WANT LIVE MUSIC IN WASHINGTON, DC? START HERE!
FEATURED UPCOMING LIVE MUSIC EVENTS
Check below for a SMALL sampling of upcoming live music events in Washington, DC. For a more exhaustive list of concerts (over 1,000 live music events per month), check out the daily concerts pages in the "MUSIC CALENDAR" pull-down menu above.
Monday, January 22 - 6:00 PM
Eddie Jones, guitar; Johnnell Gray, keyboard; Les Campbell, bass; Freddy Gomillion, drums; Emmitt Queen, guitar; Eddie Kornegay, sax. The Young Bucks Band is a dynamic group of talented musicians who have remained strong, performing for over 40 years. The band creates an undeniable electrifying impact onstage. They capture the true spirit of old school funk and soul legends, featuring the best 70s, 80s and 90s funk, soul and blues classics and delivering them in a style refined as their own.
Monday, January 22 - 8:00 & 10:00 PM
Afi Soul is the critically acclaimed soul and r&b music artist whose self-distributed album, Lovely, landed the no. 10 spot on the SoulTracks Top 10 CDs list. “Baby, Its Cold Outside” — Afi’s signature tune. The music video for that single stayed in rotation on BETJ and VH1 Soul for months, and was featured on VH1Soul.com. ¤ Touring with artists such as Lil Mo and Raheem Devaughn, renewed interest in Afi’s debut prompted a 2010 re-release led by “Sorry (Gotta Go)”, a no nonsense hit that asserts a woman’s independence. The music video for this single quickly made its way across the internet. Shocking friends and family, Afi parted ways with the music industry from 2011 to late 2013 to rediscover herself and rebuild a life for her children.Now back in the studio, Afi returns a more empowered woman, mother and soulstress.
Monday, January 22 - 7:30 PM
Charles Phoenix is a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, madcap Test Kitchen videos, “field trip” tours, and colorful coffee table books, all celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. On TV, Charles has appeared as a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He’s also guested on Storage Wars, Jay Leno’s Garage, Conan, and Martha Stewart, and is often heard on NPR. The Los Angeles Times says, “Call him the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him “the Kodachrome King.” Growing up in Ontario, California Charles was educated at theme parks, shopping malls, and his dad’s used car lots.
Tuesday, January 23 - 8:00 & 10:00 PM
Jazz saxophonist and composer John Kocur is captivating new audiences by putting an adventurous yet accessible spin on a classic tradition. Kocur’s compositions have been described as “mainly straight-ahead and clearly influenced by the playing of past masters such as Johnny Hodges and Cannonball Adderley, but they are not simply derivative. The ballads in particular display a maturity in writing and playing” (Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz). While highlighting original music, the group also creates unique interpretations of popular American songs from past and present. The group’s style is an intimate, all-acoustic format, where the music takes center stage.
Tuesday, January 23 - 7:00 PM
MØ. With: Darius. The cat is finally about to be out of the bag. Not that Cashmere Cat has exactly kept a clandestine profile, working as he has with so many of the top names in pop, R&B, and hip-hop, from Kanye West to Ariana Grande -- a track record that's threatened to make him a household name just as a producer. But as a recording artist in his own right, he's taking off the wraps with the release of his first full-length album under his own nom de plume. The spring release sports guest appearances from a who's who of contemporary music, including The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Camila Cabello, 2 Chainz, Tory Lanez, Francis & the Lights, Starrah, and other Cat lovers dropping in to help usher him into the ranks of true marquee artists.
Tuesday, January 23 - 8:00 PM
Nothing will ever feel as free as the first time you leave home to make it on your own, a rush that Norwegian pop-punk foursome Sløtface channel perfectly on their debut album. The joyful thrash of “Sunbleached” is all ripped jeans and clear skies, as bandleader Haley Shea chronicles carefree roadtrips and the relief of pitch-black Norwegian winters finally giving way to summer. But as the album’s title hints, with freedom comes newfound anxieties. On the exhilarating Try Not To Freak Out, Sløtface tear through the fears - from our own racing minds, and manipulated media messages - that hold us back from reaching our full potential. They don’t have solutions (if only it were that easy) but they know the liberating power of an ecstatic scream just as well as their spiritual forebears Bully, Be Your Own Pet and Paramore.
