Full Festival Music Lineup for Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival


This is the most exciting time of the year for Listen Local First.  Two huge festivals in the pipeline, but the one we want to brag about in this post is The Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival presented by Whole Foods Market, happening Saturday April 26th on the beautiful Kingman and Heritage Islands.

This is the 5th year the festival is happening.  The first two year were literally a couple hundred neighbors, a keg of beer and a couple neighborhood bands pickin in a circle for a couple hours.  Last year the festival made a major leap with a main stage programmed from 1-8pm, two busking areas, a children stage, over a dozen food trucks, kayaks and nearly 8,000 visitors  attended throughout the day.

This year with the help of some amazing Sponsors, Whole Foods, Events DC and REI to name a few, the festival is well on it’s way to becoming one of the most unique, affordable, outdoor, all local music festivals in the city.  If you join us on the 26th, not only will you get to enjoy 5 stages of live music entertainment (including Children’s stage for families) but you get a Whole Foods game and refreshment tent, REI climbing wall, kayaks and outdoors skills training sessions, BicycleSPACE mini  race course and bike raffle, Boogie Babes children’s stage and craft area for kids, and of course the Food and Beer Trucks.

The music programming for the day will feature two main stages, two island stages, and a children’s stage. Over 30 amazing local musicians will be performing throughout the day. All of these musicians are from the DMV Region and perform around this area on a regular basis.

Take a look at the links below and decide which acts you’ll be checking out at the Festival.  Also check out the events leading up to the main event on April 26th:





1:00pm – 1:35pm Delafield String Band

1:45pm – 2:20pm King Street Bluegrass

2:30pm – 3:05pm Only Lonesome

3:15pm – 3:50pm 19th Street Band

4:00pm – 4:35pm Second String Band

4:45pm – 5:20pm By & By

5:30pm – 6:05pm Sligo Creek Stompers

6:15pm – 7:45pm Hackensaw Boys


Side Stage Artists: Performing in between mainstage acts

Linsay Deming

Jonny Grave

Lea Morris



1:00pm – 1:35pm Ballad’ve

1:50pm – 2:25pm South Rail

2:40pm – 3:15pm Justin Trawick and the Common Good

3:30pm – 4:05pm Junior League Band

4:20 – 5:00pm Vandaveer

5:15pm – 6:00pm Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray


Acre 121 Island Stage – Located at Kingman Island Park Entrance

1:00-2:00pm – Gramophonic

2:00-3:00pm – Nathan Robinson of Roof Beams

3:00-4:00pm – Don Kim

4:00-5:00pm – Pet Parade

5:00-6:00pm -Wes Tucker


Gypsy Sallys Island Stage – Located on the Kingman Island Dock

1:00-2:00pm – Sunrise Review

2:00-3:00pm – The Beanstalk Library (acoustic)

3:00-4:00pm – Karen Jonas

4:00-5:00pm – Victoria Vox

5:00-6:00pm - Hollertown


Boogie Babes Children & Family Stage

1:00pm – The Banjo Man

2:00pm – Bridgette & Dawn

2:45pm – Mr. Skip

3:30pm – Uno, Dos, Tres con Andres

4:15pm Marsha Goodman-Wood

4:45pm Nick Bayard


When:   Saturday April 26th, 12:00pm – 8:00pm

Where:  Kingman Island located on the Anacostia River-

575 Oklahoma Avenue NE Washington, DC (entrance at RFK Stadium Lot 6).

Biking and metro are encouraged. A free shuttle will run from Stadium/Armory Metro Station. Free parking is available in RFK Lot 6.

Who:   The Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival presented byWhole Foods Market is a collaboration between Living Classrooms, Councilman Tommy Wells’ Office, REI, Events DC, Boogie Babes, BicycleSPACE, Listen Local First, Kleen Kanteen, programming partners Gypsy Sallys and Acre 121 and media partner WAMU’s Bluegrass Country. All are welcome to attend.

Cost: $10 suggested donations to support Living Classrooms’ environmental education programming for DC youth on Kingman Island.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at http://kingmanislandbluegrass.eventbrite.com or at area Whole Foods Market stores.


