Photos: Courtesy of Wolf Trap

Caboose Brewing Company’s Wolf Trap Summer Ale Makes Its Return

There is something about seeing a concert in the outdoors that makes a show so much more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because there’s more room to breathe and dance around, or perhaps it’s because an open-air show is a sure sign that summer has arrived. Whatever it is that draws you to an outdoor gig, the promise of new drinking options makes Wolf Trap the place to go this summer.

The music venue is prepping the rollout of the newly updated Wolf Trap Summer Ale, a fairly light pale ale made for easy summertime drinking in collaboration with nearby Caboose Brewing Company. The partnership has been going strong since early 2016, not long after Caboose first opened its doors in Vienna.

In search of a middle-of-the-road beer that wasn’t like anything else they offered, Wolf Trap Director of Food & Beverage TJ Pluck worked with Caboose’s co-owner Matt Greer to create a brew that used the venue’s outdoor elements to inspire the Summer Ale’s flavor profile. In early discussions, Pluck, Greer and Wolf Trap Executive Chef Chris Faessen would talk “about the Wolf Trap experience and what’s unique here.”

“You’re sitting in this oasis of trees in nature in the middle of the city,” Pluck says of the venue.

With the abundance of cedar trees, pines and Faessen’s bee apiaries in mind, the brew was born. As for changes to the batch available for the 2019 season, Pluck and Greer agreed to tone down the bitterness of last year’s recipe.

“We typically bitter with Warrior [hops], but we’ve reduced that quite a bit and introduced some Falconer’s Flight into the mix, which is another kind of aromatic hop,” Greer says. “But other than that, the base malt build has pretty much stayed the same.”

He adds that these changes will make the 2019 batch an ale that is more with the times but anticipates that the team will continue to tweak the ale as they go. While Pluck had long envisioned serving a proprietary beer at Wolf Trap, it was not until Caboose opened its flagship location that he felt he had found the right brewery to work with.

The timing was perfect as Wolf Trap was looking to focus their beer program on local brews, now including Starr Hill and Devils Backbone. Greer adds that a collaboration with Wolf Trap made perfect sense on Caboose’s end – as soon as he and Pluck’s team sat down to talk, the two groups just clicked. Since then, the national park and brewery have only grown closer.

“They are literally a mile-and-a-half down the street from us,” Greer says. “We talk all the time and I’m constantly going to shows. TJ [Pluck] could call me tomorrow and say ‘Matt, I love this beer I had a dream about and I need to make it,’ and of course I would make it for him. It’s become more of a friendship than a business situation.”

Not to mention that as a brewer, Greer is always looking for new projects to work on with local groups.

“Honestly, we live for collaborations. It’s a lot of fun.”

With the summer ale collaboration going so well, Greer and Pluck both mention there’s a good chance the collaboration could grow in the future. While nothing is set in stone, Pluck says the two groups have started talking about potential projects down the line – including adding more Caboose beer at Wolf Trap as the brewery has recently started canning their beer and using the honey produced by Wolf Trap’s bees.

“We’re all hyperlocal, we like participating in each other’s events and we’re just really blessed with having so many like-minded people in the area,” Greer says.

The revamped summer ale isn’t the only drinking option to look forward to at the park this year. Wolf Trap will also be offering Richmond-based Väsen Brewing Company’s Guava Otter Gose.

“[Väsen’s] beers are all named after animals because they’re all about the outdoors, which fits in with us being a national park,” Pluck says. “We’ll actually be one of the very few places in Northern Virginia to have it in cans.”

Devils Backbone’s new Hibiscus Hard Lemonade will be offered, as well as two new cocktails created by Wolf Trap – vodka-and-orange puree concoction the Blood Orange Breeze, and cucumber and Spindrift cucumber sparkling water combo the Cucumber Refresh. On the nonalcoholic side, the national park struck up a collaboration with Caffe Amouri in Vienna to create the Wolf Trap coffee blend – a mix of artisan coffee beans from Papua New Guinea and Guatemala – served hot or iced and sold in to-go bags in the gift shop.

Whatever you’re looking for in an outdoor concert venue, Wolf Trap has something for everyone with their numerous local drink options, natural beauty, and stellar lineup of bands and performances.

“There’s nothing better than great music [and] beer together in one place,” Greer says. “I’m just excited that we’ve got this national resource right next to us.”

Wolf Trap’s summer season kicks off on Thursday, May 23 with a three-night lineup of The Avett Brothers, coinciding with the release date of the revamped Wolf Trap Summer Ale. For more information about the venue’s summer season, visit www.wolftrap.org. For more on Caboose, go to www.caboosebrewing.com.

Caboose Commons: 2918 Eskridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.caboosebrewing.com
Caboose Tavern: 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna, VA; www.caboosebrewing.com
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts: 1645 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org


Artist Picks

Concertgoers aren’t the only ones who like to enjoy a beer during – or before or after – a show. Check out what a few artists coming to Wolf Trap this summer like to sip on during a performance and how they celebrate post-show.

Lake Street Dive
Drummer Mike Calabrese

Favorite pre-show drink:

Honestly, water. Pee clear, sing clear, drink after.

Go-to beer on tour:

Some [members of the band] are IPA people, or NEIPA people. Others prefer something yellow, like a classic German lager or pilsner.

Post-show spot:

The bus! The venue usually hooks up the local stuff for us backstage and then we go into the lounge and ask the bigger questions about life, love and Game of Thrones.

Lake Street Dive plays Wolf Trap Saturday, June 8. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Learn more about the band at www.lakestreetdive.com.

Toad the Wet Sprocket
Bassist Dean Dinning

Go-to beer on tour:

I enjoy a Toad the Wet Hop Ale from Green Man Brewery. Either that or a nice, light Mexican beer like Modelo with a squeeze of lime.

Favorite pre-show drink:

I enjoy a shot of decent tequila like Maestro Dobel or Casamigos with a squeeze of lime – never heavy, always refreshing.

Post-show spot:

I always go to [U Street soul food spot] Oohh’s & Aahh’s when I’m in DC. Never miss the opportunity!

Catch the band at Wolf Trap on Sunday, June 30. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Learn more at www.toadthewetsprocket.com.

Photo: Rey Lopez

From Mosh Pit to Peak Foodie: Outdoor Music Venues Step Up The Gourmet Goodness

Here’s a game: free associate “summer music festival.” Sunscreen, superstars, mud, Insta, #squadgoals…

Have you gotten to “gourmet mosh pit” yet? Didn’t think so. But that’s changing fast, and summer 2019 is set to be peak foodie season. The days of cardboard pizza are fading. Concertgoers are walking in with elevatexpectations, and music venues are responding with thoughtful menus that range from creatively healthy to Instagrammable decadence.

“The words extraordinary and unexpected should describe everything, including the food,” says Audrey Fix Schaefer, communications director of I.M.P., the legendary DC-based group that owns 9:30 Club and took over operations for the Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2004, waving goodbye to airline service-style food options. “We would rather err on the side of ambition.”

And ambition is absolutely the defining word for festival menus this year. Sean Kenyon, a globally acclaimed bartender and cocktail master, has been refining his processes for large-scale cocktail batching and is ready to debut his libations at Jiffy Lube Live.

“Well-executed cocktails are the result of well-executed systems,” Kenyon observes.

To make it happen, he constructed a system where the event bartenders are simply executing the final step: blending a spirit and a fresh mix.

“I look at it like we are opening a new cocktail bar every night in terms of experience expectations for bartenders, prep and visible instructions,” he says.

With a few spirits – tequila, gin, vodka – and a few mixer options that are all interchangeable, the guest gets to personalize the glass.

“We can change the ingredients within the system to maximize the guest experience without disrupting the overall operation,” Kenyon adds. “We are not just creating a cocktail menu. We are creating a system that lets us be nimble.”

Systems are also front-of-mind at Merriweather. I.M.P. ditched the previous corporate foodservice distributor – which according to Schaefer tasted like airline food because it was made by the same folks – and hired local caterers.

“We wanted the tastes of a neighborhood restaurant with an ambitious menu,” she says. “We want people to arrive hungry.”

In 2017, Wolf Trap overhauled its own menus and also broke away from corporate foodservice distributors; the venue now independently runs its own concessions.

“We took a major leap and selected a small, family-owned business that focuses on local sourcing,” says T.J. Pluck, director of food and beverage at Wolf Trap.

But well-executed systems still require a fresh feed of great ideas to execute.

“I’m a guy who likes change,” Pluck says. “We spruce up the menu every year.”

This season’s inspiration comes from a range of sources including social media, according to Pluck.

“Concertgoers love Instagrammable edibles that make people say, ‘Wow.’”

And people have a lot more exposure to strong flavors now, Schaefer adds, which means that spicier and funkier flavors are in play. Dietary restrictions can complicate menu planning but Pluck notes that “we always work hard to be sensitive and incorporate those into a concession stand environment.” Nearly all concert venues in the DC area now offer gluten-free and vegan options – something almost unheard of a decade ago at all but the most granola of festivals.

“I never thought that people would eat salad at a concert,” Pluck says.

So what can fans expect on their plates this summer?

“This year, we’re focusing on funky, fun, fair food that’s spiced up with flavors like raspberry and chipotle and funnel cake sandwiches,” is how Pluck describes the new menu at Wolf Trap.

Pluck is tapping into happy memories of growing up in the Midwest and enjoying Ohio State Fair food like elephant ears: funnel cakes, rolled, pulled, and topped with cinnamon and sugar.

“We’re always asking, ‘How can we do this better?’ and ‘What sets us apart?’ We’re always looking to raise the bar [at Wolf Trap]. For example, we’ll always serve hamburgers – but ours are made with prime beef and served on a top-of-the-line French brioche bun with arugula, aged cheddar and chipotle aioli.”

Over at Merriweather, Cathal Armstrong (of the legendary Restaurant Eve, and now The Wharf’s Kaliwa) has come on board as Merriweather’s food advisor.

“Cathal lives and breathes food creativity,” Schaefer says admiringly. “People will be coming as much for the food as for the performance.”

Guests will get to explore a menu that includes everything from freshly roasted, husk-on corn topped with Cotija cheese to a house-made jumbo lump crab cake on fresh brioche.

“They’re honestly better than in some fine dining places,” Schaefer says of Merriweather’s crab cake (her personal favorite).

Over at Jiffy Lube Live, in addition to fresh craft cocktails, fans can enjoy the buzzy Impossible Burger: a plant-based patty that bleeds and sizzles when it cooks.

