Memorial Day is over, we’re on to June, and that means outdoor concerts and music festivals galore! The District’s got them all this month: Jazz, Folk, Blues, Rock, Pop, Acoustic — even crafts, dance, and all the culture you can stomach in one day (or over the course of many).
Here’s a look at June’s top “tickets” to get your butt outside and reap the benefits of living in a city where the world’s cultures collide with a wide-variety of well-established American traditions.
June 1 – 13
DC Jazz Festival (formerly the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival)
This year’s festival features over 100 performance in a dozen plus venues all over the District and is praised for being the biggest music festival in town as well as one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in the U.S. When not in season, the festival’s staff organize and present year-round events to preserve music education in DC, the nation and abroad while supporting outreach to expand the ever-evolving jazz enthusiast population.
The summer’s line-up includes: Paquito D’Rivera, Roberta Flack, the Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band, the Roy Hargrove Big Band, James Moody, Claudio Roditi, Edmar Castaneda, Michael Philip Mossman, Akua Dixon and Quartette Indigo, the Berklee World Jazz Nonet, Roberta Gambarini, the Marshall Keys Quartet, the Marian Petrescu Quartet featuring Andreas Öberg, Tony Madruga, Uri Gurvich and more.
For a complete listing of all events, see DCJF’s website.
June 5 – 6
Glen Echo Park | Saturday 12-10 p.m. & Sunday 12-6 p.m. | FREE
What to find out what’s going on in the DC area folk community? This is a great opportunity to do so. The Folklore Society of Greater Washington is sponsoring this festival celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year. The festival is a good way to interact with the greater Washington metropolitan area’s most creative minds by participating in any or all of the live musical and dance performances, on-site storytellers, and craftspeople generating work all year long.
S. Walter Reed Drive & Columbia Pike, South Arlington | 1- 8 p.m. | FREE
This all blues, all day festival is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary in Arlington and will complete the party with a totally awesome line-up that features some of the youngest blues players in the area. 16-year-old Jazz and Blues prodigy Matt Wigler will tickle the ivories as well as acclaimed Blues guitarist Debbie Davies, Danny Blew will rock the roof off the outdoor festival stage (yes, of course that’s possible) with his powerful blend of Mississippi Delta meets Chicago Blues, and of course there will be many more acts in between.
Heck, there’s even an instrument petting zoo for those interested (but mostly the kiddies). The gang at Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization are teaming up with the non-profit Guitars Not Guns for the 2010 installment of the blues festival. GNG believes that no child should be without the opportunity to learn and play the guitar. One child at the festival will even win a free guitar compliments of GNG.
Wolf Trap, Feline Center | 7 p.m. | $45 in-house, $30 lawn
My childhood consisted of my dad cranking whatever music he liked over the car radio since he was both the pilot and captain of whatever ride we were taking. His collection was quite extensive, ranging from Garth Brooks to Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young, even Shania Twain to B.B. King (so now you know where I get my eclectic tastes from, but I digress). One band has always stuck out to me since none of my friends seem to have any idea what I’m talking about when I say “Yes is an awesome band.”
So, I’m saying it now — YES IS AN AWESOME BAND … and they’re coming to Wolf Trap this summer along with Peter Frampton. The tickets are a little pricey, but for an outdoor classic rock show with the original cast of characters taking the stage is always worth an extra penny or two so start saving now.
June 24 – 28 & July 1 – 5
National Mall | 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with special evening events | FREE
If you thought the Washington Folklife Festival sounded like a perfect excuse to indulge in a cultural overload, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Smithsonian Folkways Festival is the mecca of Folklife festivals, especially in this town. The yearly festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums.
Indie Bands with a Mission Benefit Show
Jammin’ Java | 1:30 p.m. | $10 advance/ $13 day of show
Okay, you caught me. This show is not outdoors. But it’s for a good cause. Indie Bands with a Mission is an informal non-profit organization and volunteer group run by high school students to raise money for food banks while promoting local bands who want to better the areas in which they live. Twenty-five percent of Indie Bands with a Mission’s profit will be donated to a local Washington, DC food bank.