Guide to the Top Festivals in Washington D.C.
Festivals in Washington DC
It’s officially summer in the Nation’s Capital, and what better way to spend it than attending one of the great music festivals occurring in and around the city. From trill/electric, to jazz, to blues, there’s sure to be a festival for everyone! Check out our guide below for more information on music festivals in Washington D.C. this summer. Click here for a guide to all summer concerts and music festivals!
Top 10 Washington DC Festivals
Trillectro Music Festival
Trill=authentic hip hop. Electro=short for electronic. Trillectro=the sweet spot where cultures converge. This moving and memorable cultural experience is sure to be packed with high-energy performances, moon bounces, live painting, food trucks – all in Obama’s backyard! As the summer seems to be winding down, let this amazing festival allow you to end summer with a bang.
Firefly Music Festival
Firefly Music Festival returned to Dover, MD, for its second year on the weekend of June 21-23. Produced by Red Frog Events, this festival takes place in The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, and musical guests perform on one of the four stages – The Porch Stage, The Lawn Stage, The Backyard Stage, and The Firefly Stage. Headlining the festival this year were Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Foster the People. Other notable performers included Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Avett Brothers, Calvin Harris, Passion Pit, MGMT, Ellie Goulding, Dispatch, Ben Harper, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Japandroids, Grizzly Bear, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Big Gigantic, Azealia Banks, Jim James, Zedd, Matt & Kim, Public Enemy, and Dr. Dog.
The DC Blues Festival is back for its 25th year with musical performances by Albert Casitgila, Big G, Austin Waslkin’ Cano, Fast Eddie & The Slowpokes, DC Blues Society Band, and many, many more. And if that’s not enough, the DC Blues Society is also sponsoring an After Party Blues Jam on September 1 from 4:00-8:00PM at the American Legion Post 41 in Silver Spring, MD. for more information, go to the DC Blues website.
Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival
DC locals and visitors alike travelled to Kingman Island April 27 for the 4th Annual Kingman Island BLuegrass and Folk Festival. The festival featured DC’s hottest food trucks, beer, bike giveaways, bike tours of the island, activities for kids, and of course, amazing bluegrass music, including performances by The Hackensaw Boys, Dead Men’s Hollow, Split String Soup, By & By, Hollertown, Bob Perilla & Big Hillbilly Bluegrass, and King Street Bluegrass.
Sonic Circuits Festival
Over the course of six days, the Sonic Circuits Festival will feature performances by 50+ acts at three venues. The festival will kick off Tuesday, October 1 with a free improv round robin at Millenium Stage at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. On October 2, the festival will move to the AFI Silver Theatre Cultural Center a film titled The Band That Met the Sound Beneath. On October 3, the festival will then make its way to the Atlas Performing Arts Center for the duration of the festival. At the Atlas, musical guests will include Fast Forty, Human Food, Black Saturn, Safe Creations, Iron Dog, The Jazzfakers, When We’re Older, Sonar, BLK TAG, and many more.
Summer Nights Jazz Festival
Calling all jazz enthusiasts in the DC area and beyond. Here is one summer music festival you don’t want to miss. Summer Nights Jazz Festival, which takes place on August 4 at the Wolf Creek Ampitheatre, is sure to be a wonderful celebration of jazz music, featuring renowned artists such as Jonathan Butler, Michael Franks, Rachelle Ferrell, Warren Hill, Maysa Leak, and Jimmy B.
Washington DC International Music Festival
Presented by World Projects Corporation, The Washington DC International Music Festival allows top highs school and community ensembles from all over the United States and around the world to perform in the Kennedy Center in the nation’s capital. Musical acts this year included the Wallace State Community College Concert Choir, Penhros College Chorale and Chamber Strings, Bridle Path/Montgomery Elementary Select Strings Ensemble, Cathedral City High School Sympohonic Band, Kutztown University Wind Ensemble, and Delta Winds
Capital Jazz Fest
For the past 20 years in early June, tens of thousands of music fans throughout the country have flocked to the Washington DC suburbs for The Capital Jazz Fest for a weekend of cool jazz and soul, and this year was no different. For its 21st annual festival, The Capital Jazz Fest brought in fans from 44 states and featured artists such as Will Downing, Bob James & David Sanborn, Robert Glasper Experience, Gerald Albright & Norman Brown, Jeffrey Osborne, Marcus Miller, Eric Benet, David Koz, and Ledisi, just to name a few. In between music sets, fans are able to enjoy fine arts and crafts, culinary treats, artist workshops and meet & greets, and late-night after parties.
Del Ray Music Festival
The 7th Annual Del Ray Music Festival took place June 22 from 12-9PM. The festival celebrated the rich diversity and talent of of the Del Ray community at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center Fields, and included music, food, games, and the chance to start the summer right with friends and neighbors. Music of all kinds were featured – reggae, jazz, blues, swing, folk, country, Celtic, and rock. What makes this festival so unique is that the majority of musicians that took the stage are residents of the Del Ray community, giving those that attend the festival the distinct opportunity to hear wonderful local talent.
Rosslyn Jazz Festival
Just before summer turns to fall, head across the Key Bridge to Gateway Park for the Rosslyn Jazz Festival. This popular festival, scheduled for September 7, is sponsored by the Rosslyn BID and co-presented with Arlington Cultural Affairs. This year’s festival will feature Jazz acts like Poncho Sanchez, James Carter, Soul Rebels, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, and Kenny Rittenhouse Septet. This year’s lineup certainly offers something for everyone, from timbales to tambourines to hip-hop flavored second-line marches.
Full List of Washington D.C. Summer Festivals
|Festival Name||City||Date Range|
|Sonny Rollins||Washington, DC||5/1 – 11/18/13|
|Old School Funk Fest||Washington, DC||9/7/13|
|DC Blues||Washington, DC||8/31/13|
|Trillectro Music Festival||Washington, DC||8/17/13|
|Sonic Circuits Festival||Washington, DC||10/2/13|
|Takoma Park Folk Festival||Takoma Park, MD||9/8/13|
|Rosslyn Jazz Festival||Arlington, VA||9/7/13|
|DC 101 Chili Cook-Off||Washington, DC||5/4/13|
|My Fair Lady In Concert||Washington, DC||5/5/13|
|Shamrock Fest||Washington, DC||3/16/13|
|Idobi Meltdown||Silver Spring, MD||3/9/13|
|Of Gold Encore Concert Fest||Washington, DC||4/15/13|
|International Soul Society Fest||Washington, DC||5/11/13|
|Whiskey Rebellion Festival||Washington, PA||7/11 – 7/13/13|
|Fest Too Festival||Alexandria, VA||6/22/13|
|Safeway Nat’l Capital BBQ Battle||Washington, DC||6/22/13|
|Del Ray Music Festival||Alexandria, VA||6/22/13|
|Hellfest||College Park, MD||4/19/13|
|Washington DC Int’l Music Festival||Washington, DC||4/22/13|
|Women In Jazz Festival||Washington, DC||5/18/13|
|Dig Festival||Washington, DC||6/18 – 6/20/13|
|Summer Nights Jazz Festival||NULL||3/23/13|
|Renaissance Festival||Washington, DC||4/19 – 4/20/13|
|Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Fest||Washington, DC||4/27 – 7/20/13|
|Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival||Alexandria, VA||3/27/13|
|Sofia Talvik Nordic Cool Festival||Washington, DC||2/24/13|
|DoubleX Gabfest||Washington, DC||2/13/13|