Fall is here. And with it, the usual staples; cool temperatures, bronzing leaves, and pumpkin-spiced everything. But in recent years in D.C., a new fall staple has emerged: All Things Go’s Fall Classic, a music festival that boasts a diverse lineup of artists and bands that range from national headliners—like Tove Lo, Future Islands, and Kygo—to fresh local talent. And this Saturday, it kicks off its third iteration—its biggest yet.
But before the festival, All Things Go made its niche in D.C. with more humble beginnings: a music blog. Founded by Will Suter, Stephen Vallimarescu, Zack Friendly, and Adrian Maseda, All Things Go launched in 2006—the height of the music blog boom. “This was back in the days where you can post MP3’s or ZIPs of entire albums,” says Suter. “It was kind of a very different music climate… so our ethos has kind of been we only post what we like.”
By 2010, All Things Go had successfully generated a healthy online community through their intricate coverage of music via exclusive interviews, playlists, and more. But they’d kind of hit a ceiling as a music blog. That’s where the idea emerged to start hosting events around D.C., partnering up with venues like 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall, and The Fillmore Silver Spring.
But in 2014, the All Things Go set its sights on something bigger: a music festival. “It was definitely a big jump for us to go from the 9:30 Club, which holds about 1,200 people, to doing 3,000 people in 2014” Suter says. “[But] we wanted to give our fans and readers something bigger to latch on to, as well as our artists a bigger platform and be able to reach more people in a unique way.”
All Things Go kicked off their first Fall Classic at Union Market’s Dock 5 with alternative pop singer Tove Lo and the Baltimore synth-pop band Future Islands, headlining the festival. It was a lineup that represented the kind of music coverage All Things Go became known for. “The fact that we were able to bring those two together in one lineup is really what the festival and blog is all about, so it was really cool to get artists with that level and at that magnitude to really take a chance on us,” Suter says.
All Things Go established positive relationships with these artists during their years of covering them, but they weren’t known for throwing big festivals at the time, which made the risk for their grand endeavor a bit higher. Fortunately, the 2014 Fall Classic was a big success, and generated enough momentum for it to return last year, again at Dock 5, with Kygo, The Knocks, and Penguin Prison headlining. The festival also hosted some of the city’s most popular food spots like Maketto, TaKorean, and Dolcezza.
It sold out last year, which meant that All Things Go had to find an even bigger venue: This year’s Fall Classic will be held at the Yards Park near the Nationals Park, and will feature Empire of The Sun, Passion Pit, and Sylvan Esso as headliners, along side Maryland’s own Ace Cosgrove. The festival also teamed up with food blog The Infatuation to select a broad range of food options, including Beefsteak, Shake Shack, and DGS.
The Fall Classic might be growing, but its lineup still represents the broad spectrum of sound that All Things Go is known for. Suter says that “it’s the type of thing where because it’s the thing we do—we have the website, we do the events [and] have our fingers on the pulse—we’re trying to expose a lot of the diverging and developing artists to as many people in D.C. as we can.”
Much like Broccoli City Fest, Sweetlife, and Trillectro, the Fall Classic is another festival trying to make D.C. more a music festival town. “[We’re] all similar in kind of the independent nature” Suter says. “I feel like the hustle that we all have, we all kind of work together, we all strategize together to build this kind of culture in D.C.”
The All Things Go Fall Classic takes place Oct. 8 at the Yards Park, 355 Water St. SE. $75-$150.