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June 26, 2011 Published in Arts & Style, Other News

5th Annual Del Ray Music Festival

By Artis Moon Amarche

Alexandria celebrated the 5th Annual Del Ray Music Festival on Saturday, June 25, 2011, on the grounds of the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center.

Sean Barr and Ann Cioffi of Subtle Madness at the 5th annual Del Ray Music Festival. (Photo: Artis Moon Amarche)

From the Del Ray Music Festival website: "Chaired by Kate Moran, longtime Del Ray resident and lead singer in her own band, the festival is organized with the support of an all-star group of Del Ray citizens. The festival features a variety of music which have included reggae, jazz, blues, swing, folk, country, Celtic, and rock. The majority of the musicians who take the stage are residents of the neighborhood - something that makes this an extra special show for the performers and gives everyone a chance to hear some wonderful local talent." This all-volunteer-run festival is made possible by the generous support of sponsors, most notably Jennifer Walker, volunteers who perform various tasks on the day of the festival, and volunteers who have joined a committee that meets throughout the year for various phases of planning and coordination.  Applications are accepted from prospective bands in November.

Food vendors for the day were Buzz Bakery, Pork  Barrel BBQ, Sapore D’Italia Pizzeria, Rita’s Water Ice, Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections, and Taqueria Poblano, all of which were sold out by early evening. Pork Barrel BBQ actually sold out twice. During the day, from 10-5, kids enjoyed games, a moon bounce, and craft activities. Kate Moran estimated that there were approximately five thousand festival people at the festival yesterday, compared with about three thousand last year, so it's definitely gaining in popularity each year. The day saw eleven bands on the main stage, running from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and ten bands on the side stage from 10:45 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., closing out with the headlining band Emmet Swimming on the main stage. Organizers were smart to stagger performances between the main stage and the side stage for non-stop music, so that while one band was setting up, another band was playing.

Todd Watts of Emmet Swimming, the headlining band at the Del Ray Music Festival, 2011. (Photo: Artis Moon Amarche)

One of the most popular activities of the day was a spontaneous hooping session, spurred by Debra Jackson, a Del Ray resident who teaches hooping and yoga at Mind the Mat on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray, as well as bellydancing at the local YMCA. Debra and her friend Alex Emmerman brought a ton of hoops to the festival which they made available for anyone that wanted to use them, offering hooping tips throughout the late afternoon and evening.

Debra Jackson and Alex Emmerman hooping at the Del Ray Music Festival 2011. (Photo: Artis Moon Amarche)

This year, they also added something new: the first annual Del Ray Music Week. From Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24, bands played at many of the venues along the Avenue with more of a focus on smaller and acoustic acts. According to the Del Ray Music Festival site: "As we celebrate our 5th year with the music festival, we have found that one day is just not enough for all of the talented musicians, in and around Del Ray; way too much coolness to celebrate!" The first annual Del Ray Music Week was a huge success, and will definitely kick off the festival again next year.

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