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The National Park Service late Thursday afternoon updated the Fort Dupont Park concert schedule to include a list of performers. They have also released some data regarding the funding of the concert programs in response to questions earlier raised by the City Paper. Previously, as City Paper reported, the website only listed music genres for the four shows.
The Fort Dupont slate opens July 18 with a concert featuring two locally based, international music acts—one salsa and one Afro-roots—followed in subsequent weeks by danceclub singer CeCe Peniston; R&B vocalist Cherelle; and a final jazz event with D.C.-raised, New York City-based keyboardist Marc Cary, D.C.-based openers Steven B. & Friends, and a special performance by the Boys & Girls’ Club of DC Jazz Band Featuring Tariq Al-Sabir. The full schedule is listed below. Absent from this summer’s program is jazz-funk musician Roy Ayers, a frequent performer at the park. He was so enamored of the venue that he wrote a song called “Fort Dupont Park.” Also missing are the early ’70s-rooted soul and late-’70s funk acts that from 2002 to 2012 were mainstays of Fort Dupont summer performances.
NPS spokesperson Jennifer Anzelmo-Sarles also informed City Paper that despite the agency’s financial issues, Fort Dupont’s budget increased from $90,000 in 2014 to $120,000 this year. Carter Barron’s posted 2015 schedule, which currently includes no announced national acts, is funded this year via a $216,000 budget—the same as last year’s budget. Anzelmo-Sarles nonetheless asserted that “declining and stagnant budgets compounded by increased operational costs have contributed to reduced schedules.”
With Fort Reno Park’s concert drama taking center stage, the reduced and late-starting programming at Fort Dupont and Carter Barron has more or less gone unnoticed. There’s been little pressure on the NPS over the last few years to figure out ways to once again create—and fund—more comprehensive programming. Fort Dupont’s programming in the ’80s received additional funding from private sponsors like RJ Reynolds; Carter Barron had ticketed, money-making shows for years operated by outside promoters. But if no one at NPS prioritizes filling these venues all summer long, little will change.
Fort Dupont 2015 Schedule
July 18—World Music Night, featuring Clan Salsa DC, Eme and Heteru; DJ: Lance Reynolds, WPFW, House of Soul; Concert MC/Host: Nancy Alonso, WPFW Gates Open at 5:30 p.m., DJ from 6 p.m. and between sets, concert from 7–9 p.m.
July 25—Dance and Club Night, featuring: Cece Peniston and special guest performances; DJ: Jahsonic; Concert MC/Host: To be announced Gates Open at 5:30 p.m., DJ from 6 p.m. and between sets, concert from 7–9 p.m.
August 1—Rhythm and Soul Music Night, featuring Cherelle and special guest performances; DJ: Lance Reynolds, WPFW House of Soul; Concert MC/Host: Michel Wright, Majic 102.3 Gates Open at 5:30 p.m., DJ from 6 p.m. and between sets; concert from 7–9 p.m.
August 8—Jazz in the Park Night; featuring Marc Cary, Steven B. and Friends, with a special performance by the Boys & Girls’ Club of DC Jazz Band Featuring Tariq Al-Sabir; DJ: Jahsonic; Concert MC/Host: To be announced Gates Open at 5:30 p.m., DJ from 6 p.m. and between sets; concert from 7–9 p.m.
Photo courtesy National Park Service