“We have partnered with some great brands including Art Smith’s Art Bird, Questlove’s Impossible Cheesesteak, Guy Fieri’s burgers and new hot dog concept Dog Haus,” says Matt Rogers, Jiffy Lube’s GM and SVP for music.

“My personal favorite is the Art Bird Fried Chicken,” he says. “It is off-the-charts good.”

The folks who are overhauling menus and updating concert dining experiences are riffing off their own memories and tastes to create the perfect concert experience. Pluck is a musician and self-described band geek who says his dream job is working at Wolf Trap; he channels epic memories of concerts with Genesis (the 1992 reunion tour at Cleveland Stadium), The Police and Muse. 

Rogers finds the most fulfilling part of the job to be a providing people with an escape for two hours. Kenyon is also a musician; he pursued band life before committing himself to becoming one of the greatest bartenders in America, and his ideal festival night inspires his Jiffy Lube menu.

“It’s right at dusk, your favorite band is just coming on, the day is fading, your drink is complex and you’re surrounded by friends. Perfection.”

Learn more about the elevated fare and summer lineups at these three venues below.

Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

Photo: Nicholas Moore

Brutally Honest: The Drums’ Jonny Pierce Talks New Record, Importance of Vulnerability

The Drums are now two albums into the band’s genesis as the solo project of frontman Jonny Pierce. As the indie-pop outfit’s cast dwindled from four to one during their decade-long career, Pierce saw himself doing everything from letting remaining bandmates have more creative freedom to totally leaning into his own voice and vision. That brings us to the April release of Brutalism: the sensitive, honest and enlightening look into Pierce’s life that you’ll probably relate to even more than you might guess.

As Pierce embarked on a journey through vulnerability via his latest album, he decided to bare all in his music as a way to encourage a more empathetic and open world. Pierce talks us through his use of architectural imagery, the importance of sharing the good and the bad in the age of social media, and how letting outsiders into his creative process led to one of the most affecting pop albums in recent memory.

On Tap: I want to start by asking about the title track. Is this a reference to Brutalist architecture?
Jonny Pierce:
When I was writing this record, I was in a relationship that wasn’t so good for me. There was a lot of passion and some version of something close to love happening. It was something where I loved deeply but didn’t get that kind of love back. All of those things that Brutalist architecture talks about – heavy and hard and practical without a lot of light getting in – made it feel like an appropriate title.

OT: What lead you to compare love to that style? What are your thoughts on it?
JP:
At the time, I was living in Belgium and in Brussels, there’s a bunch of Brutalist architecture. When I would get really upset or needed to take a walk, I was always greeted by all these different beautiful buildings. It really reflected how I was feeling and the nature of the relationship [I was in], and that relationship was going on during much of the writing and recording process of Brutalism.

OT: Lyrically, you seem to be more vulnerable than before. What lead to this openness?
JP:
I want to live in a world where people make themselves more vulnerable on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean we have to be vomiting our emotions out all over the floor at all times, but I just feel that privacy is overrated and people are so guarded. And with new things like Instagram, we’re showing more and more of our happy days and our good times and people don’t talk much about when they’re feeling sad or lonely or depressed. There’s this unspoken new code where we are really starting to only show the good sides. I feel all sides that make up who we are are good sides, even if it’s sadness or loneliness or feeling angry. It’s all good stuff because it’s natural and normal and part of the human experience.

OT: How did you come to this realization, and why incorporate it into this record?
JP:
Rather than complaining about how people aren’t more vulnerable, I wanted to try to lead by example. What really has happened is that I know my music is connecting more to people. To make work that feels meaningful and affecting is such a different animal than writing a song about surfing and being kind of silly and fun. By expressing how we feel, even if that’s being sad or confused or lost, that’s where we pull together and the magic happens. That’s where good art comes from. It’s not a doom-and-gloom situation. It’s a real search for joy.

OT: Vulnerability can be really scary at times. Was moving in this direction hard for you?
JP:
It’s not so scary because it still feels better than not speaking my truth. Some journalists have tried to capitalize on this in a way that feels insensitive to me. They’re digging in and trying to get as much vulnerability as possible instead of just letting me give that – just for the sake of having a juicy story. It’s one of those things I didn’t intend [for] but have to be careful of.

OT: I found myself connecting to some aspect of every song on this album, even though they’re very much about your specific truths and life experiences. Have you found a lot of other people reacting in that way to Brutalism?
JP:
The Drums have become a band, a group, a project of music for sensitive people. It connects with the people who live their lives with greater sensitivity – who are used to looking at life from a few different angles [and] figuring out how to be creative, exist in this life and not hate themselves. I think this level of vulnerability scares some people because they’re not ready to really connect. They’re not ready to really go there.

OT: It’s almost like the music is holding a mirror to the listener and they’re not ready to see themselves reflected in it.
JP:
Definitely. It’s like how a lot of – I’ll speak to my own experience – a lot of straight guys pretty much refuse to get into female-fronted music. I think it’s literally because if they enjoy it or connect with it, they think it emasculates them. I think in the same way, some people aren’t ready to connect with me speaking my truth because it means they’re attached to that truth. It’s just something I’ve observed. The moral of the story is we’re all just a little bit more advanced than straight men. You can print that, I don’t care! [laughs]

OT: We’ve talked a lot about lyrical inspiration, but how about musical inspiration? What were you listening to as you worked on Brutalism, and how was the recording process for this album different?
JP:
The inspiration [for the band’s sound] came from this idea of girl groups from the 60s meets Joy Division. Kind of an unlikely combo, but it became the character of the band. I wanted to protect that because I thought by not letting outside influences in, I could really preserve the band as best as possible. With Brutalism, I decided I had done enough of that. Through working with my therapist and just taking better care of myself, I was able to come to the conclusion that having such tight control over everything and shutting the world out was a greater risk than it was to open up. I decided to start working with other people. There were different ideas and opinions coming in.

OT: Any specific influences for this new direction you have taken with Brutalism?
JP:
A lot of the specific inspiration came from a band called Whale. They’re from Sweden in the 90s and they did these druggy trip-hop sounds and their record went nowhere but I think [it’s] incredible. I was listening to a lot of them and some electronic stuff. I’ve always been a big fan of drum and bass, techno and house music. We tried to infuse a little more of that. I just tried to be more honest in the words but also in the sounds that I love. Why am I holding back? Let’s just do it.

The Drums play the Black Cat on Saturday, May 11 with Tanukichan. Tickets start at $20. Doors are at 8 p.m. For more on The Drums, visit www.thedrums.com.

Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; 202-667-4490; www.blackcatdc.com

Noel Gallagher // Photo: Primary Talent International

Nostalgia Tours: Throwback Shows All Summer Long

Am I getting older or are the bands of playlists past just touring more often? It’s probably some combination of both – ah, the passing of time. No complaints though, because it means there are more chances to catch your faves of yesteryear throughout the summer.

SATURDAY, JUNE 15

Old School Hip-Hop Showdown
Eric B. & Rakim, Whodini, MC Lyte, Kool Moe Dee, DJ Kool and Dana Dane will all take the stage at Constitution Hall to make all your 90s hip-hop dreams come true in one convenient place. Tickets start at $44. DAR Constitution Hall: 1776 D St. NW, DC; www.dar.org

TUESDAY, JUNE 25

New Kids on the Block Mixtape Tour with Salt-N-Pepa and Naughty by Nature
Apparently, New Kids on the Block had so much fun celebrating the 30th anniversary of their album Hangin’ Tough that they decided to embark on an extensive tour. They’ll come to Capital One with all their hits and lots of friends on this tour – R&B icons Salt-N-Pepa, rappers Naughty by Nature and more guests will join the group. Tickets start at $39.95. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.viewlift.com

Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, Melissa Etheridge and Liz Phair
The power couple of Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo bring their hits to Wolf Trap alongside two of the best modern singer-songwriters: Melissa Etheridge and Liz Phair. This lineup pretty much consists of musicians you probably rolled your eyes at as a kid but now totally love. Tickets start at $35. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

FRIDAY, JULY 12

Backstreet Boys
Backstreet’s back! Your favorite boyband is sweeping the nation once again with their DNA World Tour. Grab your tickets and be transported back to a simpler time, when your biggest problem in life was you and your BFF having a crush on the same band member. Tickets start at $189. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.viewlift.com

SUNDAY, JULY 14

NAS + NSO Illmatic 25th Anniversary
Instead of merely touring around his iconic album Illmatic, NAS is incorporating a whole new spin on the record thanks to the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). This performance featuring conductor Steven Reineke gives a whole new spin on what’s still considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Tickets start at $30. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

WEDNESDAY, JULY 17

Jennifer Lopez
I would like to cordially invite you to a birthday celebration in honor of Jenny from the Block taking place this summer at an arena near you. While I obviously had no hand in planning this soiree, I still feel confident in saying I am sure it will be a ball. Tickets start at $59.95. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.viewlift.com

THURSDAY, JULY 18

Sheryl Crow
Soak up the sun with one of the most iconic pop country artists of all time at Wolf Trap. Don’t miss the Grammy winner as she tours for the release of her final album to be released later this year. Tickets start at $45. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

FRIDAY, JULY 19

Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World
This lineup makes me want to grow out my bangs and sweep them to the side, reactivate my MySpace account, and tell my parents they don’t understand me. In all seriousness, both of these bands’ catalogs have stood the test of time, especially in the era of Midwestern emo revival. And if hearing “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World doesn’t immediately hype you up, you’re a liar, so come hear it live. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

SATURDAY, JULY 20

Dave Matthews Band
I’m willing to bet you’ll be able to find everyone in the DMV who went to UVA at this show clad in basketball jerseys. Oh, and maybe some fans of the South African-born, Charlottesville-bred crooner will be there, too. Tickets start at $49.50. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

SATURDAY, JULY 27

311 and Dirty Heads
Stoners and chill people of the world, rejoice! Good vibes abound at Merriweather as 311 and Dirty Heads take the stage for a relaxing evening. Tickets start at $46. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Hootie and the Blowfish and Barenaked Ladies
Dubbed the Group Therapy Tour, this collaboration between two classic 90s bands is the perfect place to hang out on the lawn and jam to songs that made up your younger years, which seems like its own special form of group therapy in a way. Tickets start at $35. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

TUESDAY, JULY 30

Nelly, TLC and Flo Rida
Upon reading this lineup, I was instantly transported back to teacher-supervised school dances, as I’m pretty sure some combination of all three artists soundtracked every sweaty, awkward preteen event throughout America. You should attend this concert solely to celebrate that the days of braces and leaving room for Jesus between you and your dance partner are long gone. Tickets start at $25. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