Funk Parade IndieGoGo Launch from Funk Parade on Vimeo.

As many of you already know, Funk Parade is a one-of-a-kind parade, street fair and music festival planned for DC’s U Street neighborhood on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014.  Funk Parade celebrates DC’s vibrant music and arts, the U Street neighborhood, and the Spirit of Funk that brings us all together.

Today Thursday March 13th we launched out Funk Parade Indiegogo Campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/first-dc-funk-parade

Raising $20,000 from the community will help us hold the Funk Parade the city deserves. This money will go to the cost of the parade itself, particularly the police and permits which the city requires, and to the musicians and performers who will make the day amazing.

This isn’t another event to eat corn dogs and watch a band play.  Funk Parade is about collaboration and involvement, about getting up and getting into it together, imagining it and making it what you believe it should be.

What do you get? To reward our Indiegogo participants, we have lots of goodies including great perks from local neighborhood businesses, including:

Special Thanks to Those Who Helped Make This Campaign Happen:

The video is edited by Don Kim with video footage courtesy of Don Kim, Ben Droz and Urban Artistry.  The Funk Parade Theme Song is “How to Start a Band” courtesy of Fort Knox Recordings and Fort Knox Five (featuring Ian Sveononius).  Special thanks to Lettie Gooch, Junction Vintage, Miss Pixie’s, Edge’s Barbershop, Theresa Watts, Kim Jade Fry, and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham.



funky funkerton

REMEMBER: Join Us Tonight Thursday March 13th for the Funk Parade Kickoff Party

Liv Nightclub 2001 12th St NW

Doors open at 8pm

Tickets – funkparade.eventbrite.com


Come join us to celebrate the launch of our Funk Parade Indiegogo campaign with live performances from The Funk Parade All Stars (members of Elikeh, Lucky Dub, Eme & Heteru) aka Ninja Bunny with tons of special musical guests,  DJ Michael Saretsky (TNT) & DJ Nitekrawler (Moneytown) and performances from the Urban Artistry and the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute


Tito’s Vodka will be offering free cocktails to the attendees who purchase our SUPER Supporter Ticket.


Event Page – https://www.facebook.com/events/458857587574647/

Follow Funk Parade on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thefunkparade

Follow Funk Parade on Twitter – @FunkParade

Share the Funk Parade Promo Video  - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bJdGLdBLVQ

Check out our website (created by BrinkMedia) – http://funkparade.com/

Kickoff Events for The Funk Parade and The Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival this Week!

funky funkerton
DC Funk Parade Kickoff Party - Thursday March 13th 
Liv Nightclub 2001 12th St NW
Doors open at 8pm
Come join us to celebrate the launch of our Funk Parade Indiegogo campaign with live performances from The Funk Parade All Stars (members of Elikeh, Lucky Dub, Eme & Heteru) aka Ninja Bunny with tons of special musical guests,  DJ Michael Saretsky (TNT) & DJ Nitekrawler (Moneytown) and more!
ALSO special guest performances from the Urban Artistry and the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute (think Kung Fu Lions and Big Drums!)
Finally Tito’s Vodka will be offering free cocktails to the attendees who purchase our SUPER Supporter Ticket.
Finally keep an eye out for the launch of our Indiegogo campaign which will go live this week.  With your support we can make this event amazing!
*So awesome the Awesome Foundation just gave us a grant! Go Awesome!
Follow Funk Parade on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thefunkparade
Follow Funk Parade on Twitter – @FunkParade
Share the Funk Parade Promo Video 
Check out our website (created by BrinkMedia) - http://funkparade.com/
Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival Kickoff Party - Saturday March 15th
Gypsy Sallys – 3401 K St NW 
This evening filled with amazing local folk and bluegrass music marks six weeks until the largest local music festival in the District of Columbia. The 5th Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival presented by Whole Foods Market is happening on Saturday April 26th on DC’s very own Kingman and Heritage islands. For all information on the festival line up, activities and tickets please visit http://www.kingmanislandbluegrass.com/ 
The Festival will be announcing its full line up at the March 15th Show and will be offering first buyer special ticket deals for all show attendees.  
Follow KI Bluegrass Fest on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/KIBluegrassFest
Follow the Fest on Twitter – @KIBluegrassFest

Funk Parade Kickoff Party

funk poster

Listen Local First in conjunction with Funk Parade presents: An Extravaganza in the Spirit of Funk

Come join us at Liv Nightclub Thursday, March 13th to celebrate the final stretch of Funk Parade planning and to kickoff our fundraising efforts!

