Your one-stop shop for all things live music
Boogie Down DC is your one-stop shops for all things live music in Washington DC and the greater DMV area. With our areas of expertise focusing on venues & clubs, up-and-coming new artists, free music events and festivals, Boogie Down does the research for you and allows you to focus on one thing and one thing only: enjoying the best live music that DC has to offer.
Venues and Clubs
9:30 Club (815 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001)
The conversation around live music in DC should always begin with the 9:30 Club. Centrally located on the border of the Shaw and U Street neighborhoods, 9:30 has seen some of the country’s (and world’s) top acts despite only having a capacity of 1,200. In December of 2018 Rolling Stone Magazine voted 9:30 Club as one of the top 10 venues for live music in the country. As Jonathan Bernstein wrote, “The 9:30 Club has long been recognized as one of the country’s greatest indie rock venues. For generations, the D.C. music scene has revolved around the venue…Today, 1,200-capacity venue plays host to a constant stream of prominent touring acts, and over the years has also been host to a series of secret shows from bands like Green Day, Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The Anthem (901 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024)
A new addition to the DC music scene is The Anthem, located in the newly redeveloped District Wharf. The state-of-the-art venue and auditorium opened in October of 2017 and features two balcony levels with seats and an open floor that lends itself to standing room only. Despite a 6,000 person capacity, every seat is the best seat in the house. The Anthem’s top-of-the-line sound system and acoustic-minded architecture will leave even those most jaded, seasoned DC music fan grinning from ear to ear.
Capital One Arena and Post Merriweather Pavillion
For large scale venues, music lovers will often find themselves at the Capital One Area — home to the Washington Wizards and Stanley-Cup Champion Capitals. Worldwide phenoms like Pink, Drake and Taylor Swift, not to mention legends like Elton John, The Rolling Stones, have all made home on the stage at Capital One Arena on at least one occasion. During the warmer weather acts, these hugely popular acts will often take their talents north of the city to the Post Merriweather Pavillion, an outdoor venue that holds just under 20,000 people.
Three clubs that require special mention are U Street Music Hall (or UHall as it is commonly known as by locals), Gypsy Sally’s, and The Black Cat. UHall has earned its reputation as small room for EDM (electronic dance music), while The Black Cat lands some of the area’s top alternative and indie acts. Moving west towards Georgetown, Boogie Down DC suggests Gypsy Sally’s for any fans in search of the Americana folk vibe defined by the Grateful Dead…but don’t be fooled. Gypsy Sally’s lands some incredible talent that breaks the hippy-music trend that it is so often associated with. In fact, this Georgetown venue markets itself as a "venue for serious music lovers who don’t take themselves too seriously.”
Just like us here at Boogie Down DC!
Up and Coming Music Acts
As the nation’s capital, DC is not short on events and concerts. One fantastic way to take advantage of the city whether you call it home or are a tourist visiting for the weekend, there are plenty of up and coming artists that you don’t want to miss!
Originally from small-town Texas, Conan Gray exemplifies what it means to be a next-generation creator. Having grown up making videos and writing music, Conan’s distinctive voice and musical style has given rise to his growing, fervent fanbase. At eighteen, his song “Idle Town”, which he wrote and produced, charted in the top 30 global viral hits on Spotify in its first week, and as of August 2018 has over 24 million streams. Conan has been featured on the front page of the Washington Post, and as the cover of Local Wolves magazine (“U Street Music Hall”).
Next show: Friday, March 29th at 7pm at the U Street Music Hall
As Big Wild, producer Jackson Stell crafts lush soundscapes and sweeping melodies that challenge the status quo of electronic music. Formerly a hip-hop beat producer, known as J Beatz, in his native Massachusetts, Stell switched creative lanes following a life-altering trip to Big Sur, California. He adopted influences from the state’s natural glory and open spaces to create the atmospheric and wide-spanning Big Wild sound, which today traverses electronic, indie, pop and beyond (“U Street Music Hall”).
Next show: Friday, March 29th at 10:30pm at the U Street Music Hall
The Wild Reeds
The Wild Reeds are a band led by women, and that matters. Not a sister band, not a girl group, but a band fronted by three women, all talented singers, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists in their own right: Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe, and Sharon Silva, with drummer Nick Jones and bass player Nick Phakpiseth providing the Los Angeles-based band’s rhythmic foundation. Like a harmony at its euphoric best, the leads’ powerful — and powerfully distinct — voices merge to form a sound that can only be The Wild Reeds. On their third LP, Cheers, the band comes together to create an ode to the joys and pains of camaraderie.
Next show: Tuesday, April 16th at 7pm at the U Street Music Hall
LÉON is kicing off her tour in the United States with her first stop in the nation’s capital. LÉON is quite the name and quite the voice. Born from musician parents in Stockholm, Sweden, as her mother is a seasoned cellist in the symphony, and father, the composer of sorts, LÉON is only doing what she knows best. It's in her blood, and she knows nothing else. She's honed her live and performing chops fronting a ten-piece hip hop/soul band since the age of 17. At the age of 21, LÉON decided to go out on her own after meeting Swedish producer Agrin Rahmani, who has been her muse ever since. Together, with Agrin at the helm as her sole producer and co-writer, Agrin and LÉON have been developing a deep body of work over the last year. She released her debut EP, 'Treasure,' in the winter of 2015. LÉON has since been added to many Artist To Watch lists for 2016, including Paper Magazine, Buzzfeed and Snapchat's lists to name a few. She's also selected as the Spotify Spotlight Artist To Watch in 2016, along with recently being named a Vevo Discover artist. Her single "Tired of Talking" has been leading the charge with over 50 million streams. She's excited for you to get to know her better through her music and lyrics because the music always says it all.
