Celebrating its 10th year, Del Ray Music Festival will return to Alexandria on July 22 from 3-8 p.m., taking over three blocks of Mount Vernon Avenue with live music, beer and food.
The free festival is currently coordinated by John Patrick, a Del Ray native and the owner of the locally based music school, Rock of Ages Music. After touring the country with his band playing drums, Patrick opened ROAM in 2011 and took over leadership of the Del Ray Music Festival in 2015.
Patrick and the rest of the Del Ray Music Festival Committee have put together a lineup featuring 11 D.C.- and Virginia-based rock and alternative bands that will perform across two stages over the course of the day. The roster includes Wanted Man, Feel Free, Boss Chiefs, Handsome Hound, Jack Kilby & the Front Line, Elena Y Fulanos and more.
This marks the festival’s second year at its current location and with beer gardens—significant changes from past years. Previously, the festival was held in the field next to the Del Ray Center, which—because of its status as public property—restricted organizers from selling alcohol and food at the event. When the festival made the move to Mount Vernon Avenue, organizers were able to bring beer gardens into the mix, which are going to be even bigger in 2017. Participating restaurants along the main drag of Del Ray—including Pork Barrel BBQ, St. Elmo’s, Cheesetique, Stomping Ground, Del Ray Pizzeria and more—will set up beer gardens that stretch into the street and allow festivalgoers to drink and take in the live music. Each one will have a different set of beers on offer, including Port City at Pork Barrel, Old Ox at Del Ray Pizzeria (among 16 other taps at the pizza spot) and more.
“[The beer gardens] enhance the festival and give people places to sit down, relax and enjoy beverages between bands,” says Bill Blackburn, a partner of the Home Grown Restaurant Group and Pork Barrel BBQ. “They give more of a neighborhood feel.”
Patrick says the festival receives ample support from the community, which is anchored in Del Ray’s passion for music and the arts.
“Having grown up in Del Ray, I can speak from experience that there’s a heavy appreciation for music and the arts here,” Patrick says. “I think it’s a great way for the festival to reach out to the surrounding area to spread more community awareness … and to be a greater catalyst for local bands that could really use another venue to share their music.”