Crowds flock by the thousands to the Piazza at Schmidt’s each January, braving the cold for the radio’s free Winter Jam concert. PHOTO COURTESY OF WRFF/Stephen Eckert
The Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties is no stranger to large events. For the past few years on one afternoon in January, Radio 104.5, Philadelphia’s alternative station, has hosted its Winter Jam concert, a free show for all ages. By popular demand, the concert is coming back this Saturday, Jan. 25, for another day of fun and entertainment for the whole family.
In the past, more than 5,000 music lovers gathered for Winter Jam, according to Clear Channel’s News and Community Affairs Director Loraine Morrill. This year is expected to draw a much larger crowd, with possibly as many as 7,000 people.
The event will take place at 1001 N. 2nd St. from noon to 5 p.m. and will feature performances from bands twenty one pilots, New Politics, Switchfoot and MS MR.
In addition to the more well-known bands the station has performing at the show, the station will also give the chance for a local band to open up for the headliners.
The event promotes not only the radio station, but local business as well.
Kevin McGehrin, bar manager at PYT located on Hancock Street in the Piazza, has been working at the restaurant for more than four years and said he looks forward to the overflow of business that Winter Jam brings to the area.
“We love it,” McGehrin said. “We see a huge uptick in business and overall attention to the area. It’s great advertising for us.”
McGehrin said the radio station contacts the business prior to the event for planning purposes. The two entities have formed a strong relationship over the years working together, he said.
Creep Records store, also located on Hancock Street in the Piazza, also welcomes the extra business.
“It brings good traffic into the store, raises more awareness about the business,” said Jamey Godfry, the store’s general manager.
Although the area stores and restaurants are generally happy for the increased traffic, Godfry said it still causes them to be cautious and on the lookout for potential bumps in the road.
“We’ll beef up security, just like on any other day we know we’re going to be busy,” he said.
Despite the concert’s steady growth in popularity over the years, some of those who live in the Piazza’s surrounding apartments do not seem to mind the extra bodies floating around the area on the day of the event.
Chris McNerney, who’s lived in the Navona Apartments, located in the Piazza, for the past three years, said he doesn’t mind the crowds the event brings in each year.
“It really depends if the event features the kind of stuff you’re into,” he said. “For the people who enjoy this kind of music, they don’t care at all.”
The general consensus regarding the upcoming music fest, it seems, can be summed up by Godfry’s remarks.
“The more the merrier.”
Radio 104.5’s Winter Jam brings more than 5,000 to the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties to see a free show. PHOTO COURTESY OF WRFF/Stephen Eckert