Tuesday, January 23 - 6:00 PM
Becca Stevens reinvents herself once again with her latest album Regina, an exploration of literature, folklore, and her own imagination, with songs inspired by the regal and divine. Stevens’ work has already received copious praise from the likes of The New York Times, who described her as “a best-kept secret” and called her debut indie release Tea Bye Sea “impressively absorbing.” The Boston Phoenix noted Becca’s “big voice and no-bull—- emotional delivery.” Her hometown paper The Winston-Salem Journal stated, “Stevens’ singing is remarkable, soulful, pitch-perfect and subtle in its controlled acrobatics. The arrangements are exquisitely produced, and her acoustic songs boast musical textures and colors that embrace the adventurism of jazz.”
Wednesday, January 24 - 7:30 PM
The Calidore String Quartet recently made international headlines as the grand prize winner of 2016's inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition, the largest prize for chamber music in the world. Heralded as "the epitome of confidence and finesse" ( Gramophone Magazine) and "a miracle of unified thought" ( La Presse , Montreal), this American Quartet brings one of the most exciting programs from its repertoire, "Hungarian Spirit," which showcases the influence and contribution of Hungarian music and artists on the string quartet canon. ~~ Notes from Joseph "Yossi" Kalichstein, Artistic Director of Fortas ~~ One of the joys of presenting is to identify and invite incredibly gifted new talents.
Wednesday, January 24 - 7:00 PM
Tennis. With: Overcoats. Tennis continue their extensive North American tour in celebration of their fourth full-length album, Yours Conditionally. After a cross country tour in the Spring/Summer supporting artists including Spoon, The Shins and Father John Misty the band is primed to head out on a Fall Headline tour crisscrossing the United States; their largest to date. Yours Conditionally—out now on Mutually Detrimental via Thirty Tigers and available at all record stores as well as via iTunes and Spotify— continues to receive praise from NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” Interview Magazine, W, New York Magazine and many more. The new record was composed both on land and at sea during a five-month sailing trip through the Sea of Cortez.
Wednesday, January 24 - 8:00 PM
These Quiet Colors These Quiet Colours is a DC-based band that combines elements of the shoegaze, dream-pop, and post-rock musical styles, creating a sinuous moody sound. Maryjo Mattea Washington, DC-based songstress Maryjo Mattea captivates audiences with her uniquely melodic songwriting and hauntingly beautiful voice. In addition to performing original music and more as a solo artist and with a band, she and is also a member of the grunge-garage rock duo, Two Dragons and a Cheetah, the Beatles tribute act, Day Trippers; and electro-rock group, Color Palette.
Wednesday, January 24 - 8:30 PM
"Southern Americana Rock" band, Big Mama Shakes, wants nothing more than to push the envelope down a flight of stairs. Formed in August 2013, playing in Williamsburg and Richmond, VA, they show their original style and bring back an old sound in a way all ages can enjoy. With influences such as Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, and Bruce Springsteen, in May 2015, they presented their debut album "As She Does". Following the release of the album, they played along side huge names including: Dirty Heads, Passion Pit, Incubus, Nathaniel Rateliff, and more. They announced a two-week long east coast tour through the east coast. Then, continued to play multiple festivals for the duration of the summer.
Thursday, January 25 - 8:00 & 10:00 PM
Vibraphonist/vocalist Roy Ayers is among the best-known, most loved and respected jazz/R&B artist on the music-scene today. Now in his fourth decade in the music business, Ayers, known as the Godfather of Neo-soul, continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers. In the 60’s he was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, and transformed into a popular R&B band leader in the 70's/80's. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand and whose music industry heavyweights, including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac and Ice Cube. Ayers recently recorded with hip hop artist Talib Kweli (produced by Kanye West) and jazz/R&B singer Wil Downing.
Thursday, January 25 - 7:00 PM
Christoph Eschenbach conducts Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Schumann's "Rhenish" Symphony, both linked by religious themes. The program also features violinist Leila Josefowicz in Oliver Knussen's Violin Concerto as part of Josefowicz's Kennedy Center residency this season. Performance Timing: Part One - 36 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 31 min. AfterWords Immediately following the Thu., Jan. 25 performance Stay after the performance for an insightful discussion with the some of the exciting guest artists and NSO musicians featured on the night's program, moderated by NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon.
Thursday, January 25 - 6:30 PM
Big Head Todd & The Monsters. With: Luther Dickinson. Big Head Todd and the Monsters are not that big on anniversaries, so there won’t be any big hoopla over the fact that the band is officially crossing the three-decade mark this year. Thirty years would seem like something to commemorate, especially with the same core lineup, an achievement few other name-brand bands can boast of. Yet right now they’re less about celebrating stability than volatility, in the form of their eleventh studio album, New World Arisin’, which makes good on its forward-facing title with what might be the brashest rock and roll of their career. The old world can’t rest on any laurels, and neither will they.
