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Bastille Day

Bastille Day 2018: The Farewell Tour
24th Annual Bastille Day Festival at Eastern State Penitentiary
Saturday, July 14, 2018

This performance will put a song on your lips, bread in your hands, and a little revolutionary swagger in your step!

  • Bastille Day 2018: The Farewell Tour

    All good things must come to an end. After 24 years of Bastille Day, it’s time to say goodbye. You can read more about the decision here.

    Join us for the final Bastille Day on July 14, 2018, and give Marie Antoinette a proper sendoff!

    One last time, the Bearded Ladies will perform a drag cabaret reenactment of the French Revolution, and 2,000 butterscotch krimpets will rain down from the penitentiary’s towers as Marie Antoinette delivers her infamous line: “Let them eat Tastykake!”

    The farewell performance will feature all the classic elements you have come to know and love—The Bearded Ladies, Marie Antoinette, watermelons, and Tastykakes—as well as a few new surprises. We don’t want to give too much away, but we can assure you that Bastille Day 2018: The Farewell Tour will be the most memorable Bastille Day performance ever!

  • What to Expect

    For one final time, Eastern State Penitentiary is teaming up with The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, to present the entire French Revolution in an hour-long spectacle of song, dance, and raining Tastykakes for the penitentiary’s last Bastille Day festival, to be held Saturday, July 14, 2018. Continuing with the annual theme of oppression and revolution then and now, the Bearded Ladies will connect past and present with a topical commentary on our political climate today. Guests can expect a show that is, as the Beards say, “both intellectual and accessible, entertaining and meaningful, stupid good and just plain stupid.”

    This playful reenactment of the storming of Bastille will be emceed by the voice of Paris herself, Edith Piaf (portrayed by John Jarboe, Artistic Director of The Bearded Ladies), and will include appearances by characters Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Krasner, and a six-foot-tall French Baguette. The script will touch on such topics as Philly public school education, criminal justice, racial injustice, the border wall and firewalls.

    This FREE performance will begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue, and will culminate in a reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. French revolutionaries will storm the grim walls of “the Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary) and capture Marie Antoinette (portrayed by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill and Paris Wine Bar). The show will reach its climax as Marie mockingly cries, “Let them eat Tastykake!” and more than 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets are flung from the prison’s towers onto attendees below. 

    The performance will take place on Fairmount Avenue, free and open to the public. Following the performance, local Fairmount restaurants will come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials.

    Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!

  • VIP Seating

    For those interested in a better (French Bourgeoisie) view, exclusive VIP seating is available. VIP tickets include reserved seating, Kronenbourg 1664 and other refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags.

    VIP Seating is now SOLD OUT.

  • Schedule of Events

    10 am to 5 pm: Tour Eastern State Penitentiary. Standard Admission. Last entry 4 pm.

    5:30 pm: Bastille Day cabaret performance. FREE!

    Starting 6:30 pm: French-themed food and drink specials at select Fairmount restaurants.

  • After Parties

    After the performance, visit one of these restaurants for French-themed food & drink specials!

    Urban Saloon
    London Grill

  • Thanks to Our Sponsors

    Bastille Day is produced by Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, written and performed by Bearded Ladies Cabaret, and sponsored by Tastykake and Kronenbourg 1664.

2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner