Fort Reno 2016 In Danger? Not So Fast, Organizer Says

By Ally Schweitzer

After two years of bumps, what's going on with this summer's Fort Reno concert series?
After two years of bumps, what's going on with this summer's Fort Reno concert series? Mike Maguire

The popular summer concert series in D.C.’s Fort Reno Park has been going through a rough patch. After two years of near-cancellations, the 2016 season appears to be in jeopardy, too.

As Washingtonian reported last week, Fort Reno organizer Amanda MacKaye still has not filed a permit application to the National Park Service, raising questions about whether she plans to book any shows in the federally controlled park this summer. MacKaye also has not solicited music submissions, which she usually does earlier in the year, Washingtonian points out.

But MacKaye says Fort Reno fans have no reason to worry yet. “There is no story here,” she writes in a brief email to WAMU. “It would appear on the Internet that liberty has been taken to create a controversy where there is none. Things are just moving slower on my end.”

MacKaye still has time to submit a permit application for use of the Tenleytown park this summer, says a National Park Service spokesperson.

“She can submit the application at least 48 hours in advance of the proposed event,” the spokesperson says, though it’s wiser to apply earlier. She adds that MacKaye has been in touch with NPS permit office staff.

For the last two years, the 48-year-old public concert series has faced insecurity after the National Park Service began requiring that a U.S. Park Police officer monitor each concert — a standard requirement that may have been overlooked in the past, a spokesperson said at the time.

MacKaye initially responded by calling off Fort Reno’s 2014 season, saying the $2,640 security fee outstripped Fort Reno’s budget. In 2015, she asked for donations to help defray the cost of a Park Police officer.

Both concert seasons ultimately survived.

Photo by Flickr user Mike Maguire used under a Creative Commons license.