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Chester County Press

Philadelphia musician to perform at Mushroom Festival

09/07/2021 02:48PM ● By Richard Gaw

Make your plans for the Mushroom Festival 

The 36th annual Mushroom Festival will take place on Sept. 11-12 at Genesis HealthCare building on the 600 block of South Broad Street in Kennett Square. To learn more, visit   


By Richard L. Gaw 

Staff Writer 

In geographical terms, the musical journey of Andrew Lipke began in South Africa, moved to Virginia and has for the past several years resided in Philadelphia.   

And yet, because music easily transcends borders, Lipke's musical journey can be found at the crossroads of composing, arranging, conducting, producing, singing and absolutely slicing his electric guitar through the catalog of Led Zeppelin songs with the voracity of a whip smart prodigy. 

For Lipke, who will be accompanying Essie & The  Eggmen  at the 36th annual Mushroom Festival on Sept. 11, life as a Philadelphia-based musician has taken him to the four corners of the musical spectrum. Born in South Africa in 1978, he moved to Virginia with his family when he was a youngster and later pursued a degree in composition from The University of The Arts in Philadelphia. 

Since then, Lipke has operated under the unspoken premise of “Have talent, will travel,” with such varied stops as composing and arranging and singing for several prominent American orchestras and ensembles such as The  Aizuri  Quartet at The Curtis Institute, the Indianapolis Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, as well as produced dozens of records for local and regional artists and released five solo albums.   

In 2010, Lipke formed the Azrael String Quartet to perform music he had written for his album “The Plague,” which was named one of 2011’s 50 best albums by Philadelphia Weekly. His 2012 work “Siddiqah” was choreographed by The Columbus Dance Theatre for their production “Rock out” which also included several string quartet arrangements of classic rock songs Lipke completed for the Carpe Diem String Quartet. 

While navigating the genre of classical music, Lipke has also fully immersed himself in the road warrior world of rock music, having been a long-time touring member of the Led Zeppelin tribute band Get  The  Led Out, a critically-acclaimed ensemble of musicians. 

From Bach to AC/DC 

“When I was a child, musical genres confused me, and I didn't quite understand why music had to be categorized or classified,” he said. “If the music held an emotion and was successful in the communication of it, then it was successful. Either the music accomplishes what it tries to do or it doesn't and when it's successful, it grabs me. That's true of Bach as it is with AC/DC and anything in between.   

“Out of that kind of musical sensitivity, it made me want to get my hands involved in as many of those genres as I could.” 

While he has pursued the rich diversity of genres, all musical roads for Lipke, however, return to Philadelphia. Through his involvement with the Philadelphia based non-profit  LiveConnections, Lipke has collaborated with several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and other prominent musicians to create cross-genre presentations for young people, highlighting the transformative and boundary-crossing nature of music. 

In 2015, he collaborated with music director Dirk  Brossé  and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia to   create and curate   an innovative, cross-genre concert series called “Intersect.” 

“In retrospect, Philadelphia is a perfect place for a person with my particular interests in a large part, because the music scene is filled with such high-quality performers and writers and people to collaborate with,” Lipke said. “I have been able to work with world class musicians, as well as some of the best jazz players and rock performers in a concentrated area. I thought about going to California or New York City, but it just happened that each passing month brought new relationships and new collaborations, that really haven't stopped.” 

Essie & the  Eggmen  at the 36th annual Mushroom Festival 

On Sept. 11, Mushroom Festival attendees will get to see Lipke perform with another local collaboration when he plays guitar for Essie & The  Eggmen, a Philly-based blues/rock band that formed this summer and is also made up of vocalist Essie Riddle, drummer Rob Tate and bassist Andrew Napoli. The four first worked together on Napoli's production of “Come Together: Abbey Road,” that led to sold-out performances at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and the New Hope Winery.   

“When I left Get the Led Out three years, ago, it became a great way to open up my schedule to continue to pursue various aspects of musical expression,” said Lipke, who will conduct the 50-piece Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the end of September, featuring singer-songwriter Amos Lee.

“When we were performing 'Come Together: Abbey Road,' it was just me playing electric guitar and singing,” Lipke said. “I wasn't thinking about having to make the arrangements work. I wasn't trying to get the parts of the scores ready. I wasn't conducting an entire orchestra. It was allowing me to get back to what I also love to do, which is just shred on electric guitar.” 

Andrew Lipke will perform with Essie Riddle & The  Eggmen  at the Mushroom Festival's Community Stage on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. To learn more about Essie Riddle, visit To learn more about David Lipke, visit

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email  [email protected]