Summer Performances in DC for Families

Below are some music, dance, and theater performances in DC this summer for families. Most of these are free and outdoors. Update: Here is a listing of activities for families at museums this summer

U.S. Air Force Band

The U.S. Air Force Band‘s Summer Concert Series takes place every Tuesday at 8:00 pm on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol. Concerts are free and no tickets are required.

Tuesday, July 5  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “A Night On Broadway”
Featuring the Concert Band and Singing Sergeants

Tuesday, July 12  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “Funkytown!”
Featuring Max Impact, The Airmen of Note and The Air Force Strings

Tuesday, July 19  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “American Jazz Heroes”
Featuring The Airmen of Note

Tuesday, July 26  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “A Tribute to Stan Kenton”
Featuring The Airmen of Note

Tuesday, August 2  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “Tunes of ‘Toons”
Featuring the Concert Band and members of the Singing Sergeants

Tuesday, August 9  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “Disney & Pixar Favorites!”
Featuring the Concert Band and Singing Sergeants

Tuesday, August 16  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “Around the World in Eighty Minutes”
Featuring the Concert Band and Singing Sergeants

Tuesday, August 23  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “We Will Rock You”
Featuring Max Impact

Tuesday, August 30  |  8:00 pm
Concert’s theme: “A Night at the Symphony”
Featuring members of the Concert Band and Air Force Strings

U.S. Army Band

The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” performs at Sunsets with a Soundtrack on select Fridays at 8:00 pm on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol. The Army Band also plays at the annual Overture 1812 Concert near the Washington Monument. Concerts are free and no tickets are required.

Sunsets with a Soundtrack: The U.S. Army Band Downrange
Friday, July 8  |  8:00 pm
Dance to the music! Tunes made famous by Lady Gaga, Weezer, Bon Jovi, Brad Paisley, and Stevie Wonder.

Sunsets with a Soundtrack: The U.S. Army Concert Band
Friday, July 22  |  8:00 pm
All-American Classics featuring Copland’s A Letter from Home, The Band of Brothers Suite by Michael Kamen, and Milburn’s Fantasy on American Folk Songs.

Sunsets with a Soundtrack: The U.S. Army Blues
Friday, July 29  |  8:00 pm
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and everything blues. A heady mix of jazz and big-band swing.

Sunsets with a Soundtrack: The U.S. Army Concert Band
Friday, August 5  |  8:00 pm
The European Capital Tour: Vienna: Emperor Waltz by Strauss, Paris: Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and Budapest: Monti’s Csardas.

Sunsets with a Soundtrack: U.S. Army Orchestra
Friday, August 12  |  8:00 pm
Mostly Broadway with selections from The Sound of Music and The King and I.

Overture 1812 Concert
Tuesday, August 16  |  8:00 pm
Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument
Each year the U.S. Army Band performs its big summer concert that concludes with the spirited Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on the slope of the Washington Monument Grounds—complete with the cannons of The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Presidential Salute Battery. The concert features classical, popular, and patriotic music for audiences of all ages.

U.S. Marine Band

“The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band performs at the Marine Barracks, U.S. Capitol, and Washington Monument every week during the summer.

The Evening Parades at the Marine Barracks (8th and I Street, SE) take place Fridays at 8:00 pm. These are free, but tickets are required and all concerts are fully booked. You can try to get a ticket by going to the general admission line starting at 6:45 the evening of the parade. Once ticketed guests are seated, people from the general admission line will be seated, but there is no guarantee of admission. Get details here

Wednesdays at 8:00 pm on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol and Thursdays at 8:00 pm at the Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument. These concerts are free and no tickets are required.

Find concerts here and you can read the summer concerts brochure (PDF). Below are program details posted so far for upcoming concerts:

Free Country
Wednesday, July 6  |  8:00 pm  |  West Steps of the U.S. Capitol
Thursday, July 7  |  8:00 pm  | Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument
The 8-piece band performs modern and classic country hits by such artists as Rodney Atkins, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Lonestar, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Reba McIntire, and Charlie Daniels, while also showcasing original songs written by members of the group.

Marine Band
Wednesday, July 13  |  8:00 pm  |  West Steps of the U.S. Capitol
Thursday, July 14  |  8:00 pm  |  Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument
Read this concert’s program here.

