*The decision of officials in Philadelphia to book Buffalo, N.Y.-based Goo Goo Dolls as the headline act for its annual July 4 festivities instead of hometown favorite The Roots is causing problems in the City of Brotherly Love.
“It’s so strange because The Roots have such a connection to Philadelphia,” said Molly Eichel, deputy arts and entertainment editor at the weekly Citypaper.
City Representative Melanie Johnson, who organizes the “Welcome America!” festival, said selecting the headliner is a complex process that weighs factors such as broad public appeal, marketability and cost. Organizers, sponsors and city officials come up with wish lists, which they whittle down until a final decision is made.
Previous festivals have featured headliners with local ties (Patti LaBelle, Hall and Oates) and without (Sheryl Crow, Elton John). So while it’s likely not an intentional snub, it feels that way to some of The Roots’ loyal Philly fans.
“The Roots are our boys and we’re proud of them, so of course we get upset when it seems like they’re being overlooked,” local artist Peter Bonfatti told the AP. “It’s a hometown crowd, so we’re going to be there to see them if they play first, second, or 52nd.”
Despite the perceived slight from the “Welcome America!” folks, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, has booked the band for its upcoming concert season, and the annual Roots Festival is a popular daylong concert the band hosts and plays every summer.
“They’re great ambassadors for the city,” said Philadelphia Weekly music editor Brian McManus. “And my guess is that they probably have less of a problem with all of this than the rest of us do.”