Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival
On Saturday, May 4, the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival provided a rejuvenating, breath of fresh air experience that seamlessly carried you away from the hustle and bustle of the District. We’re not sure if it was the excitement of walking into the natural beauty of the island or the sound of festival goers’ steps as they crossed the wooden bridge over the Anacostia River, but from the moment we left Lot 6 on RFK Campus, we were sold. This festival is the escape many Washingtonians need in the hyperconnected world we live in today.
Beginning as a free event ten years ago with a single stage and the ultimate goal to raise awareness of the island, the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival has grown exponentially and is now attracting over 9,000 people. This year attendees were able to explore the Anacostia River through free REI sponsored kayaking tours, sip on locally brewed beer from Atlas Brewery and listen to over 28 musical acts. The headliner, The Dustbowl Revival, an eight-person band who is known for their “vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds,” closed out the event leaving festival goers in a euphoric state.
This year, the festival raised over $150,000 that will support other Kingman Island programming and education classes for children in the District, which range from exploring the diversity of habitats on the island, canoeing the Anacostia River and wetlands of Kingman Lake to participating in habitat restoration activities and learning survival skills.
Thanks to the partnership between the Ward 6 Council and the Living Classrooms Foundation, the island is on its way to being transformed back to its original habitat. Reflecting on how far they’ve come, Thara Taylor, Vice President of Development and Communications for the Living Classrooms Foundation said, “It’s incredibly encouraging. In fact, last year, Mayor Bowser officially named Kingman as a State Conservation Area and portions of the islands as Critical Wildlife Areas.”
Congratulations to the volunteers, Department of Energy and Environment, local businesses, musicians, local food trucks and festival organizers who supported this year’s festival. Events DC looks forward to continuing to play a role in growing awareness of the island and all its splendor.