This celebration will feature *for one night only* The Funk Parade All-Star Band (aka Ninja Bunny), including members of Elikeh, Lucky Dub, Eme & Heteru & special guests!

PLUS DJ Michael Saretsky (TNT) & DJ Nitekrawler (Moneytown) and more!

The Funk Parade is a one of a kind sidewalk fair, parade and evening music festival happening on Saturday May 3rd throughout the U Street Corridor.  In order to put on this unbelievable event we need to raise money to cover the costs of permits, security, and payment for musicians and artists.  This night of celebration also marks the launch of the Funk Parade Indie GoGo Fan Funding Campaign.  Stay tuned for more information, donation opportunities, and great give-aways.

Ticket Linkfunkparade.eventbrite.com

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 day of event, and $50 supporter. Doors are at 8 pm. Come enjoy an extra funky Thursday night at Liv and help make Funk Parade happen!

Listen Local First Presents Two Millennium Stage Shows


Listen Local First presents two Kennedy Center Millennium Stage shows this month:


Tuesday, February 11th, 6pm: In collaboration with Multiflora Production, we present Hailu Mergia with guests Low Mentality

In the 1970s, Hailu Mergia was a famous African funk musician in Ethiopia performing with the group the Walias Band. In 1981, the group performed in the United States and Mergia, along with a few other bandmates, remained in the country to avoid returning to their homeland’s toxic dictatorship. Today he’s been picked up by the label Awesome Tapes from Africa which has allowed him to continue his solo accordion career with synthetic accompaniment. Mergia will be joined by Low Mentality, which is known for its beat and bass heavy reinterpretation of non-American music.

For more information:

Awesome Tapes from Africa’s blog

For more on Low Mentality, see their Official Website

Check out the Facebook Event Page 


Wednesday, February 12th, 6pm: Listen Local First presents Nappy Riddem

“Since releasing their debut album on Fort Knox Recordings in 2011, NAPPY RIDDEM has been busy touring nationwide and releasing a string of remixes, transforming itself into an uplifting and conscious reggae band that is funky enough to pack the dancefloor. Started by Mustafa Akbar and Rex Riddem, NAPPY RIDDEM is now joined in the studio and on stage by drummer Jon Modell as part of their 6-piece live band.

The Rock Steady EP contains four upbeat reggae tracks that represent NAPPY RIDDEM’s fresh new sound! The EP starts off strong with a track that shows the group is serious about the healing of the nation. “I Wish” is a deep and meaningful track that reaches the soulful depth of Mustafa Akbar’s vocals. The title track, “Rock Steady” oozes positivity with a groovy, rocksteady vibe, and features Rex Riddem on Ukulele and lead vocals. Keeping the dance vibe going is “Rastaman”, rudeboy defiance on top of an irresistible stepping beat results in pure fire! Closing out the EP is “Red Blood”, featuring Brittany Tanner on additional vocals, a emotional ballad for the people, it is sweet and full of soul.

The Nappy Riddem sound has developed into its own brand of “Dancehall Funk” that moves bodies, hearts, and minds. The Rock Steady EP represents a new beginning for this exciting band from Washington, DC. Reggae for the dancefloor, messages for the people, and fresh beats for the heads.”

(Quoted from their official website)

For more information:

Check out the Facebook Event Page here

Nappy Riddem Website 



LLF Partners to bring you The DC Funk Parade May 3, 2014


The LLF team is proud to finally announce our newest partnership and #DCMusic event!!!!

This morning we launched the The Official Funk Parade Website as well as our Twitter (@FunkParade) and Facebook pages. After months of planning and anticipation, Listen Local First, the founding partners, and over 70+ supporting local businesses, civic leaders, and neighborhood organizations are finally spreading the word of the Funk!

