Sponsored by Acme Markets and presented by WXPN, the seventh annual Haverford Music Festival is happening noon to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 9 on four stages near Darby and Eagle Roads in Havertown.
Admission is free and highlights include more than 30 musical acts representing various musical genres; area businesses and vendors along Darby Road and Hathaway Lane; food; a beer garden and children’s activities.
Headlining HMF 2017 on the Oakmont Field Stage, behind the Oakmont School Administration Building, will be Matthew Sweet, who once described his sound as “power-pop-folk-rock-psychedelic-melodic-singer-songwriter-type stuff.” After a run of critical and commercial success in the 1990s, and three “Sid ‘n’ Susie” duet cover albums with The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, Sweet has returned with a Kickstarter crowdfunded album called “Tomorrow Forever.”
The sunnyness of Sweet’s music is belied by recent personal tragedy. Around the time his father passed away approximately two months ago, Sweet got sick and was hospitalized.
“My mother passed away right after the Kickstarter campaign ended. By the time I got started, there was no time to make demos (as gifts for donors),” he said in a phone interview from his home in Nebraska.
Sweet and his wife moved from Los Angeles back to the area where he grew up just in time to spend meaningful time with his parents in their final months. “To be here with my brother and sister, and in contact and aware of everything, in a way was comforting,” he said.
There’s a song on “Tomorrow Forever” inspired by his mother, titled “You Knew Me,” but Sweet said he did not plan to play it at the Haverford Music Festival. To keep his set upbeat, he’ll favor songs like “Trick,” “Pretty Please,” “Music for Love” and “The Searcher” over moody compositions like “You Don’t Love Me” from his signature 1991 release “Girlfriend” or “Someone to Pull the Trigger” from 1993’s “Altered Beast.”
In “the last year or so” Sweet and his band have played a couple of street festivals, such as the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival in Indiana and Springfield, Ill.’s Apple Festival. “These things have been fun for us,” Sweet said, adding that he was looking forward to his appearance in Haverford.
“Doing (a Kickstarter-funded album) put the fire under me to put out a great record,” said Sweet, who reported that he still had some Skype calls to donors to fulfill, and will be releasing a download-only “satellite record” of 12 songs that were left off of “Tomorrow Forever.”
Topping the bill on HMF 2017’s Darby Road Stage (near Campbell Avenue) will be The Weeklings, a New Jersey band so in love with The Beatles that they don’t just cover the Fab Four’s catalog. The Weeklings play their own original, early-Beatles-inspired songs that have gotten airplay on three different SiriusXM channels; represent John Lennon/Paul McCartney songs given to other artists; and even dig deep to exhume Beatles songs that were never properly recorded.
Rhythm guitarist and vocalist Bob Burger, aka Zeek Weekling, said that the band’s name is a reverse wordplay on The Beatles changing an E in “beetles” to an A. “We work ‘Eight Days a Week’,” he added.
Their original song “Little Elvis” from The Weeklings’ “Studio 2” album was chosen as “Coolest Song in the World” by the “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” program.
When asked about what songs from the vaults The Beatles could possibly have left alone that would be suitable for public performance, he named a 1960 Silver Beatles era track called “Somedays” — “It’s been getting really good audience response,” he said — and “Because I Know You Love Me So,” which exists only as a 1969 rehearsal fragment on the bonus disc of the “Let It Be ... Naked” remixed re-release from 2003. “We used our imagination,” Burger said. “People are challenged to figure which song was written by whom.”
Bassist and vocalist Glen Burtnik, aka Lefty Weekling, is known for his work with Styx, Electric Light Orchestra and John Waite, but got his start in the show “Beatlemania” playing the Paul McCartney role, opposite Marshall Crenshaw as John Lennon. “We’ve always tried to hide it — ‘I don’t wanna be thought of as a Beatle guy’ ... and here it is 30 years later,” Burtnik said.
Preceding Matthew Sweet on the Field Stage will be Boston blues rocker Danielle Miraglia, and preceding The Weeklings on the Darby Road Stage will be Nadjah Nicole, a Delaware native and finalist from Season 9 of “The Voice.”
You’ll also hear jazz, rock, pop, children’s music, folk, classical, blues and country from:
Darby Road Stage
Noon: Elaine Romanelli (2016 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival emerging artist).
12:45: Seventh Sojourn (Moody Blues tribute).
1:35: Needle Fish (pop/rock ‘n’ roll).
2:25: River Bones Band (modern bluegrass).
3:20: Skip Denenberg (singer/songwriter).
4:10: RÊVE (classical/indie rock/avant-garde).
5:05: Nadjah Nicole.
6: The Weeklings.
Oakmont Field Stage
Noon: Madame Jones (funky jazz-rock).
12:45: Nytrous (21st century classic rock).
1:35: I Think Like Midnight (“instrumentals for your now,” featuring former Wishniaks leader Andrew Chalfen).
2:20: The Barrel Fires (original Philly rock band).
3:10: Jesse Gimbel (Philly-area multi-instrumentalist).
4:05: The GTVs (vintage garage rock fused with classic soul and R&B, featuring former Mondo Topless keyboardist Sam Steinig).
5:05: Somerdale (power pop rock ‘n’ roll from Blackwood/Hammonton, NJ).
6:05: Danielle Miraglia.
7:30: Matthew Sweet.
The Rock Indoor Stage
Noon: Valerie West (15-year-old singer/songwriter and Miss York County Outstanding Teen 2017).
12:35: Becca Gohn (jazz-inspired pop).
1:10: Amanda Nolan (16-year-old singer/songwriter from West Grove).
1:50: Edge Hill Rounders (roots music inspired by the Louvin Bros. and Flying Burrito Brothers).
2:30: Dennis Selfridge.
3:10: Anne Harp.
3:50: Valerie DuPont (featured performer at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Singer-Songwriter Cape May Festivals).
4:30: Lansdowne String Quartet (from the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra).
WHHS Eagle Road Stage
Noon: Maggie Pope (children’s music).
12:45: Brian Salcido (soulful pop).
1:30: Hanna Paige Indie singer/songwriter from Newark, Del.).
2:15: Little Bomb.
3: Dan Ascanio (pop singer/songwriter).
4:30: Jonny Drucker.
A new HMF 2017 mobile guide lets you plan your festival visit. Download the Eventbase app for Android or iPhone via http://free.eventbase.com/download. Once the app is open, search for Haverford Music Festival.
The festival is a fundraiser to support township organizations and projects. To date, more than $73,000 has been distributed to organizations such as the Haverford Township Free Library, Music Works, Tree Tenders, Haverford Partnership for Economic Development, The Grange Estate, The Havertown Rotary, Kelly Music for Life and others.