[ hip-hop/rock/pop ]
Skip this and you'll have two other chances to catch The Roots at a huge outdoor show in their hometown this summer, but, really, don't skip it. Sure, July 4 on the Parkway is always good ol' rated-PG fun, and Jay-Z's thing will be ridiculous, but the Roots Picnic is where ?uestlove rules. When he's not behind the kit, America's Drummer is strolling the asphalt like a conquering hero, shaking hands, nodding, soaking in the love and giving it right back. Damn right, he should be proud. Where big-name "curators" of other fests somehow come up with the same YouTube-tested/blog-approved lineups of big-name acts with little in common (except, you know, they happen to be available that day), ?uesto and co. always deliver a smart, solid, faker-free lineup. St. Vincent, Diplo, Wale, Major Lazer, tUnE-yArDs — these are people testing boundaries, pushing pop into new and, usually, exciting directions. And of course some old heads will get their due, with Rakim doing all of Paid in Full and De La Soul backed by the Roots. Don't sleep on the side stage, either, because (A) that's where the air conditioning is and (B) it's the place to catch the next big thing. Kid Cudi rocked the tent a few Picnics ago. This year he's a headliner.
Sat., June 2, noon; Sun., June 3, 5 p.m., $63-$96, Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, 121 N. Columbus Blvd., ticketmaster.com.