WEDNESDAY, JULY 31

KoRn and Alice in Chains
If you feel like a freak on a leash (I still don’t know what that song is about and at this point I am afraid to ask), this is the show for you. A coheadlining show for twice the angsty rock. It’s not a phase, Mom! Tickets start at $36. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9

Train and Goo Goo Dolls
While Train’s more recent releases have been interesting to say the least, older songs like “Meet Virginia” and “Drops of Jupiter” still hold up as eternal bops. Paired with the similarly sensitive Goo Goo Dolls, get ready to feel all the throwback feels. Tickets start at $29.50. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 17

Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and AFI
Two of the most curmudgeonly names in music team up for a summer tour that’s sure to be chock full of weird asides from Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and sibling hatred – or maybe just general hatred – from the more, um, outspoken of the Gallagher brothers. Oh, and AFI will be there to play that one song from Guitar Hero. Tickets start at $35. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22

Beck
On the heels of his 14th album (yeah, you read that right), Beck will bring two turntables and a microphone to Merriweather to help you round out your summer concert season. He’s joined by the absolutely stacked lineup of Cage the Elephant, Sunflower Bean, and the equally prolific and nostalgic Spoon (their debut album Telefono is 23 years old this year, you guys). Tickets start at $29.50. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pwky. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

UB40 and Shaggy
Legendary reggae group UB40 will be joined onstage by Shaggy for a lively evening of music from two of the genre’s best-known voices. Tickets start at $40. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1551 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org

Knotfest (Slipknot)
If you’ve been itching to break out your Hot Topic T-shirts, chain wallet and guyliner, this is the festival for you. This angst-filled festival features Slipknot, Volbeat, Gojira and Behemoth. Get ready to mosh! Tickets start at $35.50. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; www.livenation.com/venues/14407/jiffy-lube-live

Photo: Ernie Tacsik // Haute Phototure

DC Festival Guide 2019

As the clouds dissipate from the sky and make way for the sun to illuminate the world, tents and stages begin to roll out for perhaps the most vibrant time of the year: festival season. From big to small, festivals represent inviting areas for people to mingle in areas meant to incite enthusiasm and joy. Luckily for us, residents of the DMV live in one of the most fertile grounds for these events in the country, whether you’re looking to chow down on fare at the Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle or want to dance to pure exhaustion at Funk Parade and DC101’s Kerfuffle. Over the next few pages, we’ve collected an extensive list of some of the very best the region has to offer with details on what to expect from each, plus interviews with local festival makers and some of our top picks.


THURSDAY, MAY 2 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Pow! Wow! DC
Since 2016, artists from the DC region and around the globe – a different mix each year, lead by DC’s very own Kelly Towles – have come to NoMa for 10 days in May to create larger-than-life murals that enliven buildings and streetscapes. The 10-day celebration of art features a kickoff event at Wunder Garten, mural walking tours and more. Various dates, times and locations; www.nomabid.org/pow-wow-dc

FRIDAY, MAY 3 – SUNDAY, MAY 5

M3 Rock Festival
Now in its 11th year, M3 Rock Festival has grown from up-and-comer to a definitive way to party like it’s 1989. Start with the annual Kix-Off Party on Friday, and head into the festival on Saturday and Sunday. M3 features enough hard rock and hair metal bands to make your head spin. Lineup includes Dokken, Whitesnake, Autograph and Vince Neil. Various times. Tickets are $80-$255. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Sleepy Creek Spring Dig
Returning for its sixth year, this annual campout offers a stellar line up of local roots music and national superstars. Other attractions include playgrounds, parades, face painting, food, arts and crafts, late night bonfires and open jam circles. Sleepy Creek events remain dedicated to providing fun for all ages and creating memories that last a lifetime. Early arrival party with Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers starts at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday 12:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Sunday open mic party. Exit by 5 p.m. Tickets are $60-$100. Free admission for kids 15 and under. Sleepy Creek on the Potomac: Joshua Lane in Berkeley Springs, WV; www.sleepycreekpresents.com

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival
Join DC’s signature folk festival in its 10th year with headliners Dustbowl Revival, The Ballroom Thieves and Hackensaw Boys, along with a host of other featured artists. Celebrate spring at this Best of DC 2018 award-winning festival with amazing local talent, tremendous local merchants and the natural beauty of the nation’s capital. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$100. Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival: 575 Oklahoma Ave. NE, DC; www.kingmanislandbluegrass.info

SATURDAY, MAY 4 – SUNDAY, MAY 5

National Wine & Food Festival
A world class, waterfront culinary event! Join in the excitement of the 11th annual Wine and Food Festival at National Harbor; bringing together world-renowned chefs, artisanal craftsmen and culinary pioneers with thousands of Metro DC’s foodies. 12-6 p.m. Tickets begin at $40. National Harbor Waterfront: 804 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; www.wineandfoodnh.com

SUNDAY, MAY 5

Fiesta Asia Silver Spring
Fiesta Asia Silver Spring brings together diverse Asian cultures on one street, where participants can experience the richness of the arts and tradition the region has to offer. Happenings include live performances, open market exhibitors, interactive displays, dance, music and much more. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend. Fiesta Asia Silver Spring: 916 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.fiestaasia.org

FRIDAY, MAY 10 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Preakness Balloon Festival
The Howard County Fairgrounds will brighten the skies this year as the centerpiece venue for the long-running balloon festival. Spectators will enjoy the wonder of hot air balloons, specialty crafts, entertainment and good food during this family-friendly festival. Friday  4-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday Mother’s Day Morning Balloon Flight 6:15-7:45 a.m. Balloon ride tickets are $250. Howard County Fairgrounds: 2210 Fairgrounds Rd. West Friendship, MD; www.preaknessballoonfestival.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Maryland Craft Beer Festival
Celebrate your favorite Maryland breweries at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival. More than 40 local breweries will present nearly 200 unique, finely crafted ales and lagers. There will be live music, delicious food and fun craft vendors. 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $40, with $15 designated driver tickets available. Carroll Creek Linear Park: 44 South Market St. Frederick, MD; www.mdcraftbeerfestival.com

Of Ale and History Beer Fest
Find more than 50 beers available for tasting including European imports, American craft brews, hard ciders and specialty beers at the longest running beer festival in Virginia. Enjoy live music all day from Mojo Mothership and The Robbie Limon Band. Admission includes a souvenir glass, eight tastings and access to all vendors. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. At the gate, tasting tickets will be $30. Designated drivers or guests under 21 may purchase admission tickets for $10, including two non-alcoholic beverages. Belle Grove Plantation: 336 Belle Grove Rd. Middletown, VA; www.bellegrove.org

SATURDAY, MAY 11 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Virginia Renaissance Faire
Find music and dancing, shops filled with the finest crafts, and a variety of foods and beverages at the Virginia Renaissance Faire. Join the militia in pike drills or present a case in the Court of Common Pleas. Entertainment and vendors to be announced. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $12. Free admission for kids 6 and under. Lake Anna Winery: 5621 Courthouse Rd. Spotsylvania, VA; www.varf.org

THURSDAY, MAY 16 – SATURDAY, MAY 18

Domefest
Head to the lineup page to view all of the bands playing at Domefest 2019 alongside Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Aqueous, Magic Beans, Litz, Mungion, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, The Fritz and more. Stay tuned to social media for fun updates including themes, late night acts and workshop information. Gates open Thursday at 1 p.m. and close Sunday 2 p.m. Tickets are $135. Marvin’s Mountaintop: Masontown, WV; www.domefestival.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
A must-attend for craft beer aficionados and foodies alike, SAVOR offers a memorable craft beer and food experience to a limited number of guests in a truly unique atmosphere. At SAVOR, 90 small and independent craft breweries from around the country showcase 181 beers, each one thoughtfully paired with a small plate that will dazzle your palate. 7:30-11 p.m. Tickets $135. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.savorcraftbeer.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
Festival attendees will enjoy viewing inspiring and innovative art in a wide variety of media and styles, interacting directly with artists from around the country, and exploring their own creativity in the Family Art Park, featuring free face painting and balloon animals. Expect to get a festival guide with more than $100 worth of coupons. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restonarts.org/fineartsfestival

Riverrock
From music to mud pits, bikes to beer, SUPs to pups, and climbing to kayaks – it’s uniquely Richmond! Rock the day and night away, watch professional athletes thrill the crowd, and maybe even get a little dirty yourself.  Friday 5-9:30 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Historic Tredegar: 500 Tredegar St. Richmond, VA; www.riverrockva.com

Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the mansion and cellars, more than 20 Virginia wineries, and live music overlooking views of the estate and the Potomac River. 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $42-$48. Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mt. Vernon, VA; www.mountvernon.org

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Adventure Brewing Company 5th Anniversary Festival
This brewery birthday party features live music and local vendors. Event is pet-friendly. Check the website for daily updates on festival details. 12-10 p.m. Free to attend. Adventure Brewing Company: 33 Perchwood Dr. Fredericksburg, VA; www.adventurebrewing.com

Fiesta Asia Street Fair
The 13th annual National Asian Heritage Festival’s signature event, the Fiesta Asia Street Fair, features more than 1,000 performers on five stages representing more than 20 cultures. Enjoy outdoor craft exhibits, live performances, food and open market vendors, interactive displays, martial arts demonstrations, talent shows, cooking demos and many more. 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free to attend. Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets, NW, DC; www.fiestaasia.org

InfieldFest
InfieldFest is a full-day music festival that takes place amid one of the most anticipated and attended annual sporting events, the Preakness Stakes. The 2019 lineup features Norwegian DJ Kygo, Maryland’s own Logic, Diplo, Juice WRLD, Fisher and Frank Walker. 8 p.m. Tickets are $79-$199. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.infieldfest.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Pearl Street Preakness Party
Join Pearl Street for an official Preakness party, infield style. Party to live music from Lovely Rita, enter our hat contest, then catch the race on the big screen. The bars will be open and they’ll have plenty of Stella Artois and Black Eyed Susans. Must be 21 and over to consume alcohol. 4-7 p.m. Free to attend. Pearl Street in SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com

Sour Mania! Sour Beer Festival
Pucker up and join the 2nd Annual Sour Beer Festival. Sample special and limited edition sour ales from around the region and across the country at this indoor event. Enjoy live music and fantastic food while sipping some truly tart ales. Starts at 11 a.m. Admission is free, samplers and snacks available to purchase. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