The planned event has three parts: a street fair by day, the mighty Funk Parade in the afternoon, and a music festival in the evening.  The events will be rich in music and art, and will honor both the neighborhood and the spirit of funk, “the subatomic particle of love,” which brings people together and makes them feel all right. The date, May 3, is the 211th anniversary of the District’s incorporation.

“Bringing people together in the spirit of music and celebration is part of what makes the U Street neighborhood a crown jewel of the city,” said D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1).  “I’m proud to support this unique event.”

Funk Parade is supported by a broad group of leaders, businesses and community groups, from Councilmember Graham, Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Howard Theater to ANC 1B, U Street Music Hall, the Brixton, Bohemian Caverns, Blind Dog Cafe, Twins Jazz, WJLA Channel 7 and dozens more. For a full list of supporters, click here.

Please help us spread the DC Funk Parade word by following us on Twitter and Facebook and sharing http://funkparade.com/ on your own social media and with all of your friends!!

Please feel free to contact the team at funk@funkparade.com.

And finally, get funky:


Fair Trade Music Event at IOTA Jan. 22


Listen Local First is partnering with Metro Music Source and Fair Trade Music DC to present a networking and roundtable  discussion event at IOTA Club & Cafe on January 22nd beginning at 6 pm. The featured discussion topic will be Fair Trade Music DC, a community initiative aimed at developing local standards for equitable relationships between musicians and venues in the DC metro area.

Come network with other musicians and music industry professionals, and take part in our focus group discussions where you’ll have an opportunity to share your experiences dealing with DMV area music venues on topics ranging from payment to parking. You’ll also be able to take the Fair Trade Music venue survey, which helps us gather the right data so we can all promote and patronize the venues that treat musicians right.

Informal networking starts at 6pm, and we’ll break into groups for facilitated discussion around 7pm.  Afterwards, everyone is invited to continue mingling, or even sign up for the Iota open mic!

To find out more, visit  www.fairtrademusicdc.org and please take a moment to fill out our 100% anonymous survey.  All it asks is that you select a venue you have played at within the last 6 months and fill in the bubbles that apply to your experience there. You may (and are encouraged to!) fill out the survey for multiple venues you’ve played within the 6 month time frame.

To RSVP, visit the Facebook event page.

Hope to see you there!


About Metro Music Source:

Supporting the DC area’s vibrant music community for over 4 years, the monthly Metro Music Source event series provides opportunities for the local music community to come together, network, and discuss topics of the day in a relaxed atmosphere, encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst music creators and music professionals.

About Fair Trade Music DC:

Fair Trade Music is a community organizing initiative that advocates for fairness and transparency in the local live music industry, with educational outreach and positive recognition of participating community members.

POST by Listen Local Warrior – Becca Higgins

Our Best of 2013 Picks, Looking Ahead to 2014 and more….

‘Tis the season to highlight some of the bigger artists and album releases  of 2013! Here’s the Listen Local First Best of 2013 round up:




Top DC Local Artists and Albums of 2013:

Here is the Brightest Young Things Post on DC Music in 2013 - http://brightestyoungthings.com/articles/top-20-dc-albums-of-2013.htm

1. GEMS,  Medusa EP


2. Beautiful Swimmers,  Son

3. The Walking Sticks, Send The Night


4. Deathfix, Deathfix


5. Paperhaus, Lo Hi Lo


6. South Rail, South Rail EP


7. The Morrison Brothers, State of the Union


8. ACME, Synths, Beats, & Psychedelia




10. Mission South, Migration Vol. 2


11. Asheru, Sleepless in Soweto


12. Oddisee , The Beauty in All


13. Laura Tsaggaris, Everyman


14. Cherry Tree, The EP


15. Priests, Tape Two


16. The Cowards Choir, Reunion EP


17. Paint Branch,  I Wanna Live


18. Young Summer, Fever Dream EP


19. Wale, The Gifted


20. Vandaveer , Oh Willie Please



Acts to Pay Attention To in 2014: 

The Walking Sticks

 the walking sticks photo 3

These guys burst on to the DC scene this fall.  While the Ernst brothers have been playing around the area for a while but the addition of frontwoman Chelsea Lee as electrified this three piece indie pop powerhouse.  They have played a couple shows over the past couple months but wait for new








Yes they were all over the Vans Warped Tour this summer but I predict with some new tunes to come these three will be making a bigger splash in 2014 than they did in 2013.





