Two popular summer concert series kick off this week in D.C., with Carter Barron Amphitheatre and Fort Dupont Park hosting their first shows of the summer Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The National Park Service, which oversees both series, distributed the latest concert schedules today. But for longtime attendees used to catching big names at the parks each summer, this year’s schedules might seem pretty anemic.
That’s because — as Steve Kiviat reported for Washington City Paper — the National Park Service has struggled to maintain the clout that both series once had. Until recently, Carter Barron and Fort Dupont enjoyed a reputation as summer hot spots for funk and R&B, booking legacy acts including Peabo Bryson, Cameo, The Ohio Players, B.T. Express, Deniece Williams, Midnight Star, Gil Scott-Heron, Zapp and Fort Dupont regular Roy Ayers, who even wrote a song about the park. (“Fort Dupont Park, Fort Dupont Park, the party to remember…”)
In its heyday, Fort Dupont’s biggest gigs could draw tens of thousands of concertgoers, according to a 2012 story in the Washington Post.
These days, that doesn’t seem as likely, with Fort Dupont cutting back on glitz and shortening its schedule. Carter Barron has done the same.
That doesn’t mean both parks have lost their picnic appeal, though. See both of their schedules below.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre
All shows are free. Gates open at 7 p.m., shows begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Movies begin at dusk. 4850 Colorado Ave. NW.
July 17: Classic Soul Night with Mousey Thompson and the James Brown Experience, Skip Mahoney & The Casuals and William DeVaughn (presented by the Washington Post Going Out Guide)
July 24: Reggae Night with Monsoon & S.T.O.R.M. Reggae Band, Puma Ptah, Ras Biruk and Ras Band (presented by the Washington Post Going Out Guide)
Aug. 16: Joint Service Jazz with U.S. Army Blues, U.S. Navy Commodores and U.S. Airmen of Note
Aug. 21: 15th Annual DC Poetry Festival honoring Gil Scott-Heron. The music of Gil Scott-Heron, featuring Giacomo Gates. Hosted by Charlotte Fox with house band Steven B and Friends. Presented by Genesis Poets.
Aug. 22: To be announced
Aug. 28: Movie night with a showing of Rear Window (movie may change due to availability)
Aug. 29: Movie night with a showing of The Wiz (movie may change due to availability)
Sept. 5: 27th Annual DC Blues Festival with Sharrie Williams, James Armstrong, Full Power Blues, Mojo Priests and Jackson & Oziel. (Gates open at noon)
Fort Dupont Park
All shows are free. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and shows begin at 7 p.m. 3600 F St. SE.
July 18: World Music Night with Clan Salsa DC, Eme and Heteru and DJ Lance Reynolds of WPFW’s House of Soul. Concert MC/host: WPFW’s Nancy Alonso.
July 25: Dance and Club Night with CeCe Peniston, DJ Jahsonic and special guest performances. Concert MC/host to be announced.
Aug. 1: Rhythm and Soul Music Night with Cherelle and DJ Lance Reynolds of WPFW’s House of Soul. Concert MC/host: Michel Wright of Majic 102.3.
Aug. 8: Jazz in the Park Night with Marc Cary, Steven B. and Friends, DJ Jahsonic and the Boys & Girls’ Club of DC Jazz Band featuring Tariq. Concert MC/host to be announced.
Photo by Lionjack used under a Creative Commons license.