirits of the late Roy Orbison and the forever-imprisoned T.I., among hundreds of others while Titus Andronicus blasts its own Pitchfork-anointed explosive punk Shakespeare. Label touter and glitter rat Kreayshawn continues to make Ke$ha look well-groomed, while super-producer and Philly native ?uestlove tries to make us forget that The Roots are now Jimmy Fallon’s in-house band. Festival food—normally a nightmare of funnel cakes and five dollar bottles of beer—gets a pleasant reinvention at the Popped! Food Bazaar, featuring the best of local pub food and cupcakes. Popped! is a fizzy burst of mainstream-underground acts, sell-outs, shoulda-coulda-beens, Tumblr favorites, and sticky-sweet gelato. It should blow the cork off South Philly.