Weekend Insights – Support local musicians at a Juneteenth festival – The GW Hatchet

Pioneering exhibits and music festivals headline District events this weekend, so enjoy these rewarding June 19th celebrations.

Join a full roster of hit artists at the Something in the Water music festival on Friday, enrich your knowledge of Afro-Atlantic history at the National Gallery of Art on Saturday, and end the holiday weekend listening to emerging black musicians at the Juneteenth Freedom Day Sunday music festival.


Something in the Water Music Festival
Pharrell shocked the district when he announced the festival would be coming to DC for the first time instead of his hometown of Virginia Beach due to disagreement with the city’s response to the police killing of his cousin in March. Follow unforgettable performances by artists such as Justin Timberlake, SZA, Gracie Abrams, Chloe x Halle and 21 Savage at the National Mall. Participants will have access to various food and drink vendors as well as collaboration brands like Adidas and Human Made. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the district competed with other towns to host the summer music festival, and eventually Pharrell Express a desire to bring the “message of unity, diversity, and equity to our Nation’s Capital,” so be sure to experience this unprecedented opportunity for DC residents.

National Mall, Independence Ave. SW between 3rd and 9th streets SW. Friday and Saturday 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Three-day level three general admission passes cost $399.50. Find more information here.


Afro-Atlantic Stories Exhibition
Learn about the African diaspora through the work of a host of black artists from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas at the National Gallery of Art’s Afro-Atlantic Histories exposure. American artist Hank Willis Thomas uses stainless steel with a mirror finish to showcase a metallic interpretation of the Americas in a piece titled “A Place to Call Home”, and oil artwork by American painter Aaron Douglas depicts the moments before a group of Africans board a slave ship. Paintings, photographs, mixed media and sculptures culminating in over 130 works examine the rich histories of African cultural experiences dating back to the 17th century. The exhibition is spread over six different themed sections and runs until July 17, so don’t miss your chance to catch the illuminating exhibition while it’s here.

National Gallery of Art, Constitution Ave. NW. West building, ground floor, galleries 72–79. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free. Find more information here.


June 19 Freedom Day Music Festival
To celebrate Juneteenth, embrace the district’s community and culture and check out DC-based artists at the Juneteenth Freedom Day Music Festival at Union Stage. The festival will be hosted by WPGC’s Nori Nori and DJ Akademiks and will feature a local band black driveway, which combines the genres of rock, hip-hop and go-go to create its rhythmic “Hood Rock” sound. Explore the district’s culture through R&B and soul music from other up-and-coming black musicians, like the artist and producer Rupratt, at this affordable event. The small and intimate nature of the venue makes it optimal for an event featuring budding artists to unite locals around the DMV. Stop by for a family-friendly event for all ages, celebrating black history and culture through new and awesome sound.

Union Stage, 740 Water Street SW. 7 p.m. on Sunday. General admission tickets are $35. Find more information here.

James C. Tibbs