Virginia Wine & Craft Festival
Grab a drink and hit the caves. Relax and enjoy shopping for handmade crafts from over 100 vendors, artists and crafters from all over the East Coast, listen to live music, play games and try wine from 20 different wineries. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend, $25-$30 for wine tasting. Historic Downtown Front Royal: 106 Chester St. Front Royal, VA;www.wineandcraftfestival.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Wine in the Woods
The 27th Annual Wine in the Woods is the largest wine festival in Maryland and continues to rank among the best festivals in Howard County. Sample a variety of Maryland’s finest wineries from a souvenir glass, purchase food from an abundance of high quality restaurants and caterers, attend wine education seminars, purchase art and specialty crafts, and revel in continuous live entertainment from the Unified Jazz Ensemble, Bad Influence and I&I Riddim. Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25-$44. Symphony Woods Park: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.wineinthewoods.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Porchfest DC – Southeast Edition
Porchfest is a festival of mini-concerts held on front porches. The Southeast Porchfest embodies the life and soul of DC, spotlighting the region’s top emerging talent and is an outing for the entire family! With well-manicured lawns, tree-lined streets and super friendly residents, Hillcrest is the perfect choice for the 2019 Southeast Porchfest. This year’s line-up includes spoken word performances and bands representing all music genres, including: jazz, folk, rock, hip-hop and go-go. There will also be food trucks, vendors and more! Please bring a lawn chair, walking shoes and cash to tip the performers. For updates, follow @porchfestdc on Instagram. The map of the final performance route will be published the second week of May. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend. The Hillcrest community in SE DC; www.porchfestdc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

DC Polo Society
Are you on the list?
www.dcpolo.com

THURSDAY, MAY 23 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

DelFest
With acts like The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin McCourys, this family-friendly music festival is pure bluegrass bliss. You’ll find incredible music all day long on multiple stage, intimate artist playshops, late night shows, a fun-filled kidzone, a quality art and craft faire, delicious food and drinks, plentiful camping space and RV hookups, and much more. Various times and performances each day. Various ticket packages available. Allegany County Fairgrounds: 11400 Moss Ave. Cumberland, MD; www.delfest.com

FRIDAY, MAY 24 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

SummerFest at Gaylord National
The Capital Region’s premier waterfront resort, Gaylord National, comes alive with Summer FUN!  Overnight guests can enjoy resort entertainment and activities as part of their annual SummerFest. From outdoor events and great music to campfire stories, scavenger hunts, seasonal cocktails and more, there is something for everyone. Whether you are visiting the DC area to sightsee, a family looking for a getaway or a great night out with friends, you will find everything you need to make your summer getaway memorable. Various times. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.marriott.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Caribbean Wine, Music and Food Festival
Listen to steel drums and reggae beats while enjoying arts and crafts, great food and the island vibes of this wine festival. Open your palate to unique Linganore wines and take home a souvenir wine glass. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. Linganore Wine Cellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganore-wine.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 29 – SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Focus on the Story Festival
Focus on the Story is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in DC, founded on the driving principle that photography can spark meaningful conversations at the intersection of policy, civic engagement and visual storytelling. Join in the nation’s capital as they celebrate the art of photography and the stories behind the images with talks, workshops, portfolio reviews, exhibits, contests and photo walks about everything from Brutalist architecture to the White House. Various times and locations. Registration is $225-$245. Student rates available. www.focusonthestory.org

THURSDAY, MAY 30 – SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Mountain Music Festival
Mountain Music Festival is an annual celebration of the best outdoor adventures West Virginia has to offer, with live music to match. Situated on a 1,500-acre outdoor adventure resort in the New River Gorge, Mountain Music Festival brings the spirit of Appalachia to life through its two greatest exports: music and wilderness. This year, Mountain Music Fest welcomes Tyler Childers, The Floozies, Big Something and many more to the stage atop Wonderland Mountain. Tickets are $79-$329. ACE Adventure Resort: 1 Concho Rd. Minden, WV; www.mountainmusicfestwv.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 1

Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival
Great Grapes! has grown to be Baltimore’s premier casual Maryland wine festival with live music, fun festival eats, arts and crafts, and a free kids’ area. Grab a souvenir glass and stroll from tent to tent, sipping and savoring selections from more than 150 different international and local wines, beers and spirits at Oregon Ridge Park. 1-8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$75. Oregon Ridge Park: 13401 Beaver Dam Rd. Cockeysville, MD;www.uncorkthefun.com

Takoma Trukgarten
Don’t miss Takoma Trukgarten featuring local beer, food trucks and live music. This one-day beer festival features local breweries pouring over 20 different craft beers plus cider and a new wine tent. There will be local restaurants and food trucks plus live music all day! 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $25-$45. City Parking Lot: 201 Ethan Allen Ave. Takoma Park, MD; www.mainstreettakoma.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 1 – SUNDAY, JUNE 2

FSGW Washington Folk Festival
The 39th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in the DC area. All musicians, storytellers, dancer and craftspeople live in the greater DMV metropolitan area and volunteer their talents to put on a first-class festival of national renown. 12-7 p.m. both days. Free to attend. Glen Echo Park: 7300 MacArthur Blvd. Glen Echo, MD; www.fsgw.org

Vintage Virginia
Since 1982, Vintage Virginia has offered an opportunity to taste from nearly half of Virginia’s homegrown wineries, from the most renowned to the new and exciting. Saturday 12-6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets cost $40-$65. Bull Run Special Events Center: 7700 Bull Run Dr. Centreville, VA; www.vintagevirginia.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 2

Taste of Peru DC
Taste of Peru celebrates the cultural influences and the creativity of Peruvian chefs all over the United States. The event promotes the unique culinary perspectives of local and international chefs. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $15-$40. University of the District of Columbia: 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.tasteofperudc.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Capital Jazz Fest
Come see Gladys Knight, Babyface, Gregory Porter, India.Arie, Marsha Ambrosius and more jazz and soul musicians at Merriweather Post Pavilion’s Capital Jazz Fest. Enjoy fine arts and crafts at the festival marketplace and culinary treats from the food court, plus artist workshops, plus meet and greets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $59.50-$129.50. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 16

DC JazzFest
The DC JazzFest invites you to explore the exceptional array of renowned masters and emerging artists from across the jazz spectrum and beyond. Find your favorite artists and various performances located throughout the District, including The Wharf and even in your own neighborhood through the Jazz in the ’Hoods concert series. Various showtimes, ticket prices and venues. Various locations in DC; www.dcjazzfest.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 8

Breaux Vineyards Cajun Festival
Come join your Cajun cousins at Breaux Vineyards the 22nd Annual Cajun Festival.  Enjoy wine tastings, craft vendors, Cajun fare for sale, and more at this annual celebration. Starting off the day, the festival will feature live music with the Voodoo Blues followed by The Dixie Power Trio for the rest of the afternoon. Kid-friendly activities will be available. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. Breaux Vineyards: 36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln. Purcellville, VA; www.breauxvineyards.com

Summerfest DC
Get your own tasting glass and enjoy more than 80 carefully selected craft beers in a single afternoon. Enjoy live music, unlimited wine and cider tastings and amazing food selections. Then get active with outdoor games, arts and activities. This is a 21 and over only event. Various times and ticket prices. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.summerfestdc.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Capital Pride Festival
Join the LGBTQ+ community, on America’s Mainstreet for the 2019 Capital Pride Festival presented by Live! Casino & Hotel. Enjoy a full day of entertainment, music, food, drink, education and celebration. The Pride Festival includes three stages of national and local talent, and will host 300 exhibitors including local community groups and businesses, food vendors, and organizations looking to promote their products and services to our community. 12-10 p.m. Free to attend, VIP packages are available for purchase. Pennsylvania Avenue & 3rd Street in NW, DC; www.capitalpride.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 15

5th Annual Baltimore Wine Fest
Join b Scene Events for the 5th Annual Baltimore Wine Fest at the picturesque Canton Waterfront Park. Experience 160+ wines from around the world, gourmet eats provided by local eateries, live music, chef cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, craft beers and spirits, unique shopping and a family zone. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$89. Canton Waterfront Park: 3001 Boston St. Baltimore, MD; www.baltimorewinefest.com

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ
Enjoy beer, bourbon, music, cigars and barbecue. Admission buys you a souvenir glass, so you can enjoy an all-you-care-to-taste sampling of the 60 beers and 40 bourbons on tap. The amazing barbecue selection includes the Shrine of Swine, featuring pulled pork right from the source. There’s also live rock and blues music all day. Additionally, the event comes to Leesburg in October. Tickets are $75-$119. 12-6 p.m. on Saturday. The Plateau at National Harbor: 165 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.beerandbourbon.com

FreeState Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival
Find the area’s best seafood, Maryland craft brewers, Linganore wines, awesome live music, and a special appearance by Justin Schlegel of Justin, Scott and Spiegel on 98 Rock at the Freestate Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival. Purchase a VIP ticket and receive a larger souvenir glass and access to an exclusive private area that includes indoor bathrooms. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-$50. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

Silver Spring Blues Festival
Enjoy this all-day blues block party with two stages, a fountain to cool off in and plenty of places to eat and shop at the music-filled celebration in downtown Silver Spring. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free to attend. 921 Wayne Ave. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringbluesfest.yolasite.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

By the People
By the People is a new, inclusive, international arts and innovation festival that facilitates connection and celebrates creativity. Enjoy fun and free arts installations, performances, talks and programs about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Smithsonian will have extended evening hours on June 23, and augmented reality art at each of the festival sites. Various times. Free to attend. Various locations in DC; www.halcyonhouse.org/by-the-people

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the nation’s documentary film festival known for showcasing the best in documentary filmmaking from the US and around the world. AFI DOCS is also the only film festival in the United States that offers the unique opportunity to connect film audiences with national opinion leaders, filmmakers and intriguing film subjects. With conversations and experiences you won’t experience at any other film festival, AFI DOCS harnesses the power of this important art form and its potential to inspire change. Screenings during this annual five-day event take place in landmark venues in DC and the world-class AFI Silver Theatre, the independent film hub of the metropolitan region. Tickets are $50-$275. Various locations and times; www.afi.com/afidocs

THURSDAY, JUNE 20 – MONDAY, JUNE 24

Capital Congress
Capital Congress is the largest Salsa Festival in the DC area. Since 2005, thousands have come to DC to dance Salsa and other Latin styles in this family-friendly environment. Instructors from around the world teach daily dance workshops to all levels. All ages welcome. Various times. Tickets $110-$350. The Hilton Mark Center: 5000 Seminary Rd. Alexandria, VA; www.capitalcongress.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

Firefly Music Festival
Your favorite summer weekend is just around the corner. Three days, several stages and countless bands. Artists include Panic! At The Disco, Tyler, The Creator, Courtney Barnett, Travis Scott, Passion Pit, Post Malone and many more. Various show times and ticket prices ranging from single-day camping passes to weekend passes. The Woodlands in Dover, DE; www.fireflyfestival.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 22 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

