All-Day Blues Festival Comes to Columbia Pike

Columbia Pike Blues Fest is back for its 23rd year with a star-studded line up.

This all-day, admission-free music festival promises to be a day of music, food and good times. American rhythm and blues artist Don Bryant, known for a Top 40 hit “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” headlines the festival June 16. Called “a joyous miracle” by Paste magazine, acclaimed singer and songwriter Bryant has had a storied career and was recently nominated for two 2018 Blues Foundation “Handy Awards” (the Grammys of the Blues genre) for his first solo album in decades, “Don’t Give Up on Love.” 

Don Bryant blues
This year's featured headliner Don Bryant

Bryant will be joined by a full line up of blues, R&B and funk performers, including: Nikki Hill, King Soul Band, Caz Gardiner, and Three Man Soul Machine. Bring a camp chair or blanket and your dancing shoes to enjoy food and beverages from local eateries, arts and crafts vendors, and kids’ activities while listening to quintessential American music that will make it impossible not to get up and dance. By now you’re already singing along with Bryant’s hit, “How Do I Get There?”

Forged on urban blues, the Columbia Pike Blues Festival puts together a musical gumbo that spans from Africa to the Caribbean and the United States with the sounds of soul, jazz, blues and reggae. Celebrate the living legacy of blues music, about life telling a story with a style so deeply rooted in passion and emotion: Good blues music can strike a chord deep within souls that will take any feelings of sadness, loneliness and sorrow, smash them and set them free. 

At “The Pike,”  as locals call it, you will be perfectly positioned to keep the groove going all night with more dancing and dining. This neighorhood has everything from Latin dancing at the Salsa Room, and Ethiopian delicacies at the renowned Dama Pastry and Cafe (whose baker was trained by the White House pastry chef), to the down-home Bob and Edith’s Diner and the now-famous Celtic House Irish Pub, which made national news when it was named by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2017 as the best place in the country to spend St. Patrick’s Day!  

This festival runs from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive in Columbia Pike, one of Arlington’s most diverse, vibrant neighborhoods. 

Photo of Nikki Hill by Aubrey Edwards.

Author: Kathleen Murphy