Down in the Reeds
Healing was the mission of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, so when the Down in the Reeds music festival debuted in 2019 in this space (now called the Parks at Walter Reed), the event founders decided it was appropriate to focus on the healing power of music. After missing a year due to COVID, this free event returns on Oct. 9. The festival offers a full-day lineup of local musicians across three stages, as well as sessions on creative wellness and meditation, and a workshop stage where blues musicians, rappers, and others will sit in on panels and discussions about their artistry and instruments. Additionally, the family-friendly event will feature live art activations, games, a book swap, and more—not to mention locally-based food and beverage options. Musically, the event’s spectrum is wide: Headliner RDGLDGRN is best known for their collaborations with Dave Grohl and Pharrell Williams. Formed in 2011, the Reston-based band mixes rap, pop, and rock. Longtime reggae outfit See-I combine relaxed roots style with more uptempo rhythms of dancehall and hip-hop, while La Marvela specialize in beautiful harmonies over percussion-filled cumbia and bullerengue music from Colombia that’s both folkloric and danceable thanks to maracas, hand-slapped drums, and strummed guitar. Leo Rua, is also from Colombia, but his singer-guitarist style draws from traditional Afro-Colombian sounds along with reggae and hip-hop. Rooted in 1970s Joni Mitchell-style songcraft, Calista Garcia, who appeared on season 16 of NBC’s The Voice, will also play, as will singer-songwriter Brassie, whose inspirations include Billie Eilish and Amy Winehouse in addition to old-school folk rock. The event will finish with an additional rejuvenation activity and jam session via an afterparty eight blocks away at Rhizome DC’s outdoor stage. Down in the Reeds runs Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Parks at Walter Reed, at Georgia Avenue NW and Butternut Street NW. downinthereeds.com. Free.