27th Annual Giant National Capital BBQ Battle
Kick off summer at America’s barbecue party, the 27th annual Giant Barbecue Battle. Pennsylvania Avenue will be smokin’ with rock, reggae, jazz and blues from 30 bands on three stages. Cookbook authors and celebrity chefs like Myron Mixon, Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone of Destination America’s popular “BBQ Pitmasters” will entertain and educate with cooking demonstrations on the popular Giant Demonstration Stage. Enjoy free barbecue and grilled food samples in the Taste of Giant sampling pavilion while witnessing America’s best eaters onstage at Nathan’s famous hot dog-eating contest. Other activities include Anheuser-Busch beer gardens, and Giant Corks to Caps Microbrew and Wine Tasting tent. This year’s Capital BBQ Battle will raise funds for USO of Metropolitan Washington with the Capital Area Food Bank. Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets are $12-$155. Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets in NW, DC; www.bbqindc.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 29 – SUNDAY, JUNE 30

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
This festival honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. This year’s festival will focus on the social power of music. Experience living traditions from around the world, as the festival works with communities to strengthen and preserve their cultures and share them with you on the National Mall. Festival hours and events TBD. Free to attend. The National Mall: www.festival.si.edu

TUESDAY, JULY 9 – SUNDAY, JULY 28

Capital Fringe Festival
Capital Fringe will showcase seven venues with 13 stages, all within walking distance of each other in Southwest DC, presenting more than 94 highly-ambitious productions with 60 percent of the participating artists residing in the DC Metro area. With countless performing groups, there’s bound to be something for everybody from theatre to dance, including risky art and nontraditional acts. Tickets are $72-$500 and go on sale June 17. The Logan Fringe Arts Space: 1358 Florida Ave. NE, DC; www.capitalfringe.org

SUNDAY, JULY 14

Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
Check out the Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Fair this summer, featuring arts and crafts, food and beverage vendors, a cultural dance show with performances from different countries around the world and many fun family activities. 2-8 p.m. Free to attend. Silver Spring Veterans Plaza: 1 Veterans Pl. Silver Spring, MD; www.chiceventsdc.com

FRIDAY, JULY 19 – SUNDAY, JULY 21

ARTSCAPE 2019
Check out fashion designers, outdoor sculpture, photography and art cars at America’s largest free arts festival. Experience the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and other incredible live music on outdoor stages. Expect to see a delicious international menu of food and beverages available throughout the festival. Times TBD. Free to attend. Various locations in Baltimore, MD; www.artscape.org

SATURDAY, JULY 20 – SUNDAY, JULY 21

Summer Reggae Wine Festival
Shop the open-air market with hand-crafted and imported goods from around the world. Enjoy a day sampling delicious wines and listening to live bands. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

 WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 – SUNDAY, JULY 28

FloydFest
FloydFest 19: Voyage Home is five days of music, magic and mountains in the picturesque paradise at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, VA. The festival features outdoor adventure, vibrant and varied vendors, quality brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities and a lineup featuring more than 100 artists on eight stages. Various times for each day. Single, multi and camping passes available for various prices. 894 Rock Castle Gorge Rd. Floyd, VA; www.floydfest.com

 SATURDAY, JULY 27

Trifecta Food Truck Festival
More than 35 of Maryland’s best food trucks will transform the racetrack into a festive playground with live bands, local craft beer tents, mechanical bull rides, a dunk tank, a pie-eating contest, a kids’ play land, moon bounces, a local artist village and more. 12-11 p.m. Tickets $15. Maryland State Fairgrounds: 2200 York Rd. Lutherville-Timonium, MD;
www.mt.cm/trifecta-food-truck-festival

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

Moonrise Festival
Since its debut in 2014, Moonrise Festival has grown into one of the most anticipated East Coast festivals of the summer, touching all corners of the dance floor with styles spanning from heavy-hitting bass to hip hop, live electronic acts to house music, and everything in between. The event also features art installations, a sprawling vendor village, amazing food and beverages, stylish VIP lounges and more. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. both days. Tickets are $149.50-$239.50. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.moonrisefestival.com

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

Taste of Linganore
Presented by Linganore Winecellars & Red Shedman Farm Brewery, this event will showcase some of the area’s favorite restaurateurs and caterers, featuring samplings of small plates made with Linganore Wines. Stroll the grounds to shop unique local vendors while enjoying this foodie paradise, paired with great wines and craft beers.  11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 17

Around the World Cultural Food Festival
Around the World Cultural Food Festival brings together diverse, authentic, living traditions from different countries around the world. Their mission is to preserve and strengthen the culture of each country by giving all participants a chance to learn from one another and understand their cultural differences. Expect to see one restaurant for each country. Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free to attend; VIP tickets are available for $25-$35. Freedom Plaza: 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.aroundtheworldfestival.com

Hot August Festival
The exciting music lineup this year includes Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Turkuaz, Billy Strings, Dirty Grass Players and more. Gates open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $58-$199. Oregon Ridge Park: 13401 Beaver Dam Rd. Cockeysville, MD; www.hotaugustfestival.com\

Kegs and Corks Festival
Head to the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds for the 8th Annual Kegs and Corks Festival, a beer and wine festival featuring 16 craft breweries and 16 Maryland wineries along with great music, good food and a variety of arts and crafts vendors. Unlimited samplings, live music and souvenir glass included. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$120. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds: 1450 Generals Hwy. Crownsville, MD; www.kegsandcorksfest.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22- SUNDAY, AUGUST 25

LOCKN’ Festival
Jam band fans: it may not get better than this. Two nights and four sets of Dead & Company, and three nights of awesome music from Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Revivalists, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gary Clark Jr. and so much more. The stellar lineup is only matched by the beautiful setting in the mountains of Virginia. Various times. Tickets are $229-$289. Infinity Downs Farm: 1510 Diggs Mountain Rd. Arrington, VA;www.locknfestival.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival
This annual festival is an all-you-can-taste extravaganza complete with over 30,000 crabs, lots of beer, arts and crafts, live music, family fun and more. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for session one, 5-9 p.m. for session two. Tickets are $40-$125. The Waterfront at SouthPointe National Harbor: 804 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; www.mdcrabfest.com

Cigar, Bourbon and Beer Festival
Join for an amazing day of cigars, bourbon and craft beer. Hogshead Cigar Lounge will be showcasing all kinds of different cigars from their lounge. Explore a showcase of bourbons from all across the country and some from right there in Virginia. Check out some of their fine spirits they offer like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey and Old Forester, plus craft beers from local Fredericksburg breweries sampling some of their award-winning beers. 4-9 p.m. Tickets are $10-$50. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.cigarbourbonbeer.com

World Heritage Festival & Festival of Kites
Taste delicious ethnic food, get refreshed with a scoop of ice cream or shaved ice or even a fresh smoothie while enjoying a cultural show on the main stage. You will have an array of vendors to choose from with more than 60 artists displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts and every creative item in between. Other vendors include area nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and local businesses. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend. Ida Lee Park Recreation Center: 60 Ida Lee Dr. Leesburg, VA; www.chiceventsdc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Virginia Scottish Games
You can wear a kilt and bring your dog! The Scottish Games are one of the few places inside the Commonwealth where you can experience authentic Scottish culture and traditions, including spectacular highland dancers, bagpipes, adorable Scottish dogs, cool British cars and sheep herding. Gates open at 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20-$30. Great Meadow: 5089 Old Tavern Rd. The Plains, VA; www.vascottishgames.org

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

6th Annual Baltimore Seafood Fest
Baltimore loves its seafood, but Charm City also loves all the wonderful local restaurants that truly make Baltimore one of the best places for foodies to visit. Baltimoreans are so proud of their crab cakes, crab soup, shrimp salad, local oysters and of course, Maryland blue crabs. It seems fitting to host a waterfront festival showcasing some of Baltimore’s favorite restaurants serving their signature seafood dishes. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$95. Canton Waterfront Park: 3001 Boston St. Baltimore, MD; www.baltimoreseafoodfest.com

DC Wine Fest
Specially curated wineries serve patrons tastings over a multi-session, all-day, all-night vino experience. You’ll have the chance to sample premium wine to your heart’s content, while live entertainment keep the party lively during this one of a kind experience. 12-10 p.m. Tickets are $35-$60. National Union Building: 918 F St. NW, DC; www.dcwinefest.com

Virginia Cider Festival
At the Virginia Cider Festival, you and your friends will be surrounded by hard ciders from all across the country. The event will also feature even more Virginia Cider this year from cideries like Cobbler Mountain, Potter’s, Winchester CiderWorks and Bold Rock. There will be a list of more than 25 Cider producers who will be pouring over 50 ciders. Check out the local live music on the Safford of Fredericksburg stage for your listening pleasure. Be sure to check the weather for what to wear. The event will take place rain or shine. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $10-$30. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.vaciderfest.com

SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER 21

Arts & Ales: Downtown Hyattsville Arts Festival
Enjoy more than 100 exhibiting artists and artisans, Maryland breweries, food trucks and vendors and live entertainment block by block in Downtown Hyattsville. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend. Farragut Street, Gallatin Street and Church Alley in Hyattsville, MD; www.hyattsvilleartsfestival.com

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Devils Backbone Hoopla Festival
Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Hoopla Festival features live music, award-winning beer, camping and fun for the whole family. The weekend includes pop-up beer tastings, outdoor adventures, property tours, crafts, great eats and tons of incredible live music. Come check out the award-winning beer and bands, including Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Kat Wright and the Jon Stickley Trio. Tickets $50-$340. Basecamp Brewpub and Meadows: 200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, VA; www.dbbrewingcompany.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

Hops & Harvest Festival
A beer festival on the Columbia, MD lakefront with unlimited tastings of more than 50 beers from Maryland brewers. The festival also features cideries, artisans and live music. Tickets are $15-$40. Columbia Lakefront: 10275 Wincopin Cir. Columbia, MD; www.hopsandhavest.com

CONCERT SERIES

WEDNESDAY

Wednesdays at the Wharf Concert Series
June 5 – August 21
Head to The Wharf each Wednesday evening this summer to listen to live music on Transit Pier. Don’t miss DC favorites such as Collective Dellusion, Jarreau Williams Xperience, Brent & Co. and more playing on the floating stage. From indie rock to Latin fusion, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy ice cold beers and food from Cantina Bambina and take a mid-week break. 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. The Wharf: 700 Water St. SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com

THURSDAYS

Bethesda Summer Concert Series
May 16- June 13
Bask in the sweet melodies and the summer air as you catch the music in Veterans Park. Featuring local favorites like Brent & Co., Moxie Blues Band, 19th St. Band and more. 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. Veterans Park: 7898 Woodmont Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.bethesda.org

