It’s West Virginia come to Washington, or at least that’s what planners of the Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival are saying about this Saturday’s free music festival, hosted on a 40-acre island on the Anacostia River.
City leaders and Living Classrooms, an environmental nonprofit, brought the bluegrass festival to the island three years ago, and now a healthy pack of music fans turn out each year to listen to the twang of bluegrass and dine on food truck fare.
Event planners said they expect approximately 3,000 people for Saturday’s festival.
Musically speaking, Washington may be better known for “The Godfather of Go-go,” Chuck Brown, but the D.C. area is also home to a number of bluegrass bands, many with ties to West Virginia and other southern and Appalachian states.
Wells, who hails from Alabama, considers himself a bluegrass fan. His office helped to organize and sponsor the music festival as part of an environmental initiative.
“Few people have viewed the Anacostia as an environmental asset, and few people relate bluegrass with the Anacostia. This is a way to get people out here and make them aware of the island,” Wells said. “It’s becoming a signature event for the city.”
And, Ward 6 has a number of venues catering to a younger generation of bluegrass players. The festival line-up reflects a second generation of musicians, Wells said.
“For a while bluegrass started to die out, there’s still the old-time guys who play at Birchmere, but there’s also an organic resurgence of bluegrass that’s not through the same lineage,” he said. “Now, there is a second wave, who are very young pickers.”
Frank Hankins, the owner of SOVA, a wine and coffee shop on H Street, hosts a number of these younger players – mainly in their 20s and 30s. In the last four years, SOVA has expanded its line-up from a few bands once a month to every Thursday night.
Hankins, who is originally from Baltimore, said he is part of a new fan base listening to the music.
“We attract people who don’t know the music. They may not be bluegrass fans, but they come with a friend, and soon they come to appreciate it more and more.”
For more concert information, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/KIBluegrassFest
1:00 – 1:50 King Street Bluegrass
2:00 – 3:30 Patuxent Partners
3:45 – 4:45 Split String Soup
5:00 – 6:00 Hollertown
6:15 – 7:15 By and By
7:30 – 8:00 Jam session
Hungry for food trucks? Here are some of the food trucks that will be at the festival:
Red Hook Lobster Pound DC
Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats