Roots Picnic 2013 [Photos + Recap]

Photos by Seher Sikandar

So…Roots Picnic 2013 happened yesterday. Which is to say: the sun blazed, The Roots played, Naughty By Nature reunited on stage, Macklemore walked across the crowd, Solange sang a sublime Dirty Projectors cover and then got in an epic supersoaker fight backstage. Trinidad James played hoops, made the crowd go nuts with “All Gold Everything” and then clowned around with Joey Bada$$ and Robert GlasperA-Trak turned “Diplo-tent” into a home, Gary Clark Jr. played the pluck out of his guitar and Meek Mill devoured the mic in a surprise end-of the night guest set for the hometown crowd of Philly fanatics and hipsters who descended on Morgan’s Pier from Brooklyn and all abouts (we gave some of them rides; those kids are alright).

Fans were made, work was put in, pianos were smashed. Beer got drank, chicken got jerked. Cheese was macked. Greens; collared. We could not have asked for a bluer sky or a hotter summer day on which to enjoy whatever breeze Philly’s festival pier had to offer, and it was packed with young beautiful people, a few old beautiful people, a pack of cute-ass little kids and even a few kittens (more on that later–MUCH more). It’s almost hard to give you the highlights because almost every set was a highlight and there were so many beautiful Roots Picnic moments happening every time you turned around that you could assemble as many highlights reels as there were people in the capacity crowd. But a few highlights would have to include: Solange leading the crowd in a slow grind session on “Locked In Closets”; How To Dress Well’s R. Kelly/Ready For The World medley “Ready For The World”–which has a special relationship with Philly–and Gaslamp Killer‘s whole set. A few moments were so amazing and unforgettable that they can’t even be put into words. The only way to do them justice was to commit them to photo and video and share them with you–that we did and will do. Take the few pics from Okaplayer’s designated photog Seher Sikandar and look for more galleries to come from Mel D. Cole and Terrence Jennings. We’ll be adding many more photos in the hours and days to come, as well as unveiling our live and behind the scenes recap videos. We don’t want to give too much away, but…when you some of the crazy shit we caught on camera, well, you will never forget it, trust.


  • Ali

    This is my 5th Roots Picnic. I travel every year from NYC to come down. The music is always great. However, BIGGGG disappointment in the food vendors. There have never been great options, its always an unhealthy choice of burger, cheese steak, chicken fingers. However, this year, the lines were so rediculously long that they were not worth standing in. Can’t there be better options for an all day event? I know Philly has good food trucks! The worst part, by far, and one that should cause some shame is that there was NO FREE WATER!!! On a 97 degree day, this should be totally illegal! I saw at least 3 people pass out from dehydration. When one of my friends became dehydrated and lightheaded during the Roots set, I couldn’t even find a vendor that had a $7 bottle of water. It was sold out! Every year free tap water has been provided. What happened this year? I am very very disappointed. It all becomes a health issue when there is no available water or food options during an all day event where people need some nutrition. Not eating or drinking water is NOT an option!! Please work on this.

    • Regis

      Wow what a great venue!! Besides the heat everything was off the hook, from lush life to the roots, I thought there could’ve been a lil bit more shade or @ least a mist tent but they’ve got me hooked can’t wait to see next years lineup:)

    • chris

      Agreed – no free water = not cool

  • Chris

    I love the Roots Picnic, one of my favorite weekends of the year since I moved to NY. However this year was a big let down on the organization. For a group that is supposed to be socially conscious the set up was unacceptable.

    NO FREE WATER on a day of 95 degree heat – not even considering the black top of the terminal’s impact on the temperature. Oh, that is right $7 bottles of water but after spending $100 on water, I had to draw a line. I saw two people pass out in the course of the day, then at the start of the Roots set it was my girlfriend’s turn. Luckily, some good people shared their bottles with her as the vendors were OUT OF WATER!!

    Next time there is a forecast for these temps, get some water tents or at the bare minimum some shade tents and for real – FREE WATER for the 5,000 plus music lovers.

    Secondly, what is up with the food situation. Where was the Mac & Cheese and Collared Greens written about above? I saw two trucks versus some 8 last year selling shitty burgers and shitty pretzels. One of which had a 2 hour line. Open this up to local food vendors so people have options and healthy choices.

    It is clear that somehow greed trumped logic at this year’s Picnic for the same reasons the stock markets are rallying but unemployment remains high. Let’s hope that The Roots put their cause behind their fans for next years event. This is easily a $300 dollar weekend for many people that want to come out and be part of an amazing show, but this business of taking fans for granted and not showing them the love they show the performers that are hanging out in AC trailers…….no man

    As usual, the music was amazing and the Roots blew it UP but I could only hear it as I had to help my woman out of the crowd and sit her down after her “heat stroke”.

    • ill

      Music: Great // Everyone put on an incredible show, the Roots set was amazing. It was my first time seeing them and it was something Im so happy to have experienced.

      The Food: Laughable // The ONE food truck in that entire venue was so shitty. “Lil Trent’s Treats”. I stood in line for two hours while the sun was at the highest point in the sky because they were so ridiculously slow. I watched them stand around, do little ketchup swirlies on peoples hotdogs and burgers, forgetting people’s simple orders “You said 2 hotdogs, right?” I watched a man wait 20 minutes for one hamburger. On bread. Not even on a hamburger bun. On regular. ass. white. bread. All the time, theres a crazy line of people behind me waiting in the hot sun. I got fed up with standing in line after about an hour, but I stayed because I felt like I had put in so much work and I was so close. By the time I got to the front, I couldnt deal with waiting another 15-20 minutes for a hamburger on white bread, so I just got 2 bottled waters. Which still meant i had to wait while she moseyed to the back of the truck, grabbed the waters, stood, looked around (I watched her do this), and moseyed back. Meanwhile, there was about 10 beer and pretzel vendors. Wtf.

    • chris

      That line was laughable! I think two hours in an understatement too.

      I went to the back, by the bathrooms to get cold pretzels and cold cheese whiz!

  • come on now

    in a tent over 100 degrees F with NO air circulation, lady tried to sell me a 5 oz cup of ice for $8.50, or the amount they charged for wine. Ya’ll coulda had some SERIOUS negligence claims- get a new production company.

  • come on now

    having said that, GCJ is the baddest guitar player on the planet

  • June

    My first time at the concert, I couldn’t make it the whole day with the heat and cost of beverages + no shade. Don’t know how ya’ll did it! Love the Roots, but it was not as fun as I imagined.

  • Joe Decker

    I hate to add to the complain-ey comments already posted, but I just wanted to reiterate how bad a job whoever it was that was in charge of the Picnic did making sure food and water were available. If it weren’t for the Vitamin Water tent with free ‘shots’ of the stuff, my friends and I may not have drank anything all day… At a major festival, put on by a band as prolific and respectable as The Roots, I wouldn’t have expected such things to be an issue. Frankly it was very disappointing, and dangerous given the weather.