A fitting sound track

For more than 20 years, the annual South by Southwest festival has transformed Austin, Texas, into a music mecca. So when Isaac Friese moved from Austin to Philly, it seemed obvious to him that a city of this size and pedigree should have no problem supporting a comparable event.

So he asked a local friend the obvious question: Why hasn’t it happened yet?

“He gave me this little smile,” Friese recalls, “and said, ‘It won’t work because it’s Philly.’”

Despite being faced with that familiar, self-defeating attitude, Friese forged ahead, teaming with Village Green Productions’ Joe Lekkas and intrepidJAM’s JoAnna Marmon. The result is the first annual Philadelphia Film and Music Festival, a four-day celebration that offers more than 280 musical acts and over 60 film screenings at venues and outdoor stages throughout the city.

Highlights include a rare appearance by local indie-rock legends The Dead Milkmen, jam rockers Agent Moosehead providing a live score to the 1959 un-classic “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” a hip-hop showcase at Club Risque and a gaggle of tribute bands at The Troc.

Already looking past this year’s sprawling event, Friese is hoping to expand to an even grander scale next year.

“We aspire to be what those other great festivals have been for many years,” he says of SXSW and New York’s CMJ. “We would love to have this be the premier music and film festival on the East Coast.”

Philadelphia Film
and Music Festival

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