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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.

Philly Rising Open Mic

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

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.

Viernes Calientes

Get ready to drink, dine, and dance the night away at our 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.

Jazz Jam

World Cafe Live’s 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.

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

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. Topics include spoken word, West African dance, the Blues, protest music, and more.

Visit our Bridge Session page for more information.

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.

Learn More

Album-making residencies with Hill-Freedman World Academy
Immigrant Songs with HIAS PA
Percussion Ensemble with Bregy

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.

WCL Beer Fest

A Philly staple since 2005, our annual Beer Fest takes over all three levels of the venue and features over 30 distinct breweries – with a special focus on independent locals – plus music and food.


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.

Kids Rock Philly

More than 300 local School of Rock students perform across two stages at this all-day fundraiser celebrating youth, music, and philanthropy. Proceeds benefit WCL’s free music education programs.

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.”

Philly Undercover

More than just a cover band or a tribute band – it’s a one-night-only musical disguise where local favorites pay homage to their favorites.