THURSDAYS

Rosslyn Rocks
June 6 – 27
Grab your friends and head to Central Place Plaza on Thursdays in June to listen to live music. Each week will be a new cover band, featuring Party Like It’s, White Ford Bronco, The Jarreau Williams Xperience and Driven to Clarity. Enjoy the concerts while sipping on a glass of wine or having a beer in downtown Rosslyn’s outdoor space. Must be 21+ (no outside alcohol). 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. Central Place Plaza: 1800 N Lynn St. Arlington, VA; www.rosslynva.org

FRIDAYS

Budweiser Terrace Pregame Concerts at Nationals Park
Select Fridays May to September
Every Friday home game, the best place to pregame is at the Budweiser Terrace inside the ballpark. Enjoy cold Bud and Bud Light and great tunes from local bands like Lovely Rita, Uncle Jesse  and Hand Painted Swinger. Concerts run from 5-6:50 p.m. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Nationals Park Bud Light Terrace: 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.nationals.com

Farragut Fridays
May 31 – September 27
Farragut Fridays are a full day of getting outside in the Golden Triangle. Starting at 9 a.m., drop in for an outdoor “office” that includes free Wi-Fi, tables and chairs, and games to get your creative juices flowing. At noon, the picnic in the park begins. Grab a bite to eat, play lawn games (cornhole, foosball and table tennis), hang out with puppies and listen to live music. Then, head back after work for the Golden Cinema movie series. Pre-show fun starts at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Farragut Park: Connecticut Avenue and K Street in NW, DC; www.goldentriangledc.com

Fridays at Fort Totten
June 7 – Aug 23
The Fridays at Fort Totten Summer Concert Series is every Friday through August 23. Come out and enjoy delicious bites from a featured food truck each week, and amazing live music from Of Tomorrow, Sol Roots, Cecily, Oh He Dead and so many more. There’s a new band and tasty food truck each Friday. We hope to see you there. In partnership with The Modern at Art Place. 6-8 p.m. The Modern: Corner of South Dakota Avenue and Galloway Street, NE, DC; www.fridaysforttotten.com

Friday Night Concerts in Yards Park
June 7 – August 30
Spend your Friday night relaxing in the Capitol Riverfront, voted one of DC’s best places for live music!  Spread a blanket, grab a cold one and get down with some great local music. Enjoy bands like the Shane Gamble Band, 7 Deadlies, Brent & Co., Aztec Sun and more on the boardwalk stage. The featured artists are fun for the whole family, and ice cold Corona beers and wine will be available on-site at the outdoor tented bar. 7-9 p.m. Free to attend. Yards Park: 355 Water St. SE, DC; www.capitolriverfront.org

Herndon Friday Night Live!
May 3 – August 23
Enjoy another year of Herndon Rock’s cold beer, hot tunes and fantastic food during the summer. Featuring party favorites Garden State Radio, Here’s to the Night, The Stormin’ Norman Band and more, Herndon takes you through the summer with the best local and regional talent from the East Coast. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Free to attend. Town Green: 777 Lynn St. Herndon, VA; www.herndonrocks.com

Lubber Run Amphitheater Summer Concert Series
June 14 – August 11
This year’s 50th anniversary summer concert series features a diverse lineup of internationally renowned musicians and regional favorites. Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m., and Sunday shows at 11 a.m. Free to attend. Lubber Run Amphitheater: North Columbus and 2nd Streets, Arlington, VA; www.arlingtonarts.org

Rio Concert Series
May 25 – September 28
Every Saturday night, the party is lakeside at the Rio Center boardwalk. Just outside the Union Jack’s and near the paddle boards, enjoy live music from Handpainted Swinger, Soctt Kurt & Memphis 59, City Groove and more. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Rio Washingtonian Center: 209 Boardwalk Pl. Gaithersburg, MD; www.riowashingtonian.com

Rock the Block
May 24, June 28, July 26, August 23, September 27 and October 25
Rock the Block at Old Town Square in Fairfax is back this summer. Each fourth Friday of the month from June through October, walk, run, ride your bike or drive because you don’t want to miss out on The Rockets, JunkFood, The Reflex and more. Food and drink vendors will be onsite. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on, and kids can wear swimsuits and bring towels for the splash pad. No pets allowed except service animals. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Old Town Square: 10415 North St. Fairfax, VA; www.fairfaxva.gov/government/parks-recreation/rock-the-block

Tarara Winery Summer Concert Series
May 25 – October 5
Named the Best Music Festival by Northern Virginia Magazine, the Tarara Summer Concert Series celebrates 20 years in 2019 as one of the most eagerly anticipated outdoor events of the season in Loudoun. Dance under the stars on Saturday nights this summer to the sounds of your favorite cover bands, such as The Reflex, Gonzo’s Nose, The Legwarmers, Bruce in the USA, Crack the Sky, Three Sheets to the Wind and more. Tarara Winery: 13648 Tarara Ln. Leesburg, VA; www.tarara.com

MOVIE NIGHTS

TUESDAYS

Adams Morgan Movie Nights
May 21 – June 18
The Adams Morgan BID is excited to announce this year’s Adams Morgan Movie Nights lineup as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by collaborating with the National Air and Space Museum to bring you five great space-themed titles, including Armageddon and Spaceballs, and a few surprises along the way. Each movie starts at 8 p.m. Free to attend. Marie Reed Soccer Field: 18th and California Streets, NW, DC; www.admodc.org/movies

WEDNESDAYS

NoMa Summer Screen
June 5 – August 21
This season marks the 12 of NoMa’s Summer Screen series, one of the longest-running free public events in the neighborhood. This year features a fun lineup of sports-related films including The Karate Kid, Bend It Like Beckham, Remember the Titans and Bring It On. Each film begins at approximately 8:30 p.m. Free to attend. 1150 First St. NE, DC; www.nomabid.org

THURSDAYS

Canal Park Movies
June 13 – August 22
From classics to the latest Academy Award winners, the people spoke and the movies will be shown! Join the Riverfront community for free movies at Canal Park on Thursday evenings. Films this year include: Crazy Rich Asians, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Goonies and more. Movies begin at sundown. Free to attend. Canal Park: 200 M St. SE, DC; www.capitolriverfront.org

Tunes in the Triangle
May 30,  June 6, June 20, August 6, September 5
Stop by Milian Park on select Thursdays this summer with your friends, family and/or pets for free live concerts from great local bands. 499 Massachusetts Ave NW, DC; www.mvtcid.org

FRIDAYS

Burgeoning Crystal City Bid
Crystal City has been in the news a lot lately, and there’s definitely plenty to talk about. Just minutes from downtown DC, the greater Crystal City area (consisting of the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard-Arlington neighborhoods) is the largest walkable downtown in Virginia, with 12-million square feet of office, 15,000 residents, 5,900 hotel rooms, and almost 500 restaurants and retailers. In addition to experiential retail like Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Bowlero opening in the near future, Crystal City has more than 250 events each year. From weekly live music outside at the Crystal City Water Park to the Twilighter 5K, there’s always fun to be had in Crystal City. For more information on events and happenings, visit www.crystalcity.org.

Rosslyn Cinema with Pub in the Park
June 7 – July 12
Every Friday this summer in Gateway Park, bring a blanket or low chairs and a group of friends to enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite movies. Movies start at dusk, but the fun starts at 5 p.m. with games and the Pub in the Park. Movies this year include Spider Man: into the Spider-Verse, Crazy Rich Asians and more. This event is kid- and dog-friendly. 5 p.m. Free to attend. Gateway Park: 1300 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA; www.rosslynva.org

FRIDAYS

Union Market Drive-In
May 3 – October 4
The drive-in at Union Market is back for a new season! The first Friday of every month will feature classics like Con-Air and Jaws,  and recent films like Coco. There’s a film for everyone. The lot opens at 6 p.m., and films will start at 7:30 p.m. $15 parking fee; free walk-ups. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

Off the Beaten Path Events

No matter where your interests lie, you can bet there’s a festival catering to the more specific interests of DMV denizens. Our list below points you in the direction of the cool, the quirky and the oddly specific for prime opportunities to celebrate with fellow whatever-your-thing-is enthusiasts.

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Unicorn Festival at Hogback Mountain Pony Rides
This festival has been voted Most Loved Place to Go by Leesburg-Ashburn Hulafrog for 2018 and  2019. It includes Pony rides, unicorn photos by Chris Weber Studios, face painting with Painted Sunshine, vendors and so much more.11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets begin at $20. Hogback Mountain Pony Rides: 19732 Hogback Mountain Rd. Leesburg, VA; www.hogbackmountainponyrides.com

National Math Festival
Don’t miss the 2019 National Math Festival. This all-ages event brings today’s most fascinating mathematicians together for a variety of presentations, performances, short creative films, and hands-on puzzles, games, art-making, mathletic competitions and more. See how math connects to what you love.Film animation, pro football, magic, music, dating, dance, art, cryptography, planet earth….whatever your interest, they’ve got the math for that. Free to attend. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW, DC; www.msri.org

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Baltimore Hot Sauce Festival
Sample 30+ of the region’s tastiest hot sauces. This event also features spicy Maryland indie and alternative rock on stage, with performances by Outcalls, Thunder Club, Sgt Gusto and more. Don’t miss delectable food, themed drinks and saucy games. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$45, and there is a $5 surcharge at the door for guests under 21 years old. All guests will be carded upon entry, so don’t forget your IDs. Power Plant Live!: 34 Market Pl. Baltimore, MD; www.powerplantlive.com

Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival
The Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival is a family- and kid-friendly fun event, open to all. The festival will be held at the Rockville Town Square. In addition to providing a variety of name-sake bubble teas, the festival will have education and outreach opportunities that strengthen social connections in the community. The festival will display rich Asian culture through live performances, crafts, arts and delicious traditional cuisines. This year, six different bubble tea vendors will be coming from the DMV area including Bubble & Tea, Sharetea, Bobapop, Gong-Cha, Tea-Do and Momo’s Cafe. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free with registration, and tasting cards are available to purchase on-site for $5, cash only. Rockville Town Square: 30 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD; www.rockvillemd.gov

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Smile Herb Festival
Join Smile Herb Shop celebrating 45 years of herbs, gardens and herbalism education this May. Enjoy plants in our garden center, live music, food, garden tours, plant walks, lectures, natural product vendors and more. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free to attend. Smile Herb Shop: 4908 Berwyn Rd. College Park, MD; www.smileherbschool.com