Next show: Friday, April 19th at 7pm at the 9:30 Club
Free Shows and Events
Why pay when free live music is abundant?! Washington D.C. is a great spot to grab a friend and enjoy free concerts around the city. Whether indoors in an underground venue, during dinner, or outside in a park, D.C. has live music all around. There are many options to of music events you can attend, however summers in D.C. are the best for free outdoors concerts.
We all know the National Mall as the home to some of the Washington D.C.’s most iconic exhibits but did you know there are a number of concerts that take place on the National Mall as well? Head to the mall during the summer to enjoy the annual Music on the Mall concert series. The best thing about it is this concert series is free to all! The concerts take place at 7th and Jefferson Drive. The concerts include genres ranging from acoustic guitar and spoken word poetry to instrumental African music (“Concerts at the National Mall”).
Link to the National Mall Calendar: https://www.nps.gov/nama/planyourvisit/calendar.htm
Jazz in the Gardens
“Jazz in the Gardens” is a very popular concert series that is free for anyone to attend. The National Gallery of Art Jazz Concerts take place Friday evenings in May through August. Local and national artists will perform all different styles of jazz music. After work come join us at the free jazz concerts to enjoy cocktails at the Pavilion Café at the National Gallery of Art (“Free Summer Concerts in the Washington, D.C. Area,” 2019)
Link to National Gallery of Art Jazz Concerts Schedule: https://www.nga.gov/calendar/concerts.html
Military Band Concerts
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps bands host patriotic concerts every other day at various D.C. venues throughout the whole summer. Some of the different venues include: U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Navy Memorial, National Harbor, and the National Mall. These concerts are always free to the public, so don't miss out on the summer fun! Additionally, special concerts are held on Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day (“Free Summer Concerts in the Washington, D.C. Area,” 2019).
Link to Military Band's Summer Schedule: https://www.tripsavvy.com/military-band-summer-concert-schedule-1038730
Fort Dupont Summer Theatre
Throughout August and into mid-September concerts are held on Saturdays at Fort Dupont Park. "Enjoy world music, soulful productions, jazz, and even a moonlight movie at this perfect outdoor venue." These summer nights are so much fun to get together with friends and enjoy free music at the park. (“Free Summer Concerts in the Washington, D.C. Area,” 2019).
Link to Fort Dupont's Summer Theater Calendar: https://www.nps.gov/fodu/planyourvisit/summer-theatre.htm
The Washington Harbour
Why only stay open during summer? Live entertainment at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown lasts year round! A variety of local bands perform on the plaza along the Potomac River waterfront on Wednesday evenings (“Free Summer Concerts in the Washington, D.C. Area,” 2019).
Link to The Washington Harbour: https://www.thewashingtonharbour.com/events
There are often free concerts and events in many of the museums in D.C. This Monday 3/25, the Ryuji Ueno Foundation is hosting a free concert at lunchtime at the Renwick Gallery. The 6821 Quintet, a group of five internationally renowned musicians, will be performing inside of the gallery for anyone to come see.
Link to Renwick Gallery's Calendar of events: https://americanart.si.edu/events?location=1627
Festivals In and Around DC
Washington D.C has become a hotspot for music festivals of all kind. Do you like jazz, orchestra, rock, or hip hop? Washington D.C. has a variety of music festivals offering music from all genres! With Spring and Summer on the horizon, the Washington D.C. festival scene is looking to explode with theme and holiday-based festivals any music lover would enjoy.
Capital Brewfest: Blossom Bash Beer, Wine & Music Festival – April 6th 2019
Celebrate the kickoff of DC's outdoor festival season with Capital BrewFest Blossom Bash Beer, and Music festival on Saturday, April 6th! Your ticket to Blossom Bash gets you three hours of unlimited tastes of more than 65 delicious craft beers, 10 tasty ciders, 25 wines of all varieties including sparkling and rosé, and more! You’ll also enjoy the best of DC’s food trucks, live music, and many more activities.
Washington D.C. International Music Festival – April 14 – 18, 2019
The Washington D.C. International Music Festival features ensembles from High School, college and community bands, choirs and orchestras from around the DC Metro area. This prestigious festival features some of the most talented young musicians Washington D.C. has to offer. While also providing the opportunity for musical growth and lasting memories for both performers and attendees. Taking place across five days at the historic John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this festival provides a unique opportunity to experience Washington D.C. ensemble.
Broccoli City Festival – April 26 - 27, 2019
Broccoli City is a massively popular festival featuring performances from some of the biggest names in hip hop like Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne, and Trippie Redd. Although, Broccoli City offers more than a typical music festival. Not only do attendees get to enjoy world class music, but are also offered the opportunity to take part in fitness and wellness events, community service events, and networking events. This event provides a prime opportunity to enjoy world class music and grow as an individual.
Summerfest DC: Beer, Wine, Food, Music – June 1st, 2019
Come and checkout Summerfest DC which provides an amazing day filled with all you could ask for. It's the highlight of the Summer season in DC with some of the capital's best beer, wine and music at one of DC’s best outdoor venues, The Bullpen, just steps from Nationals Park in the Navy Yard! Check out music across a variety of genres while you enjoy some of the best food and beverages the Washington D.C area has to offer.
Washington DC's Immigrant & Refugee Music Festival – July 6 – 7, 2019
As we remember how our country was founded hundreds of years ago on Independence Day weekend, Washington DC's Immigrant & Refugee Music Festival will showcase our message of unity with the talents of musicians of immigrant-descent. The Immigrant & Refugee music festival will demonstrate genres of music that span the globe. Featuring artists from all parts of the world including Togo, Colombia, Greece, and Somalia. This amazing festivals provides artists from all walks of life the chance to share their unique style and love of music with all of Washington D.C.
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