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Fans of the Funk Parade, the five-year-old annual music festival and parade on U Street NW, were distraught when they learned that it likely would not happen in 2017.
“Heartbroken to hear this,” one commenter wrote on Facebook. “I look forward to Funk Parade like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning.”
Christmas morning will come once again for that commenter, for the Funk Parade is back on. A month after the announcement that it was probably not going to happen because of a lack of funding, Funk Parade organizers announced yesterday that they’ve raised enough money to keep it going. This year’s parade and festival will take place on May 12.
How much, exactly? More than $60,000 in the past month, organizers say—enough to close the budget shortfall, through an additional grant from the city, donations from businesses, including Uber and Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center, and a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $20,000 from nearly 500 donors.
“I’m excited and grateful,” says Justin Rood, one of the event’s co-founders. “Things started to gain momentum, and it showed that this means a lot to a lot of people.”
The largest influx of money came from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, which pledged an additional $25,000 from the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on top of the money the city government already provides through the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment.
The initial shortfall stemmed in part from an inability to secure sponsorships from developers and corporations like in previous years. This year, the city government will be supporting the event at a higher level than in any years past, according to Rood
“Obviously, Mayor Bowser believes DC has the funk,” the Mayor’s press secretary Latoya Foster said in an email. “We gotta have the funk!”
The event may be slightly smaller than past iterations, but will still feature the parade, day fair, night-time music festival in more than a dozen venues, and a ticketed concert at U Street’s Lincoln Theater.
In acknowledgment of the 50-year anniversary of Resurrection City, the Civil Rights protest camp of 3,000 people who took up temporary shelter on the National Mall for more than a month, the D.C. Public Library plans to get involved with a project called the Soul Tent.
The project will use archival photographs and recordings to create installations and a space for musical collaboration and conversation, says librarian Maggie Gilmore.
The first protesters arrived at Resurrection City on May 12, the same date as this year’s parade.