Hi all! I’m Colleen, resident folkie of the group, and your tour guide for today. If you’re in DC and in the mood for folk music, arts, and dance, here’s a brief overview of some events you could get out to in the next few months. And even better, most of them are metro-accessible and things you can do on a budget. But first, every intrepid explorer needs a map.
We’ll start our tour at the Takoma Park metro.
That first image is for the House of Musical Traditions, located at 7010 Westmoreland Ave. If you have a hankering for weird musical instruments, they can assist. They also offer workshops on various folk instruments, and provide contacts to regional private music instructors. The Institute of Musical Traditions grew out of a concert series the store started, with concert locations in Rockville and Takoma Park. Side note, one of my all-time favorite Québécois bands, Le Vent du Nord, will be at their Rockville venue on October 13. If you’re able to get out to the concert, I highly recommend purchasing a ticket.
To reach our next destination, transfer to the green or yellow line at Fort Totten, then get off at the Columbia Heights metro.
Here you’ll find the Great American Square Dance Revival, hosted by the DC Square Dance Collective. Dances are held at 1525 Newton St, NW. They’ve been around since 2011, dedicated to reviving traditional, foot-stomping, barn-shaking Appalachian square dance in DC. Dances are held once a month on a Saturday; the next one is October 11 at 8:30 p.m. DC Square Dance Collective is part of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, which hosts a slew of cool events — dances (contra, English country, and international), concerts, sings (gospel, shape note, etc), and festivals in every season.
Next stop: Archives metro
On Saturday, November 1, the second annual Capital Maritime Music Fest takes place at the Naval Heritage Center. It’s co-sponsored by FSGW and the Washington Revels. John Roberts, English folk singer extraordinaire, is this year’s featured performer, who is a phenomenal person to feature in an event dedicated to maritime traditions. If you’re there during the day you can be treated to concerts and workshops featuring the traditions of sea warriors; merchant sailors; African-American sailors and dockworkers; recreational sailors; maritime communities; and canal and inland waterways.
Lastly, you’re going to want to hop on over to the orange, blue, or silver line and get off at Foggy Bottom-GWU. Now you might be asking why for this stop of the tour I just included a picture of the metro stop. Well, there are just enough events that can happen down here that I couldn’t choose.
First is the NEA National Heritage Fellowships concert. Every year, the NEA awards a handful of folk and traditional artists with this honor, and the week of celebration is wrapped up with a concert. Alas, this year’s concert is now past, but mark your calendars for next year! The concert typically happens towards the end of September.
The annual Christmas Revels also takes place at Lisner. They celebrate the Winter Solstice by drawing on traditions and rituals from around the world. This year’s theme is “An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice.” Revels started in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1970s, but has since spread to other cities around the U.S.
And that’s the end of the tour! There are many more events like this taking place in the DC area, but I’ll now turn you loose to explore on your own. Happy wandering!