Bullpen near Nats Park hosts ‘Blast from the Past’ decade music fest

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Blast from the Past' at The Bullpen (Jason Fraley)

The Washington Nationals may be on a road trip in Cincinnati this weekend, but the area around Nats Park will still be hopping with food, drinks and nostalgic live music on Saturday.

The Bullpen, also known as the Half Street Fairgrounds surrounded by Navy Yard shipping containers, is hosting the D.C. Decades Festival themed “Blast from the Past” from 4-9 p.m.

“It’s right outside of Nats Park, which to me says summertime,” organizer Cathy DiToro said. “You’re gonna hear music you know, smell the nostalgia and feel the summer vibes of the ballpark. There’s gonna be people dressed up, you’ll be able to grab drinks, you’ll have food trucks, just the playful, whimsical energy of a family barbecue. What’s going to set it apart is the fact that we are opening it up to all ages and having a bunch of kids running around.”

DiToro knows the local music scene as well as anyone, performing in multiple cover bands, best known for The Legwarmers. So, she hit the Rolodex to round up her favorite local acts.

“I’m a full-time musician around the D.C. metro area,” DiToro said. “One of my bandmates and I thought that it would be really fun to do an all-ages event that celebrates nostalgia in music throughout the decades, starting with the music of the ’80s, into the ’90s and into the 2000s.”

Your favorite ’80s tunes will be spun by DJ Blakberri.

“DJ Blakberri is an incredible local DJ,” DiToro said. “She spins all over D.C. We’ve done a few events with her before and she just brings the best energy of any DJ I’ve seen in recent years. She dresses up, she’s larger than life, she has a wonderful personality, she’s super fun, she’s great at getting the crowd hyped. She does all her own playlists, is good at playing the popular songs, the transitions are smooth, she really is just such a great hype woman. … We can definitely expect to hear some Madonna, Bon Jovi, Queen and if I had to guess Pat Benatar.”

DiToro’s own cover band Party Like It’s will cover the ’90s.

“Party Like It’s is a really high-energy D.C. cover band that started off doing ska covers of popular songs,” DiToro said. “It evolved into doing some originals but also doing this ’90s set for a while now. I know there’s going to be some Nirvana, but also representation of ’90s hip-hop with Snoop Dogg, then a little representation of the late ’90s boy bands and girl bands.”

Finally, the cover band So Fetch will tackle the 2000s.

“So Fetch is purely early 2000s,” DiToro said. “We’re at that point in society where this is a thing that’s coming! It’s about that time when the ’00s are coming around. You can expect Outkast, probably some Eminem in there, and then you can’t leave off the pop-punk, you know Blink 182, Sum 41 and maybe even a little Avril Lavigne action. That kind of stuff.”

There will also be a costume contest with a cash prize for one winner per decade.

“When I think ’80s I immediately think legwarmers, washed faded denim, side ponytails,” DiToro said. “You can go the neon route and just off-the-shoulder T-shirts. You can basically cut up an old T-shirt, hang it off your shoulder and throw your hair in a side pony. [Or] you can go all-out with the whole Stay Puft or Marty McFly if you want to actually take on a character.”

Any suggestions for ’90s garb?

“My mind immediately goes to things like flannel shirts, the grunge area, overalls, just a lot of colorful patterns, Air Jordans,” DiToro said. “Think boy bands, Britney Spears, NSync, oversized baggy jeans and flared bell-bottom jeans for girls — low-cut of course.”

And for 2000s, think of the recent past.

“Juicy Couture track suits always pop into my mind [for women] and for guys, puka-shell necklaces. You can’t sleep on the puka-shells,” DiToro said. “Button-up Abercrombie and Hollister and all of those shirts with witty phrases on them. Graphic T’s were so big.”

Tickets are $15 pre-sale or $20 at the door, while kids 10 and under get in free.

“You should come out if you want a family event to make you feel nostalgic, to make you miss all the great music of years gone by from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s,” DiToro said. “You will get that summer environment right outside the ballpark with food trucks, drinks and something the whole family can enjoy across three decades of music in an all-around fun dance party.”

Find more details on the event page. Hear our full conversation with Cathy DiToro below:

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Cathy DiToro (Full Interview) (Jason Fraley)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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