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It doesn’t take long to realize how much David Fogel loves D.C.
During an interview with Washington City Paper in 2011, he mentioned how his Forward Festival was created to bring tourists up to speed on the city’s burgeoning dance/electronica scene. “We want to show off D.C.,” Fogel said at the time. “Every time we bring people here, they’re impressed. We have a guy flying in from Bermuda.”
Perhaps on purpose then, this year’s Forward Festival, with its extended DJ sets and production tutorials, takes place at one of the city’s main tourist attractions—the Thomas Jefferson Memorial—this weekend. “It’s huge, it’s so epic and monumental, pun intended,” Fogel says. “I grew up here, so the opportunity to present culture at such an historic place is a huge honor and slightly scary.”
The process of bringing Forward Festival to the National Mall was frustrating: At times, Fogel says, his calls to the National Park Service were ignored, and he often had to follow up in person to have his questions answered. Organizers wanted to have the fest there three years ago, after Fogel helped compose dance music for a friend who had a gig at the Jefferson Memorial. “It left a lasting impression on me,” Fogel recalls, “and I knew this is something I wanted to be able to do again.”
So when the party unfolds this Saturday, Fogel plans to celebrate. “In no other city in the world can you host a festival at that memorial,” he says. “I’m gonna sit on those steps and enjoy a nice moment with friends and family.”
The Forward Festival is free, 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.