Thursday, January 25 - 7:00 PM
Considering his roots and upbringing, it is no wonder that Eric Bellinger has become an R&B sensation. An LA native and grandson of Jackson 5 hit songwriter, Bobby Day, Bellinger has been engulfed with music his entire life. His love for music drove his decision to turn down a football scholarship at USC to pursue his real passion. Bellinger began his musical journey recording and touring with the R&B group, AKNU (A Kind Never Understood) and soon signed to Epic Records by legendary executives, Max Gousse and Tommy Motola. His natural talent for songwriting became apparent and he returned home to hone his abilities under the guidance of his childhood friend and mentor, Erika Nuri of “The Writing Camp.” After signing a publishing deal with Sony ATV, Bellinger hit the ground sprinting with stellar contributions to major R&B and pop artists such as Chris Brown (“Fine China,” “Love More” featuring Nicki Minaj), Usher (“Let Me See” featuring Rick Ross), Selena Gomez (“Intuition”) and Justin Bieber (“Right Here” featuring Drake) to name a few.
Thursday, January 25 - 8:00 PM
When Inara George was five years old, she attended the wake of her father, musician Lowell George, the beating heart of the band Little Feat. Strangely enough, it was also her birthday. Hazy memories include a mountain of presents that engulfed the family grand piano, a piñata filled with treasures but somehow, she got stuck with the yucky sesame candy, and most of all, a heavy sense of the day that couldn’t yet be articulated by her child mind. As anyone who has lost a parent or a close loved one knows, the grief and the gratitude for a life that touched yours spreads out for years.
Thursday, January 25 - 8:00 PM
"An electronic jolt into modern folk and Americana, waltzing along the grooved edges of dream-pop, synth-pop, and Brooklyn’s mid-aughts guitar-rock revival." -Vanyaland "Joyous folk pop" -NPR Music "Seraphic vocals bookended by ukulele, cello & heavy percussion will leave you feeling giddy & glad to be alive." -The Stranger The name Kuinka (coo-WINK-uh) comes from the Finnish for “how”; how does a band bristling with spirited creativity continue to evolve artistically and challenge themselves while staying true to their own roots? For Kuinka, the answer comes in the form of letting go: a joyful acquiescence to their cumulative love of songwriting and shared experience, regardless of genre or instrumentation.
Friday, January 26 - 7:00 PM
Joel Ross is a bright vibraphonist “on his own rocket-like trajectory” ( New York Times ). The Chicago native has performed with celebrated jazz musicians including Herbie Hancock and Christian McBride, and has been twice selected as a Thelonious Monk Institute National All-Star. With his band Good Vibes, Ross convenes some of his most talented peers with established veterans for a cross-generational collaboration of extraordinary jazz. Performance Timing: 75 minutes, with no intermission.
Friday, January 26 - 9:00 & 11:00 PM
Born into a family of Venezuelan folk musicians, jazz pianist Benito Gonzalez has always had a deep-rooted appreciation for pastimes and traditions. Today, as a rising star of one of America’s finest musical traditions, Gonzalez has come to his current status by following in the footsteps of jazz’s ancestral forebears. The fusion of world rhythms and straight-ahead jazz makes this passionate performer an audience favorite all over the world. Benito Gonzalez is being recognized as an exciting pianist and composer for his well-received debut album ‘Starting Point’ (Christian McBride, Antonio Sanchez, Rene McLean, Ron Blake) in addition to taking home first prize at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition.Benito’s acclaimed sophomore album, ‘Circles’ (Ron Blake, Myron Walden, Azar Lawrence, Christian McBride, Jeff “Tain” Watts), reveals a very personal body of work as he emerges as a leader and an accomplished improviser.
Friday, January 26 - 6:30 PM
Dope Francis is a 4-piece band from Washington, DC which formed in 2015. Dope Francis plays lush, ambient rock with jazz and r&b influences, and is made up of Dylan Joyce on vocals, John Haylor on bass, Jeremy Padow on Guitar and Andrew Carlson on drums. Their debut EP "Good For" was recorded in the fall of 2016. The U.S. Americans When a band has the moxie to title their debut album Greatest Hits, legend and fact fuse as easily as all the elements that make up their progressive psychedelic punk-rock sound. Twenty or so years on, nobody knows if it’s a true origin story of The U.S. Americans or artful mythmaking, so we can talk about the moment that changed Jeff Weiss and Roy Abraham’s dual musical destiny from a few angles.
