Skip to content

Mantua Fest: Helping the Music Community and the Local Community.

April 29, 2015

MantuaFest2015Text and photo by Diana Shalenkova.

Mantua Fest began partway as an extension of Make It Work PHL, Ben Johnson’s senior project for Drexel University, partly as an idea that Johnson had been pondering when he first began booking shows at his house several years ago.

Make It Work is a DIY booking company aimed at helping new and touring bands get gigs at Philadelphia houses.

“I wanted to make an organization where bands from out of state – instead of trying to book through R5 – have a place to submit their band and tell me a date,” Johnson (pictured above) explained as he sat in the sunny back room at the Green Line Café. “Then I can bring that information to people I am working with through Make It Work who book shows at their houses.”

Now, Johnson and Make It Work are working with the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships with plans to donate a part of the profits from Mantua Fest back to the center.

11036760_348631948677830_4626871454625874695_n“Even though Drexel is this money-sucking university, they wanted to do something good for the community instead of filling plots of land with student housing,” Johnson said. “Dornsife is a community center where people from the community can use computer labs, get financial advising, monthly community dinners and other resources, and where students can go to learn.”

Though Mantua Fest gets its name from the geographic location of the weekend-long event, there are social implications regarding a festival named after a neighborhood that does not involve members of the community of said neighborhood. According to Johnson, a flyer for the festival has been put up in the Dornsife Center. However, with the event being planned on such short notice, Johnson says there was no time to find artists from the community and plans on doing this differently next time around, considering the first time a beta test.

“I feel that the next Mantua Fest will be better because it will include more people from the community, maybe like a block party as well,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely been a learning experience, but I am trying to do something good.”

Mantua Fest consists of five shows, with a matinee on the fourth day. The event kicks off on Thursday at Rock Bottom XX, featuring W. C. Lindsay, Mumblr, Legs Like Tree Trunks, Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes, and Second Marriage.

Others scheduled to perform during fest include OhBree, NarK, No Stranger, Edelweiss, Hurry, Loose Tooth, Pocket, The Danger-O’s, Cool Points, Grower, Disinterest, Soul Glo, Blankbook, Steady Hands, Broken Beak, VVeed VVolf and Shannen Moser.

Each show is $5, but four day passes are available for $10. Tickets are available here.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: