XPoNential Music Festival 2019 (The Performances): Elvis Costello, Hozier, Blondie, Amy Ray, Guster And More

Elvis Costello & The Imposters

MAGNET photographer Chris Sikich picks the highlights—in no particular order, other than that by day—from the 26th annual XPoNential Music Festival. (He also took the photos.)


Foxtrot And The Get Down brought rock ‘n’ roll joy to the Marina Stage, while the fantastic Nilüfer Yanya and Bettye LaVette delivered solid rock and soul sets, respectively, on the River Stage.

20-year-old Christone “Kingfish” Ingram may have delivered the most knockout set of the fest with his transcendent blues guitar work.

Japanese Breakfast finally graced the XPoNential stage at BB&T and wowed a crowd revved up for Hozier.


A rare New Jersey entrant at this fest, the Vaughns rocked early in the day, filling up the Marina Stage with awesome jangle.

Philly’s Ali Awan sounds grander with each live appearance, and in the blazing sun, he delivered one of the fest’s best sets.

Amy Ray

Y La Bamba mesmerized on the Marina Stage, while Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds left everyone in a trance on the River Stage.

If this was a competition, the one-of-a-kind Caroline Rose won the day, serenading the Marina crowd with new and old work.

Also amazing: the piano-studded Philly soul of Low Cut Connie, the stunning McCrary Sisters and the spellbinding St. Paul & The Broken Bones.


Philadelphia represented with rawk and wonder as RFA, Zeek Burse and Dave Hause impressed with their signature sounds.

My two favorites of the day brought voices new and old to the forefront. I’ve been dying to check out the War And Treaty, and the band’s soulful rock brought waves of delight to the Marina Stage. On the River Stage, Kathleen Edwards returned from a performance and recording hiatus with her voice as stunning as ever. 

Japanese Breakfast

Sean Ardoin brought delicious zydeco sounds to close out the Marina Stage in great fashion.

With hints of sunset glory behind her and her band, Amy Ray ended the XPoNential Music Festival with her patented folk rock, as stirring and brilliant as ever.

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram