Clarence Turner plays Glen Echo's Summer Concert Series
Photo courtesy of Clarence Turner

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Glen Echo Summer Concert Series

Glen Echo Park has been entertaining D.C. area residents for 130 years, first as an education center, then as an amusement park, and for the past half-century as a family-friendly hub for arts and culture. Today, the park’s art deco buildings are home to 13 resident artists and organizations, two children’s theaters, and numerous art galleries, among other attractions. With these spaces come a plethora of events, including an annual summer concert series. Now in its second decade running, the series showcases local performers from a wide range of genres. This year, the Glen Echo’s summer concerts run through Sept. 9, with music filling what was once the park’s bumper car pavilion each Thursday night. On July 1, things kicked off with reggae by I & I Riddim. Up next, on July 8, Clarence “The Blues Man” Turner will deliver soulful guitar lines accompanied by his band on bass, drums, keys, saxophone, and horns. Turner first picked up his instrument at age 8 and has since become a fixture in the D.C. blues scene. If you’re lucky, you might catch him substituting a cellphone or harmonica for a pick. As he says on his website, “Why use a pick when there are so many other interesting things to use?” Other summer concerts will feature the West African stylings of Amadou Kouyate (July 29) and Russian melodies from the Washington Balalaika Society (Aug. 12). In a positive continuation of last year’s digital series, the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture will stream each show on YouTube Live. Glen Echo’s summer concerts begin every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. RSVP (preferred but not required) at Free.