Chesapeake Sea Glass Festival
With over 30 sea glass artisans from all over the area, this event is a fun-filled day of lectures and shard identifications. It will be a great way to see what people collect from each area and to have your shards identified and listen to lectures. Chesapeake College: 1000 College Cir. Wye Mills, MD; www.visitmaryland.org

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Maryland Psychic Fair
Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers and readers of all types, along with related arts and crafts vendors from Maryland and the surrounding areas, will come together for the Maryland Psychic Festival. For both those who are serious or for those who are just curious, this event can be anything from a life-changing experience to just a fun time. Three out of four tables offer some type of readings, one of the four tables offer related arts, crafts, books, oils, crystals, information and more. Snacks and soft drinks will be available to purchase. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets $5-$10 at the door, cash only. Bowie Elks Lodge No 2309: 1506 Defense Hwy. Gambrills, MD; www.fb.com/EventPsychics4u

THURSDAY, MAY 23 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Maryland Deathfest 2019
A celebration of the best of death metal in the region. Performances take place across all major Maryland venues like Rams Head Live! and Baltimore Soundstage. Don’t miss the pre-festival party on Wednesday at Ottobar, featuring artists like Church of Misery, Yellow Eyes, Cro-Mags and more. Tickets $23-$249. Various times and locations; www.deathfests.com

FRIDAY, MAY 24 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Museum of Science Fiction Gallery Opening at Escape Velocity 2019
The Museum of Science Fiction and NASA are partnering to bring Escape Velocity 2019 to Washington, DC. The event is a futuristic world’s fair to promote informal STEAM educational activities within the context of science fiction using the fun of comic cons and fascination of science and engineering festivals. Escape Velocity 2019 seeks to make a measurable positive impact to boost informal learning on the more conceptually challenging academic areas. Escape Velocity’s mission is to attract young people to science, technology, engineering, art, and math by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational, and entertaining science festival in the United States using science fiction as its primary engine. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free to attend. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.escapevelocity.events

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – MONDAY, MAY 27

The FantasyWood Festival
The FantasyWood Festival hosted by ManneqArt and Circus Siren Pod is a magical three-day experience over Memorial Day Weekend. Join for a walk in the woods with surprises around each corner. Meet mermaids, fairies, watch live knights duel and even see a live unicorn. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m each day. Tickets $5-$20. The Chrysalis Theatre, Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods: 10431 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.visithowardcounty.com

Photo: Andrew Mishko

Nick Waterhouse Squares Up and Makes It

Who exactly is Nick Waterhouse?

His music is imbued with the landscape of the San Francisco nightclubs where he began as a DJ, playing 45s of old-school rhythm and blues. His live shows have the energy of bootleg punk show recordings you’d find in a YouTube hole, but with the smoothness and instrumentation of seasoned big band conductor.

Essentially, Waterhouse makes party music. His tracks wouldn’t be out of place at a vinyl-only night at neighborhood dives like U Street’s Velvet Lounge or Showtime in Bloomingdale on the weekends. Fans and casual listeners know this already. But behind the jazzy horn breaks, the female-sung catchy hooks, the driving percussion, the guitar licks and the sweaty dance party vibes is a sardonic wit, which I witnessed firsthand on a recent call with the artist from his L.A. home.

Waterhouse was fresh off the heels of the European leg of his tour and gearing up for his U.S. dates when we chatted, which includes a stop at Rock & Roll Hotel on May 17 with his seven-piece band. But before international tours were the norm, the musician was recording his first single with a ragtag group of players and some of his own savings.

The limited-run 45s of 2010’s “Some Place” sold for $7 a pop and were passed around among DJs, eventually becoming a dance party success. One 45 turned into a bunch of 45s, which turned into his debut album Time’s All Gone. His current tour is in promotion of his self-titled fourth album, released in March.

“The first three records sound more like a trilogy,” he tells me on the call. “I know they seem spread out to listeners, but they were all like one long thread of a period of time that started in December 2010 and just didn’t really stop. I didn’t get a chance to get my footing, I guess.”

He says Nick Waterhouse felt like a reintroduction to listeners.

“I’d be fine if somebody had never heard of me and picked up this record and this was their introduction. This is the first record where I felt like I could really square up and make it.”

Waterhouse’s latest album doesn’t stray far from the vintage R&B sound he’s known for. But, more on display this time around is his perspective as an individual. He says he doesn’t like being a public person or talking about himself, but this new album highlights the concepts and ideas that he grapples with as a musician working in an industry that he doesn’t feel entirely comfortable navigating.

Behind the glasses and his iconic midcentury aesthetic is a guy that’s perhaps finally comfortable making music the way he wants. It helps that Waterhouse has either worked with – or become friends with – many of the musicians and artists he grew up listening to and admiring.

His song “Wreck the Rod” off the new album was inspired by a personal conversation with Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans. He also covered his friend Jo Armstead’s 1967 single “I Feel an Urge Coming On,” and toured with and produced music for the soul legend (a former Ikette and background singer for icons James Brown and B.B. King).

“I got really emotional recently because we were on tour and in a big jam-packed bar in Athens, the DJ put on my song ‘Katchi.’ Ralph Carney plays the tenor sax solo on that. He died last year in an accident. And Ralph was somebody that came to the session blind. He was like, ‘Man, I really dig your sh-t. You got a f–king cool thing going on.’”

Carney was a prolific multi-instrumentalist that worked with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The B-52s and The Black Keys.

“He was giving me a vote of confidence. It’s like he came through time and dropped in like he belonged in my band for two days. It was like when I was young and fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll and jazz and playing music. That’s what the magic thing is.”

Catch Waterhouse and his band on Friday, May 17 at Rock & Roll Hotel. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 in advance, $20 day of. Learn more about him at www.nickwaterhouse.com.

Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; 202-388-7625; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Photo: Greg Pallante

Meet The Exploratory Mercy Union

The first chord explodes like a glitter bomb, igniting a stream of surging guitar, driving drums and anthem-style lyrics that shine like the sun on the Jersey Shore.

This is the sound of “Young Dionysians,” the song that kicks off The Quarry, the debut album by New Jersey rock quartet Mercy Union.

“Dionysians” trumpets part of the band’s sound, firmly rooted in the heartland rock meets punk – a kind of Tom Petty mixed with Jimmy Eat World vibe – sound that’s been kicking around North and Central Jersey for the past two decades. But this fist-pumping, body-and-soul liberating rock and roll sound is only a piece of Mercy Union’s repertoire. Truthfully, the group does not want listeners to enter with any preconceived notions; that was part of how the members decided on their name.

“We didn’t want the name to give away any style of music,” says Jared Hart, Mercy Union’s front man and principal songwriter. “That’s what we started with, with trying to find things so that when people heard it they wouldn’t jump and go: ‘That’s a hardcore band’ or ‘That’s an indie band.’”

This mentality is also helpful when most of your band consists of members from some of the most prolific bands from the Jersey punk scene in the past 10 years. Mercy Union is, by popular parlance, a supergroup: Hart is the founder of The Scandals, guitarist Rocky Catanese hails from Let Me Run and drummer Benny Horowitz also anchors the kit for The Gaslight Anthem, the biggest rock group to blossom from the garden state in the new millennium. These are much-beloved bands in their circles of the music world, with dedicated fanbases enamored with those groups’ distinct, personal sounds.

The sounds of Mercy Union do not sever ties with all that history.

“I wanted everyone listening to it to have as much of an open mind I had when I was writing it,” Hart says. “Keeping the labels off of it and all the past stuff – it’s there, those will be our influences, but I didn’t want it to be the skeleton of the whole thing.”

“[We wanted] something catchy, [with] energy but also restraint in the smart ways. I kind of wanted to capture the energy of all our punk bands in the past and use our new knowledge in songwriting and life experience in general, smash it all together and see what we came up with.”

That last ingredient in the sound reflects all four musicians’ drive to explore beyond their previously well-traveled roads and to have space to “get weird.”

The band’s brand of weird may not be apparent on first listen; the group does not play in a crazy tempo, the guitars are not tuned to some alien setting and Hart sings as he does, with bellowing thrust but also choir-boy soaring.

“I think weird is just taking risks,” Hart says. “Changing time signatures, changing song structures in ways that you’re not comfortable with and more just challenging who you are as a musician and taking a leap and not worrying about it.”

“Layovers,” another track on The Quarry, exemplifies this ethos. The six-minute, acoustic roadhouse ballad of remembrance and regret directly contrasts with the group’s tight rock anthems like “Dionysians” or “Chips and Vic,” but contrast is the point.

Hart points to mixtapes in the hip-hop world – he was mainlining Chance the Rapper’s multi-Grammy winning mixtape Coloring Book while he was writing the first batch of Mercy Union songs – as a primary influence in shaping the band’s sound.

“The idea of a mixtape kind of blew me away,” he says. “Different songs that didn’t necessarily feel like they fit on a record, but when put into context as a whole, they do. That was a big part of where the songs on The Quarry went to and how we bounced around in genres.”

Looking at other tracks in Mercy Union’s live set, “A Lot From Me” drifts calmly along with an almost reggae vibe; “Silver Dollars” is classic Tom Petty, gritty and grooving rock and roll; while “Accessory” and “Baggy” mix 70s soft rock with a harder and more ambient modern approach.

Hart says the band’s name was intended to reflect the members’ strong feelings of unity tied to the vulnerability of starting this new project that would stretch them as musicians. It also reflects the group’s sound; a united body of gentle but energetic and empowering songs. There’s a couplet in “Chips and Vics,” the band’s debut single, another swelling anthem, that sums up what the band offers: “Can I be all that you need? / Can you see, maybe, if you can stand to stand by me?”

Mercy Union opens for Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers with Control Top at Rock & Roll Hotel on Tuesday, April 23. Visit here for more information on the show. For more information on Mercy Union, check the band out on Facebook and Twitter.

Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; 202-388-7625; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

Photos: Yana Yatsuk

G’day: A Q&A with Kirin J Callinan

The best part of talking with Australian singer-songwriter Kirin J Callinan is that you can never tell what he’s going to say or do next. He might break into song, he might rummage through belongings to show off a gift he recently bought for a friend or he might say something outrageous or hilarious or, more likely, both.

The artist, musician and performer is set to release his third solo record, Return to Center, and is currently on tour. He’s known for his over-the-top performing and songwriting that sits between art and provocation. A recent press release describes him as an “apex predator, a butterfly, a grassfire, a beautiful baby boy wandered curiously into trouble,” and it’s all true. We got to video chat in anticipation of his Tuesday April 23 show at DC9 where we discussed Return to Center, the prospect of having kids and the prospect of covering opera. Oh and he showed off a gift he got for his friend and sometime collaborator Connan Mockasin.

