About the Festival
The Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival is all about celebration. A celebration of spring in DC, the amazing talent held by our friends and neighbors, and the natural beauty in our Nation's Capital that we can too easily forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As a fundraising event for the Living Classrooms Foundation, it is also a celebration of the fundamentally important role that community plays in lifting up those among us who are in greatest need.
Now in its 8th year, the Festival has proven to be the signature folk festival in Washington, DC. The crowds return every year for the music, food, and drinks -- but when it comes down to it, what draws the community to this festival is the community itself. We hope you'll join us in the celebration on May 13, 2017.
In 2014 the Washington Post said the festival “sounds about perfect” and called it “refreshingly different.” In five years the event has grown to become the largest all-local music festival in the National Capital Region, attracting over 10,000 attendees annually since 2014.
For the second year, the Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival will be going green! With the support of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the 2016 Kingman Island Festival was the District’s first zero-waste music festival. This year’s festival will expand on the zero waste initiative in an effort to preserve the integrity of Kingman Island and support the District’s path toward zero waste. Guests are asked to only bring reusable water bottles and food containers onto the island; each attendee will be provided with a reusable cup to use at vendors and water stations. Food vendors will be required to use only compostable or recyclable food serviceware. Additionally, zero waste volunteers will be staffing waste stations throughout the island to help festivalgoers sort their compostable and recyclable waste. Have a suggestion to help us in our zero-waste initiative? Send us a message on social media!
About the Island
Originally created by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1916, Kingman Island became a dumping ground before being transformed by the District into a recreational area for people of all ages to learn about the natural environment in Washington, DC. Located on the Anacostia River near RFK Stadium, the island is now managed by Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region who maintains the island for use as a public recreation space and "living classroom" for hands-on environmental education programming for underserved area schools. Kingman Island is the perfect backdrop for an affordable day-long festival for all ages.
Frequently Asked Questions
what are the hours?
Doors open at 11:30am. The festival will be in full gear from 12:00pm - 9:00pm.
How do I get there?
The main entrance for Kingman and Heritage Islands Park is found on the west bank of the Anacostia River. This entrance is located at the back of RFK Stadium Parking Lot 6, approximately 0.1 miles south of Benning Rd. NE.
575 Oklahoma Avenue NE, Washington DC, 20002*
* Note: This is an approximate address, entrance to the park is located off RFK Lot 6, directly across from address given above.
Help us in our effort to make this a 100% green festival by leaving your car at home and walk, bike, or take public transit instead!
- Board an eastbound DC Streetcar. (Eastbound vehicles travel from Union Station toward Oklahoma Avenue along H Street NE and Benning Road NE)
- To get to Kingman Island, passengers can board at any of the following stops (also shown on the transit map)
- Union Station (located past the bus deck and on the median of the Hopscotch Bridge)
- 3rd & H St NE (across the street from the Giant)
- 5th & H ST NE
- 8th & H St NE
- 13th & H St NE
- 15th & H St NE (near Starburst Plaza)
- 19th & Benning Road NE
- Ride to the Oklahoma & Benning Road stop, which is the last stop on the eastbound run
- Exit onto the median and wait for the pedestrian street signal to cross Benning Road (toward the 7-11 and RFK parking lots)
- Walk along Oklahoma Avenue to RFK parking lot entrance
- Look for a large white sign and black gates to find the festival entrance
More info on DC Streetcar: http://www.dcstreetcar.com/
The closest metro to the park is the Stadium-Armory station. There will be a free shuttle running to and from this station from 9:30am - 9:30pm.
