Cool concert T-shirt? Check. Backpack filled with water and power bars? Check. Diaper bag and baby sling? Whaaa? Sure! Don’t bid farewell to the days of summer music festivals just because you have a baby on board and a couple of toddlers in tow. Whether you love jazz, hip hop, blues, funk, alternative or punk, the D.C. area has a wide array of family-friendly music shows throughout the summer months. Just load up the mini-van and go!
Photo: Rene Passet
D.C. Jazz Fest
You don’t have to be a Jazz connoisseur to enjoy the huge array of performers at this very popular music festival. This year will feature more than 125 performances at 40+ venues in an amazing mix of emerging and master-level talent that include more than 90 bands and 300 artists. Headliners include the Grammy winning vocalist Gregory Porter, Robert Glasper Experiment, Korean sensation pianist Youngjoo Song, Lori Williams, Ola Onabule, Kandace Springs, the hip-hop group Black Violin, and the New Century Jazz Quintet.
355 Water St., SE (Capitol Riverfront)
When: June 9th – 18th
Cost: $39 and up
Mike Seeger Commemorative Old Time Banjo Festival
Indulge in some of the best banjo music the genre has to offer at The Mike Seeger Commemorate Old Time Banjo Festival featuring Tony Trischka, Kaia Kater, Michael Miles, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. The Birchmere is an excellent family-friendly venue that allows you to get up close and personal with some of today’s most accomplished musical talents, while enjoying dinner in an intimate setting. The menu features everything from patty melts to salmon entrees to pot roast and flat bread pizza.
The Birchmere Music Hall
3701 Mount Vernon Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
When: June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Tinner Hill Blues Festival
The 24th Annual Blues Fest features three days of all kinds of blues music for all ages at a variety of local Falls Church, Virginia venues. Kick it off with Blues, Brews and BBQ at Mad Fox Brewing Company, and then pop in to different restaurants along Broad Street for Blues on Broad performances. Saturday will offer several family-friendly events including a performance by Southbound Steel at the Falls Church Farmers Market, a magic show with Lorenzo the Magician at the Mary Riley Styles Library, and a musical workshop for young and old with Tas Cru at the Community Center. The final day of the festival features a free Gospel Fest and picnic at the Tinner Hill Historic Site. Bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs and settle in for performances by Carter Singers & The Barbour Travelers, Susan R. Carter, guitarist Damon Foreman and more. Enjoy free lemonade and sweet tea, plus food for sale catered by the Fisherman Café of Second Baptist Church.
Various venues (Falls Church, Va)
When: June 9-11
Cost: $25 and up; free/kids under 12
Columbia Pike Blues Fest
Three-time Grammy Award nominee Bettye LaVette headlines this free festival full of blues, R&B and funk performers, including Jonny Grave, Sol Roots, Full Power Blues Band, and Rufus Roundtree and Da B’More Brass Factory. You can’t go wrong with great music, local food, arts and crafts. Participating food vendors include Moroccan cuisine from Mazagan and Nigerian cuisine from Suya to Go, plus Bubble Tea Licious, Mac’s Donuts, and Sloppy Mama’s BBQ. Arlington Arts will feature family-friendly hands on art activities for the kids.
When: June 17, 1 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Vans Warped Tour – Presented by Journeys
Billed as a “punk rock summer camp” on wheels, this alternative music fest caters to fans of all ages who love punk, alternative, hip-hop, ska, pop punk, electronical, emo, hardcore and more. Feature performers include The Acacia Strain, The Ataris, Big D and The Kids Table, Stacked Like Pancakes, Too Close to Touch, and many more.
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. (Columbia, Md)
When: July 16, 11 a.m.
Cost: $29-$52; kids under 16, free with a paying adult
Summer Spirit Festival Weekend Passes
This popular family-friendly festival highlights the best of soul, R&B, jazz, hip hop, and Go Go. Featured artists include Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Bell Biv DeVoe, Fantasia and SWV, along with iconic fan favorites such as De La Soul, Guy featuring Teddy Riley, Common, and more.
10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. (Columbia, Md)
When: August 6th – 7th
Cost: $54 – $1,170
Do you know about any other kid friendly music festivals? Tell us in the comments section below.