DC hosts numerous outdoor festivals during the warm summer months, a perfect time to enjoy the city and all it has to offer. Throughout the summer, you’ll find free and budget-friendly performing arts festivals, which reflect DC’s rich arts and culture scene. Audiences are constantly marveling at the eclectic artists, unique events and acclaimed entertainers that regularly perform in and around DC.
DC Jazz Festival: Thousands of music lovers flock to the nation’s capital to attend the annual DC Jazz Festival, which will sport up to 100 jazz performances staged in more than 60 venues throughout the city in 2013. The Hamilton Live will serve as Jazz Fest central with 10 nights of performances including artists such as the Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Stefon Harris & Blackout, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, The Brass-A-Holics Go Go Brass Funk Band and The Brubeck Brothers Quartet – who will pay tribute to the legendary Dave Brubeck. This year’s festival will also feature a performance by the in-house band of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, held at the Kastles Stadium at the Wharf on June 15. The festival offers family programming, too, including Jazz ‘n’ Families Fun Day at the Phillips Collection (June 1-2), with kid-friendly activities like storytelling, art-making workshops and more.
The Source Festival: The Source Festival is a collection of performances unlike anything else happening in the U.S. The festival features original works of theater, dance, music, visual art, film, spoken word and poetry. Each of the festival’s three weeks examines the creative process from a different perspective. Eighteen 10-minute plays, interesting artist collaborations and three full-length plays presented by top DC directors and designers will be featured.
AFI Docs: Discover why DC is sometimes referred to as “Docu-Wood” during AFI Docs, a week of film screenings, lectures and post-film discussions by enterprising filmmakers and free thinkers at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Md.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival: The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall is one of the best ways to get a close-up look at different cultural heritages from around the world. Like all of the surrounding Smithsonian museums, it is open to the public and completely free. Like all of the surrounding Smithsonian museums, it is open to the public and completely free.
Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle: Safeway sponsors the 21st annual National Barbecue Battle, in which thousands of people gather to celebrate (and eat!) the American South’s favorite cuisine. Barbecue teams and restaurants from around the country will compete for more than $40,000 worth of cash and prizes, and for the coveted title of National Barbecue Pork Champion.
Capital Fringe Festival: The rebellious Capital Fringe Festival, an open access, unjuried film festival with all self-produced works, captivates audiences with hundreds of inventive performances by new and established artists. Genres include drama, experimental, comedy and musical theater.