To walk from the Metro: Take the Blue or Orange line to the Stadium-Armory Station. Exit the station in the direction of RFK Stadium. Follow 19th St. NE north toward the stadium and continue on past the stadium to C St. NE. Turn right onto C St. and head east until 21st NE. Turn Left on 21st St. and cross to the sidewalk on the east side of the street. As 21st St. divides into Oklahoma you will find yourself walking along the east side of Oklahoma Avenue. Look for entrance to Kingman Island Boardwalk sign along sidewalk and then enter RFK Parking Lot 6. Once in RFK Parking Lot 6 continue straight back toward the Anacostia River, traveling under the Metro. Look for our large white sign, black gates, and a path leading back toward the Anacostia River. (Distance from Stadium-Armory Station is approximately 1.0 mile.)
Kingman Island is conveniently located along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and is readily accessible from all points of the city by bike. A bike Valet will be available at the festival for a small fee (no locks required).
As an environmentally-friendly festival, we encourage guests to walk, bike or take public transportation. Parking is available for a fee in RFK Lot 7. If you're going to drive, plan to carpool with some friends!
What Can I Bring?
- Small, soft-sided coolers
- Nonalcoholic drinks and food - ONLY IF FOOD IS STORED IN REUSABLE CONTAINERS, TUPPERWARE, REUSABLE DRINKING BOTTLES ETC. NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL.
- Chairs, blankets
- Dogs (must be leashed)
Don't bring tents, or outside alcohol. Seriously.
Is the event rain or shine?
Yes! If you've been to the event in the past, you know a little rain won't spoil the day! However, it is important to be prepared in the event of rain and/or cool weather so we've put together a list of tips for you:
- Wear Layers so you can put on or take off clothes if/when necessary.
- Wear boots/shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry in the event of rain--it's on an island, there could be mud!
- Bring a poncho or rain jacket with a hood, and a hat--umbrellas will just block someone's awesome view of the stage.
- Bring a backpack to store your extra layers.
- Make sure you have a water-resistant spot to keep your phone and camera.
- Bring chairs or a tarp instead of a blanket. Please, no tents.
- In the event of sunshine--bring sunblock and bug spray!
Can i purchase food?
Yes, this year's festival will feature Rocklands BBQ who will be grilling up some southern BBQ favorites as well as some of the best DC food trucks, including Urban Poutine, Borinquen Lunch Box, Ada's Kitchen on Wheels, Goodie's Frozen Custard & Treats, Capital Crab Company, and more!
Will there be vegetarian options?
Yes, we will have a wide variety of options for our veggie, vegan, and gluten-free friends. All menus will notate which items accommodate dietary restrictions.
can i purchase beer and alcohol?
Your ticket to the festival will include one reusable cup that can be saved as a festival souvenir. Beer will be poured by Sierra Nevada and Atlas Brew Works and Tito's Vodka and Spindrift will be serving up delicious cocktails. Individual drink tickets can be purchased in advance at www.missiontix.com/kingmanisland or at the festival itself.
Outside beer and alcohol will not be permitted beyond the festival's entrance.
Will there be activities for kids?
Kingman Island is a place for families to enjoy so we encourage you to bring your children to enjoy the beauty of the island and the fun that awaits you at the festival. We just confirmed a special wacky magic show by The Great Zucchini, DC's #1 children's entertainer, who will perform at 5:00pm in the Kidz Zone. The Washington Nationals will be bringing fun games, treats, and giveaways, as well as face painting and other fun family activities.
can i leave the festival and return later?
Yes, upon entry into the festival you will receive a wristband that will serve as proof of ticket purchase. If you are going to leave the festival and plan on returning later in the day, please check-in with the front gate upon your departure and notify them of your plans. You will not be provided with an additional cup upon your return so please keep it safe!
Is there a lost and found?
Yes, we will have a lost items area set up at the Information Tent located at the front entrance. If you find something that has been lost, please be a good neighbor and bring it to the Information Tent!
Do I need to bring cash?
If you would like to make any purchases at the festival, we encourage you to bring cash with you, as credit card lines tend to be longer. There will be a select number of ATM's on the island for your use if needed (fees apply). To avoid having to use cash, purchase your food and drink tickets in advance when you purchase your tickets!
don't see the answers you're looking for here? Ask us on social media!