On Tap: I wanted to start by asking you about your family. I feel like you talk about your family more than most artists do, and I was wondering are you what they were hoping for?
Kirin J Callinan: [Laughs]. Look, I don’t know what they were hoping for. I didn’t know them when they were sitting around and hoping. You know what, I don’t think they were hoping for anything. I was an accident. In terms of my childhood, I don’t think I’ve really felt that pressure to be, I mean my old man was a musician, still is. From my mother I’ve really only felt love; I’m very lucky.

I’ve had a few fuckups in my life, definitely. But no, my parents are very supportive. I love ‘em dearly, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, or certainly [my] inspiration and confidence would come from a different place, if I didn’t have them. Does that make sense?

OT: Yeah, that’s a good situation, that’s lucky.
KC: Yeah, very lucky, incredibly lucky, it’s not lost on me. In fact I consider myself the luckiest person on the face of the earth. You know, it’s not like they came from money or anything; dad’s a musician, and mom worked mostly, and dad was a stay at home dad. You know it moved me to tears recently actually, thinking about [this], the sacrifices my parents, especially my dad, made. You know he had his own hopes and dreams as a musician, and some worked out and some didn’t, but at some stage, with myself and my sister at a young age, he sort of quit the band and got a dayjob. [He] has worked so hard, six days a week to this very day, as long as I’ve known him, as long as I can remember, really just in devotion to my sister and I and my mum. It just kind of blew my mind. I don’t know if I could [do that]. I mean, I think things just change when you have kids, but in my sort of world that revolves around myself at present, I don’t know if I could quit the dream and get what is otherwise a monotonous [job]. I mean I know people do it all the time, [but] it blows my mind.

That said, I think that’s the reason I’d like to have kids, if there’s any potential mothers out there reading this. I’m up for kids because I’d love to have someone else in my life that’s my number one priority, other than myself and my work. Then again, maybe I’ll just be a prig forever. So, no guarantees.

OT: Are you the most Callinan Callinan, are you as Callinan as it gets?
KC: Yeah, you know, the Callinan side, particularly my dad’s side, is very arty farty. My dad’s a musician, uncle and aunty [are] all in the arts, his brother and sister. [They’re] kind of usually pretty weird, kind of lefty environmentalist, you know. I’m trying to think of the stereotype within the family; most are bookworms. I’m not in that sense, [I’m] terrible with reading; I’m trying to get better.

My body shape is a bit different too; I’m sort of the tallest in the family. The rest can be quite small or rotund, and I’m tall and thin, and I’ve got a bigger nose than the rest of them too. Suspected I might have had a different father for a little bit there, but you see young pictures of my dad, [and] it’s me.

OT: Were you born Kirin or did you become Kirin?
KC: Well, it’s on my birth certificate, although it’s spelled different, but I’m fairly true. I haven’t changed that much, I would say. I was a bit of a show pony in school, you know primary school, high school and that hasn’t really changed.

OT: Have you ever found that hard?
KC: Yes, yes, yeah. Yes, [laughs].

OT: Can I ask you to elaborate a little bit?
KC: Well you know I never really felt like I fit in, but you know for me that was a point of difference. I enjoyed being a freak. A lot of culture today, especially online, people talk about community a lot. That word comes up in basically every sphere, about finding your people. For me, I’ve always wanted to be different, I’ve always wanted to feel singular, it baffles me actually. But of course, feeling isolated is certainly different and much more difficult than simply feeling different, and I’ve had times where I felt pretty isolated and alone. You know, being verbally or physically attacked ‘cause you’re different is a different thing and there’s times where I’ve felt that. But for the most part I’ve gotten by being funny and nice, you know. But who hasn’t felt different or alone?

OT: Is this something you experienced in high school or younger?
KC: Younger as well, [I] definitely felt very different, but you know this sounds like I think I’m special or something and that’s not necessarily what I’m getting at.

OT: But you always seem to be in company. Do you get a lot of alone time?
KC: No, [laughs] no, no not at all. I’m working on that. Trying to devote more time to being comfortable in my own skin without other people around, devote more time to reading, like I said, certainly devote more time to writing, which go hand in hand, you know, if you don’t read, it’s hard to write. For a long time, I’ve been always surrounded by people, often drunk.

OT: “The Whole of the Moon” is fucking great. I wanted to ask, when you’re singing that is there someone you’re singing to or thinking about?
KC: That’s interesting, because the song is a devotional song. I tried to break down all the songs on the new record to one word and “Whole of the Moon” is devotional.

There is a person I was thinking about, don’t think I want to say who they are. There were a few people I was thinking about actually, one was the producer François Tétaz, who I made the record with, he’s a visionary, and then there are more romantic faces in mind who I don’t think I want to mention.

OT: How do you mean devotional? Specifically religiously devotional?
KC: Well, could be. “I saw the crescent you saw the whole of the moon.” You’re talking to God or at least someone with an all encompassing vision, but you know that’s what love is. When you really love someone, they’re the greatest and they show you things, they see what you don’t see. But, no I didn’t mean it necessarily as religious. It’s big picture stuff.

OT: Have you heard any feedback from The Waterboys?
KC: No. However, a couple years ago I did some of these David Lynch shows, music from David Lynch films that was put together by David Coulter, who was in the The Pogues and worked with everyone from Tom Waits to Yoko Ono, and Camille O’Sullivan was a singer on that, as was I. She’s actually the mother of Mike Scott’s children, the singer-songwriter from The Waterboys, so I wrote to Camille to see if she could put me in touch and she wrote back right away saying she would, but I haven’t followed it up since. I need to be in touch. I actually have an idea for a show involving the original writers of the songs on the record.

I haven’t heard from him, I wonder if he’s heard it. I do know that if you type it into Spotify or Apple Music you get my version and not The Waterboys. So you know, who knows, it’d be nice to hear from him. I think it’s a nice rendition, it doesn’t stray too far from the original, it’s just a little bit better isn’t it? [Laughs] No, I think a lot of those Waterboys records, I love them I love the band, [but] the production is a bit of a barrier, it’s so 80s, which for me, I love 80s music and even then I find those big snares and some of the bombastic, big verby production on there a little difficult to listen to. Good songs though.

OT: What does Return to Center mean?
KC: It is a wholly encompassing idea for the album. There is a sort of spiritual core to the record. I say the album is my “corporate spiritual record,” neither left nor right, neither red nor blue, it’s return to center, which you know, it’s about balance. It’s about patience and humility, but also in terms of the process, the way we made the record is we went to Guitar Center, spent the entire budget for the album, which was $8,888.88. I chose that number because 8 is a nice return to center as well, sort of turns in on itself, and you know it’s more fun to say than $10,000.

So, at $8,888.88, we were just shy of that actually, I bought a bunch of gear from Guitar Center and had the length of the return policy to make the album before returning to center and giving the gear back and getting the money back, which you know is kind of a funny idea but was also a very practical one, you know it gave me the palate to make the record. I was only allowed to use this gear that we bought, everything from mics to mic stands and cables, we didn’t use a laptop, we bought a TASCAM digital 24 track from there as well, everything’s on SD cards, and we had fourteen days from purchase, as is the return policy on pro audio gear. We had 14 days from the purchase and pulling out of the boxes, setting it up in the garage, to then make the record before packing it back down on the last day and returning it to the center.

My previous record I worked on and off for four years and could have worked on it for another four. At the end I just had to let go of it and throw it out, and so this one, it made me show up at 11 a.m. every morning down at the garage and work on it every day till 12 a.m. or 1 a.m.. [We] had to make this record, spent the money, wanted to get the money back and wanted to finish the album, and to make it great, most importantly.

You could argue that it’s a punk guerilla attack on capitalism, I took advantage of this company and used their policy against them, or you could argue I’m celebrating their only-in-America, customer-first model, which is a big selling point of the brand and made a beautiful record using only their gear. It could’ve been, like I said, me fucking with them or me celebrating them, and it’s both really.

OT: What I love about being able to interview artists is feeling like I have something to learn from you all and I’m wondering if there are people you’re still learning from?
KC: That I’m inspired by? Learning from? Absolutely. All the time. My favorite artists past and present. But at the moment, you know I’ve been a big drinker, and occasional drug user in my life, and right I’m really inspired by people that are sober and focused, and I’m trying to do the same thing. Musically? I’m really inspired by people with work ethic and focus. I think I got away for a long time with really being sort of just good, being able to put on a show, being able to write a good song from time to time without really working at it, and it’s not good enough. So, you know, I’ve mentioned Natalie Weyes Blood,inspired by her focus and her work ethic. And Mac, very inspired by Mac. [I] went to Coachella last weekend, was quite inspired by the Tame Impala show and those guys are all friends of mine as well. It was really quite amazing to see [them] grow into such an institution and so big.

The people around me at the moment, my friend Ashley Smith is inspiring me a lot lately. There’s a lot of acceptance of drug and alcohol abuse, especially within music, and it doesn’t help, it really doesn’t help. So, [I’m] trying to learn how to look after myself again, you know? If I spent half as much time as I poured into partying [instead] into working, we’d be talking about my back catalogue of 10 records.

OT: Could you ever cover opera?
KC: I’d love to. Yes. I kind of have this… the final song on Return to Center is “Vienna” originally by Ultravox.

OT: I love that song.
KC: Yeah, great song. But you know it wasn’t on my short list of songs for the record, it wasn’t even on my long list of songs, I just woke up with it in my head one morning and I was like “oh let’s do this one.” And I kind of regret it on some level because there’s a couple of songs that are super dear to me that I didn’t do, but you know, I can do them in the future.

But “Vienna” it sort of has this Andrea Bocelli quality to it, [sings] “Oh Vienna” and in the vocal performance that’s what I was really going for. I want people to listen to it and put me in the same breath as Bocelli or Pavarotti, coming from this pretty booming place in my belly.

Kirin J Callinan plays at DC9 Nightclub Tuesday, April 23. Doors are at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15. For more information and tickets, visit www.dc9.club.

DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; 202-483-5000; www.dc9.club

Mitski at Rams Head Live

The New York-based, Japanese-born indie rock star Mitski played at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on April 19. As usual, attendees were witness to her mystical rock sounds, delivered in the manner she’s famous for. Photos: Krystina Gabrielle // KGabriellePhoto.com

Foals at 9:30 Club

Oxford, England’s Foals played the 9:30 Club twice this week on April 16 and April 18. Here are some photos from the band’s latter show. For a review of April 16’s show, click here. Photos: Krystina Gabrielle // KGabriellePhoto.com