Home Rule Music Festival returns, celebrating double cause of DC statehood and local music

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Home Rule Music Festival (Part 1)

Get ready to dance with some jazz and go-go tunes for the perfect kickoff to summer.

A band performs at the Home Rule Music Festival in D.C. (Courtesy Home Rule Music Festival)

The third annual Home Rule Music Festival returns to D.C. this weekend, its title a double meaning for homegrown music and the lack of D.C. statehood (“taxation without representation”).

“It’s really us celebrating D.C.’s rich musical legacy and culture,” Executive Director Charvis Campbell told WTOP. “It’s also about us letting folks know: don’t forget that we don’t have the support that we need and deserve. It’s a little bit of both, that kind of militant side, but also truly an expression of our love of jazz and D.C. music.”

The three-day festival kicks off Friday at The Black Cat on 14th Street, Northwest.

“Opening night we have the amazing JoGo Project led by Elijah Jamal Balbed, a funky jazz go-go band,” Campbell said. “Then we have our headliner, the spiritual jazz artist Doug Carn, featuring Vanessa Rubin. Doug Carn is bringing his sextet and the amazing Vanessa Rubin is going to lend her voice for a beautiful, spiritual evening.”

The second day of the festival moves outdoors to The Parks at Walter Reed on Saturday.

“On Saturday, at our festival outdoors, we have Gary Bartz, we have Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids, we have Rare Essence, Black Alley, Malcom X Drummers and Dancers, Dupont Brass and then Vanessa Rubin is going to come on back and perform with her own band. We also have a record fair, a live mural painting and a kid zone, which is going to be anchored by the Washington Nationals and Washington Commanders, they’re gonna be out there.”

After that, you can recharge your batteries with a monthlong break before the festival gloriously returns for day three on Saturday, July 20, in Alethia Tanner Park in the Eckington neighborhood of Northeast, D.C.

“We’re really excited about this partnership with NoMa BID,” Campbell said. “We’re going to start with the Loop Sessions, our music producer workshop, we’re gonna have young men and women who love to make beats, they’re gonna do a display. Then we have a high school go-go band, The Soul of SEED from The SEED School in Southeast. … We then have Be’la Dona, the all-female band, then The Experience Band & Show, so it’s really a true celebration.”

Tickets for opening night at The Black Cat are $40 in advance or $50 at the door.

The two outdoor dates are free.

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Home Rule Music Festival (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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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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