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11 concerts you need to see at Festival Pier this summer

Festival Pier is an open-air concert venue along the Delaware River Waterfront in Philadelphia.
Photograph: Courtesy LiveNation

Though it’s really just a parking lot with a stage at one end, Festival Pier wins points for its location. The 6,500-person-capacity venue at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge hosts rock, pop and hip-hop concerts during the warmer months of the year. Face east and feel the breeze coming in from the Delaware. Now face west, where performers are framed by gleaming buildings and zipping trains. When the sun goes down on a summer night, Festival Pier becomes one of Philly’s most blissful places to see a show.

The 2018 concert season at Festival Pier kicked off last weekend with Marshmello, the Philly-born DJ/electronic musician who’s known for wearing a giant white marshmallow helmet and intense, artful remixes of pop and hip-hop artists like Selena Gomez, Migos, Khalid, et al. It was a worthy send up to a summer of exciting talents hitting the waterfront this year. Who else is playing Festival Pier this summer? Here are 11 acts we’re most excited about.

Liam Gallagher
The erratic Oasis frontman dropped a decent solo record last year, bolstering a set list still dotted with old favorites like “Wonderwall,” “Morning Glory” and “Be Here Now.” (May 17 at 8pm, $25-$40)

Migos
The Georgia hip-hop trio (recently parodied to perfection by Donald Glover and co. on SNL) headlines a tour centered around Spotify’s influential RapCaviar playlist. (May 19 at 7pm, $59.50)

Khalid
The young singer-songwriter has won hearts, minds and Grammy noms thanks to R&B anthems like “Location” and “Young, Dumb & Broke.” (May 25 at 8pm, $92-$150)

HoagieNation Festival 2018
Philly/soul/pop royals Daryl Hall and John Oates (“Kiss on My List”, “Maneater,” “Method of Modern Love,” “Private Eyes,” etc.) headline a hometown show also featuring Train, Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers, Fitz and the Tantrums and more. (May 28 at 3pm, $56-$295)

Roots Picnic
Curated by Questlove and hosted by Dave Chappelle, this edition of the enduring Philly tradition will be off the hook: Lil Uzi Vert, Dirty Projectors, Brandy, Jadakiss, Fabolous, DVSN and tons more. Oh yeah, the Roots are playing, too. (June 2 at noon, $75-$261)

Dr. Dog / (Sandy) Alex G
Two of Philly’s finest team up! Veteran indie-pop/psych-rockers Dr. Dog dropped Critical Equation in April. Home-recording wunderkind (Sandy) Alex G launched Rocket in May. (June 23 at 8pm, $35-$103)

Ms. Lauryn Hill
The refugee all-star celebrates the 20th anniversary of her classic (and only) solo record, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. (July 13 at 6:30pm, $57-$61)

Arcade Fire
The Montreal disco-drama band already played Philly behind 2017’s Everything Now, so think of this as a victory lap. (July 19 at 6:30pm, $60-$112)

Beck
His cowboy-folk phase over, Beck dropped Colors last year, an off-kilter pop/soul record with a couple weird booty shakers thrown in. Shake your weird booty. (July 20 at 8pm, $59.50)

311 / The Offspring
Quoth the FAQ: "Smoking is permitted inside Festival Pier." (August 10 at 7pm, $31-$49)

James Bay
Bid summer adieu with the bittersweet British singer-songwriter. (September 25 at 8pm, $29-$39)

RECOMMENDED: Check out our full guide to Philadelphia concerts to see this season

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