Last weekend, the Trust for the National Mall partnered with C3 Presents (who also run Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits) to put on a music festival in West Potomac Park, steps from the Washington Monument. A portion of the proceeds went toward restoring the National Mall (because Abe Lincoln doesn’t want to look out over cracked sidewalks and a tarp-covered Reflecting Pool, alright?). Stellar line-up, cool temperatures, Metro-accessible location, herbivore options aplenty, and a good cause — this basically checked all the boxes. It was remarkably well run, especially for an inaugural event.
Landmark Festival headliners included Drake, The Strokes, and CHVRCHES. Topping my list were Vandaveer, Lord Huron, and Ben Howard. I also caught some of Dr. John and Hiss Golden Messenger. Given infinite time/energy, I would have also seen Rhiannon Giddens, alt-J, Ex Hex, War on Drugs, and TV On the Radio (there will be other chances!). Here are some photos & tunes for your audio-visual gleaning, including a peek backstage, courtesy of the lovable hooligans of Vandaveer.
I’ve seen this band seven times. If I’m so lucky as to increase that number sevenfold, I will still find each experience to be utterly moving. I think our subconscious has a way of registering the Cartesian coordinates laid down by exceptional songwriting. The music that’s exactly right at an exact moment in your life — you will forever return to those songs when you need to find your way again. Vandaveer is one of those bands for me.