B Side Shuffle


Wonks that jam.  Though it might not be your favorite genre every city needs their go to jammers.  Opening for Everyones Orchestra gave these guys a whole platform to jump off and exposed them to a much larger local music fan base.  They also seem to have taken up the title of go to party band around the city.  Let’s see what happens.




Cherry Tree

Cherry Tree

This is my total shot in the dark pick.  Yet another trio.  These guys are amazing live performances and have a complete throwback rock and roll sound.  I hope that 2014 is the year that other people start to see how awesome and talented these guys are.





ONE MORE: Band I hope records something new in 2014

The Tender Thrill

 Tender Thrill

I love their last album and I hope they put out more music in 2014.





And for your listening pleasure, a Local DC Spotify mix:




Black Alley

Black Alley Band

WEBSITES: www.blackalleyband.comBlackAlley.bandcamp.com

For more than five years now, BLACK ALLEY has been pushing the art of music to its rhythmic limits. Determined to create a unique musical elixir, BLACK ALLEY has taken the finest ingredients of funk, jazz, soul, and rock to create a sound and genre all their own; they call it “Soul Garage”. The band is one, each musician surrendering to the union of sounds, each delivering music from their soul, while they are in dialogue with one another through their instruments.  Each member of this septet is essential to the workability and funkability of the unit which is BLACK ALLEY.

BLACK ALLEY has become one of the most followed, trendsetting and sought-after music groups hailing from the nation’s capital.  With endorsements from national recording artists such as Grammy Award nominee Raheem DeVaughn, Hip Hop standouts Big KRIT & Wale, and the legendary Sheila E, Black Alley is untouchable, striving to rock harder and heavier each time they unite and contribute to the greater good of music. BLACK ALLEY has been honored to share the stage with renowned artists like Common, Erykah Badu, Hiatus Kaiyote, Wale, Gin Blossoms, Marsha Ambrosius, Meek Mill, Drake, Raheem DeVaughn, Bilal, Tabi Bonney, Busta Rhymes, Scarface, and Chrisette Michele just to name a few.

BLACK ALLEY has been featured on various media outlets to include OkayplayerEarMilkThatsEnuff.com,  Washington City Paper, and Washington Post. BLACK ALLEY’s music catalog contains two critically acclaimed independent releases. In 2012, the band released “Soul. Swagger. Rock. Sneakers”. The 16-track compilation features original music from BlackAlley in collaboration with Raheem DeVaughn, Nicholas Ryan Gant and Phil Ade.  Their follow up album, “Black Alley: Live from the RNR Hotel” is the live recording project chronicling their powerful performance at their SOLD OUT album release event. Both albums are available on iTunes and BlackAlley.Bandcamp.com.


The video for their single “Artist Prayer” is in heavy rotation on VH1 Soul and the video for their single “Bad Girl” recently debuted exclusively on MTVHive.com.

Mission South

k I think this one is good

WEBSITES: www.music.missionsouth.com


Washington DC-based band, Mission South, is a group with roots planted firmly in both past and present. Members Dan Miller (guitar/vocals), John Beck (bass/vocals) and Max Harwood (drums) met in the fourth grade and grew up within walking distance of each other’s homes. The boys remained best friends throughout grade school, making music together all the while, but it was not until 2012 that the three officially joined forces under the name Mission South.
The band’s undeniable chemistry can be felt in their music, which much like their story, bridges the gap between old and new. On their sophomore EP, “Migration Vol. 2,” Mission South effortlessly fuses classic blues and folk styles with more modern colors and tones, for a sound that is raw, soulful, and adventurous. The three-part “Migration” series (“Vol. 3″ scheduled for release in Summer 2014) will capture Mission South’s journey as they transform a young dream into a professional endeavor, all the while, never forgetting their roots. less