U.S. Navy Band

The U.S. Navy Band‘s wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, country music band, and chorus perform at the Navy Memorial, U.S. Capitol, and WWII Memorial every week during the summer. Concerts are free and no tickets are required.

WW II Memorial Public Concert: Commodores
Thursday, June 30  |  6:30 pm
WWII Memorial (17th Street between Constitution and Independence Ave)
The Commodores are the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble. Featuring 18 of the Navy’s top jazz and “big band” musicians, the Commodores combine the best of jazz, popular and patriotic music.

Fourth of July Concert: Sea Chanters
Monday, July 4  |  11:00 am
Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave, NW)
The Navy Band Sea Chanters is the Navy’s official chorus. The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including sea chanteys and patriotic fare, to opera, Broadway, and contemporary music.

Navy Memorial Concert: Commodores 
Tuesday, July 5  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)
The Commodores are the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble. Featuring 18 of the Navy’s top jazz and “big band” musicians, the Commodores combine the best of jazz, popular and patriotic music.

Navy Memorial Concert: Country Current
Tuesday, July 12  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)
The United States Navy Band Country Current performs a blend of modern country music and cutting-edge bluegrass. Musicians play banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, upright bass, dobro, pedal steel guitar and drum set.

Concert on the Avenue 
Tuesday, July 19  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)
The Concert on the Avenue is a combined concert featuring members of the Concert Band, Sea Chanters, Cruisers, Commodores and Country Current. Equally comfortable performing marches by John Philip Sousa and 1980s rock ballads, this combined ensemble showcases the awesome talent of the Navy Band in one concert. 

Concert at the Capitol: Concert Band
Monday, July 25  |  8:00 pm
West Steps of the U.S. Capitol
The United States Navy Concert Band, one of the world’s finest wind ensembles,  presents a wide array of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and modern wind ensemble repertoire.

Navy Memorial Concert: Concert Band
Tuesday, July 26  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)

Concert at the Capitol: Concert Band
Monday, August 1  |  8:00 pm
West Steps of the U.S. Capitol

Concert at the Capitol: Concert Band
Monday, August 8  |  8:00 pm
West Steps of the U.S. Capitol

Concert on the Avenue
Tuesday, August 9  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)

Concert at the Capitol: Concert Band 
Monday, August 15  |  8:00 pm
West Steps of the U.S. Capitol

Concert on the Avenue
Tuesday, August 23  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)

WW II Memorial Public Concert: Commodores
Thursday, August 25  |  6:30 pm
WWII Memorial (17th Street between Constitution and Independence Ave)

Concert at the Capitol: Concert Band
Monday, August 29  |  8:00 pm
West Steps of the U.S. Capitol

Navy Memorial Concert: Country Current 
Tuesday, August 30  |  8:00 pm
U.S. Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)

Carter Barron Amphitheatre Summer Concerts
Carter Barron Amphitheatre (16th Street and Colorado Ave, NW)

Carter Barron Amphitheatre, located in Rock Creek Park, hosts a variety of performances every summer.  Most performances are free and below are all free performances:

Joint Service Jazz: U.S. Army Blues, U.S. Navy Commodores, and U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note
Friday, July 8  |  7:30 pm
Free, no tickets are required.

The Washington Post Going Out Guide Weekend Concert Series:
Latin Night
Friday, July 15  |  7:30 pm
Free, but tickets are required.

The Washington Post Going Out Guide Weekend Concert Series:
Neo Soul
Friday, July 22  |  7:30 pm
Free, but tickets are required.

9th Annual Metro DC Dances
Friday, August 12  |  7:30 pm
Free, no tickets are required.

Culture Shock East Coast Dance Concert 2011
Saturday, August 13  | 7:30 pm
Free, no tickets are required.

7th Annual DC Poetry in the Park Honoring Gil Scott-Heron
Saturday, August 20  |  7:30 pm
Free, no tickets are required.

23rd Annual DC Blues Festival
Saturday, September 3  |  12:15 pm
Free, no tickets are required.

