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10 Reasons to Attend the DC Jazz Festival
From June 9-18, enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz all over the nation’s capital
One of America’s greatest art forms receives an annual summer showcase in DC. Many of the concerts are free, so no need to worry about costs piling up! For 10 more reasons why you should attend this wonderful celebration, read on. Also, make sure to visit dcjazzfest.org for full lineups, a schedule and tickets (for the shows that require them).
The nation’s capital hosts the DC Jazz Festival for good reason. Legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington was born here, and during his time, the U Street corridor was known as “Black Broadway” for its constant stream of jazz performances by African American artists. DC was the epicenter of the movement for decades, so it’s only fitting that it hosts this summer gathering. You will be immersed in this established culture throughout the festival.
The DC Jazz Festival schedule includes more than 125 performances across 40 venues in the District. This includes artists both emerging and renowned. A total of 90 bands and 300 artists will strut their stuff on stage.
Leading jazz artists and groups such as Pat Metheny, Gregory Porter, Robert Glasper Experiment, Lalah Hathaway, The Kenny Garrett Quintet, Roy Haynes, Ron Carter and Jacob Collier will perform during the 10-day festival. Of course, there will be plenty of up-and-coming artists from around the world also participating.
The festival spreads its sounds throughout DC’s distinctive neighborhoods with the Jazz in the ‘Hoods series, presented by Events DC. A healthy mix of both local and national artists will take the stage at numerous buzzworthy venues, including Twins Jazz, the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden and the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
Before you even step inside Howard Theatre, you’ll notice a statue of Duke Ellington out front. The historic venue was a jazz hub during Duke’s heyday, and the recently renovated spot is once again a fantastic place to see a show. The Howard will host concerts from June 9-13, including performances by five-time Grammy winner Lalah Hathaway and Roy Haynes.
Jane Bunnett, a Canadian jazz artist, has received accolades throughout her career (including multiple Juno Awards), and she’ll bring the band Maqueque with her to perform at the Sixth & I Synagogue in Penn Quarter on June 10. Expect plenty of improvisation, a daring mix of jazz melodies and a whole lot of soul inside a venue acclaimed for its great acoustics.
Headliner Pat Metheny will take to the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on June 12 at 7:30 p.m. for a night of jazz wizardry. Metheny will be joined by an all-star group of musicians, including drummer Antonio Sanchez, who composed the unforgettable score of the Oscar-winning film, Birdman.
Yards Park, a beautiful, multi-faceted locale in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, will host DC JazzFest at the Yards (presented by Events DC) from June 16-18. Take in the outdoors while enjoying music from a slew of artists, with Saturday featuring the most extensive lineup.
Ahead of the festival’s official start on June 9, The Phillips Collection (the country’s first museum of modern art) will host Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days on June 3-4. This free, family-oriented event will include performances from rising star ensembles, storytelling, an instrument petting zoo, art workshops and chances to meet artists!
Although many of the DC Jazz Festival’s events are free, who doesn’t like saving money on travel? Amtrak is offering guests a “buy one, get 30% off” deal. It’s simple: visit this page, use the “Book It Now” button, buy one ticket, get 30% off the second. Then, it’s time to enjoy a jazz-filled DC excursion with a fellow jazz lover.
Interested in other summer festivals in DC? Check othem out now and start planning.