Concerts and Festivals: Editor’s Picks

May 23-24, 2016 – Mac DeMarco at the 9:30 Club

Over the past 10 years, Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco has cultivated one of the most distinctive sounds of the indie genre, combining soft, echoing guitar arrangements with lazy, lo-fi vocals in what some have described as “slacker rock.” Earlier this month, DeMarco released his third full-length studio album, “This Old Dog,” a strong addition to his repertoire that both showcases the singer’s growing lyrical prowess and highlights his more introspective side.

MAC DEMARCO

MAC DEMARCO

DeMarco will take stage at the 9:30 Club twice this May, alongside supporting act Tonstartssbandht, an American psychedelic rock duo. DeMarco’s show promises to deliver a laid-back listening experience, as the singer plays fan-favorite hits like “Salad Days” and “Cooking Up Something Good,” as well as popular tracks from his latest album, such as “My Old Man.” For those unfamiliar with the indie rock scene, going to one of DeMarco’s concerts this summer — or any show at the 9:30 Club — may just be the perfect foray into the genre and D.C.’s vibrant alternative music scene.

Mac DeMarco plays at the 9:30 Club on May 23 and May 24. The concerts begin at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased for $35 through the venue’s official website.

June 9-18, 2016 – DC Jazz Festival

Although music lovers often associate the origin of jazz solely with the city of New Orleans, jazz music also has many of its roots in the nation’s capital. The District, in fact, is the birthplace of a number of legends of the genre, most prominently the iconic Duke Ellington, who fused a variety of musical styles to create a form of jazz still popular today. The D.C. Jazz Festival, originally named the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, has been held each summer since 2005 to celebrate the historical and cultural significance of jazz and simply to provide fun summertime entertainment.

DCJAZZFEST

DCJAZZFEST

Visitors can attend over 125 performances by more than 300 soloists and 90 bands, up-and-coming and long-established musical acts alike. Over the two weeks, special events will be held at a number of landmark spots in D.C., including the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, Howard Theatre and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Other performances will be held at restaurants, clubs and hotels across the city, allowing jazz musicians to incorporate their art with other aspects of culture and day-to-day life in the District.

The D.C. Jazz Festival is scheduled from June 9 to 18. Events are scheduled at over 40 different locations and venues; a full itinerary is available at http://dcjazzfest.org/schedule.

June 13, 2016 – July 16, 2016 – “The Sound of Music” at the Kennedy Center

SOUND OF MUSIC

SOUND OF MUSIC

“The Sound of Music” has enjoyed enormous success since its Broadway debut in 1959 and has been reproduced a number of times since: most notably, in 1965, in the Academy Award-winning film adaptation starring Julie Andrews. The Kennedy Center’s production promises a fresh take on the time-honored story of Maria Rainer and the Von Trapp family, under the direction of three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien. O’Brien’s production, with a run time of 160 minutes — including a brief 20-minute intermission — will delight audiences of all ages as it delivers one of world’s most beloved musical scores. The production may just be one of D.C.’s “favorite things” this year!

“The Sound of Music” will run from June 13 to July 16 at the Opera House in the Kennedy Center. Tickets range from $39 to $149, and can be purchased online at the Kennedy Center’s website.

June 14-18, 2016 – AFI Docs

AFI DOCS

AFI DOCS

Every summer, the American Film Institute and the Discovery Channel join forces to host AFI Docs, an international documentary film festival held in Silver Spring, Md., and Washington, D.C. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, the five-day event is dedicated to giving artists and filmmakers a platform to share their eye-opening stories with diverse audiences and to connect with others who share their beliefs. This year, AFI Docs will represent 28 countries by highlighting 103 films, a number of which will premiere at the festival. Among the most anticipated documentaries this year are “Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” which follows former Vice President Al Gore’s fight against climate change, and “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” which celebrates Whitney Houston’s legacy and explores the late singer’s personal struggles. AFI Docs hosts a number of special events in addition to these screenings, including the Impact Lab and AFI Docs Forum, both of which aim to promote the power of film to spark political and social movement.

AFI Docs runs from June 14 to 18 at several locations in Silver Spring, Md., and Washington, D.C. Tickets can be purchased at AFI.com/afidocs.

Begins on June 29 – Smithsonian Folklife Festival

SMITHSONIAN FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL

SMITHSONIAN FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival has long served as a symbol of cultural exchange and awareness in the District. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, the two-week celebration is held around the Fourth of July holiday, enhancing its message of national and cultural pride. Hosted by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the festival is open to the public, drawing more than a million participants from across the country and globe, including artisans and tradition bearers from every state and nearly 90 countries, as well as a number of cultural groups, particularly from the Native American community. Throughout the day, visitors can enjoy musical and narrative performances, artistic exhibitions and foods from other cultures. This year, special programs will highlight youth and migration, as well as the rich history of circus arts in the United States. Smithsonian Folklife is one of the most engaging and enjoyable ways to learn more about other cultures. The best part? It all happens in the nation’s diverse capital, giving local residents the chance to have a taste of travel all in their own backyard — the National Mall.

The festival is free and runs from June 29 to July 4 and July 6 to 9. The schedule of events will be posted in early June on the festival’s official website.

 July 21 – Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. at the Verizon Center

KENDRICK LAMAR

KENDRICK LAMAR

Kendrick Lamar has more than earned his title as one of the greatest artists in the hip-hop scene today. With seven Grammy Awards under his belt, he has established his legacy as a socially conscious rapper with a prolific and powerful message. Lamar’s fourth studio album, “DAMN.,” released in April, received universal critical acclaim, making fans more excited than ever to see the rapper perform. Lamar’s tour, produced by Live Nation, launches in Phoenix on July 12 and will stop at D.C.’s Verizon Center on July 21. The tour will feature special guest artists Travis Scott, who collaborated with Lamar on Scott’s track “Goosebumps” earlier this year, and D.R.A.M.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through Kendrick Lamar’s official website; prices begin at $105.

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