Fort Dupont Summer Concert Series
Saturdays in July and August  |  8:00 pm
Fort Dupont Park (Minnesota Ave and Randle Circle, SE)

The Fort Dupont Summer Concerts at Fort Dupont Park in southeast offers free high quality jazz and R&B performances Saturdays in July and August at 8:00 pm. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Arts Performance (T.A.P.) featuring violinist Chelsey Green and a “Soul Review”
Saturday, July 9  |  8:00 pm

Regina Belle with “Smooth” a Luther Tribute opening
Saturday, July 16  |  8:00 pm

The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston & Blue Lovett with Marvin Brown opening
Saturday, July 23  |  8:00 pm

Zapp with Teri S. opening
Saturday, July 30  |  8:00 pm

The Barkays with FrameWerk opening
Saturday, August 6  |  8:00 pm

Mandrill
Saturday, August 13  |  8:00 pm

Fort Reno Concerts
Fort Reno Park
Enjoy the free Fort Reno Concerts taking place in Fort Reno Park across the street from Wilson High School in Tenleytown. See the schedule here. All shows start at 7:15 pm and end by 9:30 pm.

Friday Evening Concerts at Yards Park
Yards Park (Water Street, SE between 3rd and 4th Street, SE)
Fridays through August 19  |  6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Come to DC’s waterfront at Yards Park for free concerts of everything from reggae to R&B to pop. Enjoy food and drinks and kids can have fun at the Kids Zone. Here’s the calendar of events and here’s the schedule brochure (PDF)

Petworth Jazz Project
Petworth Recreation Center’s Lawn (8th and Taylor Street, NW)
Free outdoor jazz concerts come to Petworth one Saturday a month during the summer as part of the Petworth Jazz ProjectYoung Lions performs on Saturday, July 9 at 7:00 pm, Akua Allrich performs on Saturday, August 13 at 6:30 pm, and the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra performs on Saturday, September 10 at 5:00 pm.  

Jazz in the Garden
Fridays during the Summer  |  5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
National Gallery Sculpture Garden  (7th Street and Constitution Ave, NW)
The National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden hosts free jazz concerts every Friday evening during the summer. See the schedule here.

Live! on Woodrow Wilson Plaza
Mondays through Fridays through September 23  |  12:00 noon to 1:30 pm
Woodrow Wilson Plaza (1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW)
Every weekday now through September 23 from noon to 1:30 pm, enjoy free music, dance, theater performances at the Woodrow Wilson Plaza near the Ronald Reagan Building. See the complete schedule here.

Millennium Stage Performances
Every day |  6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Kennedy Center (2700 F Street, NW)
Every evening at 6:00 pm the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage has free music, dance, and theater performances.

National Symphony Orchestra

Celebrate the Fourth of July and Labor Day with free National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) concerts by the U.S. Capitol. No tickets are required.

A Capitol Fourth: National Symphony Orchestra Independence Day Concert
Monday, July 4  |  8:00 pm
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

America’s national Independence Day celebration will be hosted by Jimmy Smits, and will feature unrivaled performances from some of the country’s biggest musical names–including Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison from Glee, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, rock ‘n’ roll legend Little Richard performing with the cast of the Broadway smash hit Million Dollar Quartet, Broadway star Kelli O’Hara–all joined by the National Symphony Orchestra.

If you want to beat the crowds, check out the rehearsal on Sunday, July 3 at 8:00 pm.

National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Concert
Sunday, September 4  |  8:00 pm
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
June 30, July 1 to 4 and July 7 to 11
The National Mall
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an annual festival on the National Mall celebrating the national and international cultural heritage with daily and evening programs of music, song, dance, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling, illustrations of workers’ culture.

This year’s festival features: 

Here is the full schedule, festival map, and general information.

Capital Fringe Festival
July 7 to 24
The Capital Fringe Festival has performances throughout the city.  Not all are appropriate for kids, but you can find age-appropriate shows on the searchable calendar.

DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival
July 11 to 16
The DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival offers events like OKAYAFRICA: Hip-Hop from the African Diaspora (concerts and open dance workshops), which are open to all ages.

Dance DC Festival
July 22 to 24
The 8th annual Dance DC Festival salutes the world of hip hop with on the streets of DC.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All
August 18 to September 4
Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street, NW)
This year the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Free For All is presenting free performances of Julius Caesar. Tickets for each performance will be made available to the public on the day of the show by visiting Sidney Harman Hall as well as through an online lottery system. To receive more information about the lottery, sign up to receive email notifications by clicking here.

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