Support World Cafe Live’s music education programs for Philadelphia youth with a donation to our Music Futures Campaign today!

WCL Original Programs

We pride ourselves on producing unique live experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. From curated concerts to monthly residencies to education workshops, these WCL Original Programs are designed with artist and audience in mind. Most offer free or low-cost ticket options, supporting our mission to open doors and provide accessible opportunities for our community.

Beta Hi-Fi Emerging Artist Festival

Our annual multi-day summer music festival provides a platform for the Philly region’s best emerging talent, serving as a showcase for industry professionals and fans looking to discover new music. Handpicked artists perform to a rotating panel of judges, competing for cash and career-boosting prizes.

Past Beta Hi-Fi winners include The Districts, Arthur Thomas & The Funkitorium, Commonwealth Choir, Mitamu, and more.

Bridge Sessions

Our signature education programs for schools and human service organizations blend culturally engaged live performances with interactive music-making workshops in a professional venue setting. Bridge Sessions are developed by WCL teaching artists such as Dave G, ILL DOOTS, and Ansummane Silla. Topics include spoken word, West African dance, the Blues, protest music, and more.

Visit our Bridge Session page for more information.

JambaLiva!

WCL’s Executive Chef Rob Cottman shares his love letter to New Orleans cuisine in an afternoon of bold flavors, live music, and drink specials. Every August, we transform the venue to bring that New Orleans flare to Philly for one afternoon only. A special edition a la carte menu featuring nods to Creole and Cajun favorites with a heavy focus on seafood is available for purchase as well as featured cocktails and live music to complement the experience.

Kids Rock Philly

More than 400 local School of Rock students perform across two stages at this all-day fundraiser celebrating youth, music, and philanthropy. Participating schools include Cherry Hill, Deptford, Downingtown, Fort Washington, Hockessin, Main Line, Newtown, and Philadelphia. Proceeds benefit WCL’s free music education programs.

Kids Rock Philly has been featured on 6ABCNBC10, and Time Out Philadelphia – check out the linked videos to see the festival in action.

Jazz Jam

Our long-running Jazz Jam is for musicians and listeners alike. House band Emmanuel Ohemeng III & Perpetual Motion will start the evening with a few tunes before they invite a rotating lineup of players to the stage. Instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome to sign up and sit in throughout the evening. Whether you’re a longtime player, emerging artist, or just a jazz appreciator, join us in The Lounge every second Thursday of the month.

Admission is FREE. Check out our calendar for upcoming dates.

Philly Rising Open Mic

The first Tuesday of each month in The Lounge, we welcome performers from every genre to step up to the mic. Whether you’re a performer, aspiring artist, industry professional, or just a music lover – Philly Rising Open Mic is the place to be! We’ve partnered with local movers & shakers REC Philly to bring you this evening of musical collaboration, inspiration, and networking.

Admission is FREE and all ages are welcome. Performers are selected by lottery, walk-up submissions only. Each performer is allowed 2-3 songs, or a maximum of 10 minutes. Check out our calendar for upcoming dates.

Philly Undercover

It’s not a cover band, it’s not a tribute band… it’s Philly Undercover! We’ve asked some of our favorite artists to pay homage to their favorite artists for this series. You may not recognize these local acts as they take the stage playing full sets in their best musical disguise for one night only.

Past performers include Dominy as The Rolling Stones, Arthur Thomas & The Funkitorium as Parliament Funkadelic, Slomo Sapiens as The White Stripes, Martha Stuckey as The Dixie Chicks, and more.

Interlude Residencies

Our customizable single-day or multi-day workshops for schools and community partners explore topics like the fundamentals of music performance and production, music criticism, and music business. Projects have resulted in full-length albums of student music and city-wide performance opportunities.

Partners include Hill-Freedman World Academy, Freire Charter Schools, and Randolph Technical High School. Click here to learn more.

Spotlight Series

Our emerging artist series highlights the best new talent to come through Philly. Curated by our savvy staff, these are the shows that will give you bragging rights to say, “I saw them here first.”

Past performers include Hatchie, Southern Avenue, Quinn Christopherson, The Stooges Brass Band, Chaos Chaos, Oh Pep!, Sugar Candy Mountain, and more.

Viernes Calientes

Get ready to drink, dine, and dance the night away at our monthly first Friday series, Viernes Calientes! House band Guachinangos provides the live music, showcasing their unique flavor of cumbia & son jarocho. A rotating guest DJ will set the scene and keep the party going into the night. ¡Vamos a bailar!

Admission is FREE. Check out our calendar for upcoming dates.

WCL Beer Fest

A Philly staple since 2005, our annual Beer Fest was one of the region’s first. This event is for the craft connoisseurs – and not just beer! You’ll get to try unlimited samples of cider, seltzers, canned cocktails, and beer from over 30 breweries without the long lines or packed crowds. Your ticket also includes a variety of delicious small plates from Executive Chef Rob Cottman plus live music.

Mighty Songs

In this community collaboration with fellow Philly arts nonprofit Mighty Writers, young participants work with teaching artists to turn their poetry into songs. Click here to listen and learn more.