Friday, January 26 - 8:00 PM
Frankie Ballard. Country- blues-rocker Frankie Ballard released his latest album El Rio (Warner Nashville) to critical acclaim and was selected by Rolling Stone as one of the 25 Best Country and Americana albums of 2016 and The Tennessean as one of the best 16 Nashville albums of 2016. The singer songwriter has had three #1 country hits to date and boasts Spotify streams in excess of 2.2 million. With a combined album sales of over 450,000 to date with over 150 million total streams across all streaming platforms, Ballard continues to lead the lead country music mixing an American heartland rock sound with traditional country and blues.
Friday, January 26 - 8:00 PM
Mystery Friends. Mystery Friends is a band rooted in the Washington, DC-music tradition while forging its own path forward. Since forming in 2016, the band finds its sound from a variety of influences, but they all fit together like a weird, wonderful puzzle. The band has been likened to Chvrches and Talking Heads, among others, but never looks to copy someone else’s sound. Combining powerful vocals, angular guitars, woozy synths, and a funky rhythm section, Mystery Friends makes moderately danceable rock music for a time when people need a reason to dance. The band just released its debut EP, “This Is Not What I Expected,” available now everywhere one streams.
Friday, January 26 - 8:00 PM
The Alternate Routes are the band that helped us to remember “we are how we treat each other, and nothing more.” Now they’re back with a new single, “Safe Haven”—a love song that uses real life as its backdrop. “Nothing More” propelled the band into new ears and new heights, having been featured prominently in the 2014 Winter Olympics, on NCIS, and in a partnership with TOMS shoes. It was followed up with "Somewhere in America," a poignant and personal conversation about gun violence that earned the band a 2016 Independent Music Award and a visit to the White House. “Safe Haven” continues the socially-conscious, no-hold-barred examination on modern living that the band has increasingly embraced.
Friday, January 26 - 9:00 PM
Rap artist and actor Earl Simmons, known by his recording alias Dark Man X (DMX), hails from Yonkers, New York, U.S. He has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. Simmons got his start in music as a beatboxer in the late 80's. He collaborated with hip hop artists Ja Rule, Jay-Z, and LL Cool J on a few of their songs in the 1990's, and finally produced music independently through label Def Jam Recordings in May 1998. The album "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" exploded on the charts reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. The single "Get at Me Dog" was the most popular single on the album.
Friday, January 26 - 8:00 PM
Justin Trawick and The Common Good are a touring Americana group consisting of four friends who have been performing on stage together since 2006. Fronted by award winning songwriter Justin Trawick, the band has opened for such artists as Bob Schneider, Cowboy Mouth, Brett Dennen, Sara Bareilles, Hot Buttered Rum, Blues Traveler, Edwin McCain, Shawn Mullins, Hackensaw Boys, Pat McGee, Suzanne Vega, KC and the Sunshine Band, and even the Ying Yang Twins. The perfect entertainment for a rustic country wedding, fun backyard party, summer music festival, upbeat or themed corporate event, and more. Their upbeat blend of uniquely interpreted cover songs (Top 40, classic rock, hip hop, country, and more) and catchy memorable originals, along with the band's professionalism and easy going attitude makes Justin Trawick and The Common Good the total package.
ABOUT DISTRICT CONCERTS
If you want to quickly see what live music is playing in Washington, DC, on any given day, you've come to the right place. The District Concerts site lists over 1,000 music events per month - a dozen or more on a typical Monday (the slowest music day of the week), and 50 or more on a typical Friday or Saturday. We cover all genres, venues, and price ranges.
Every day of the year has its own page - look in the "Music Calendar" pull-down menu, click on the date that you want. You'll find a list of most of the concerts that are happening in the District on that day, complete with descriptions, venue links, artist links, and, where applicable, links to ticket and/or music samples. You can also look a little farther ahead by going to the monthly calendar - click on the Music Calendar link itself (not one of the individual dates in the submenu).
If you aren't finding the music events that you want, it could be that we aren't entirely caught up in adding events to our database (it's a time-consuming task). In that case, you can use the "old school" approach - look through the websites for the music venues that are of most interest to you. If you scroll further down on this page, you'll find a long list of links for Washington, DC, music venues, organized by genre and how frequently they host concerts.
One last note - never forget that "free" isn't always free. Naturally, if a music event is being held in a bar or restaurant, there is an expectation that you buy something. But don't forget the musicians themselves! IF THERE IS A TIP JAR, PLEASE TIP GENEROUSLY!
Enjoy the site, support local music, and spread the word!
ONLINE RESOURCES FOR CONCERTS IN WASHINGTON, DCIf you are interested in live music in Washington, DC, and aren't finding enough on this site's daily Music Calendar pages, then check out the sites that are listed below the map. The websites are categorized by "value" - the first category is sites that list events at multiple venues, the next category lists the venues that offer A LOT of music, and each of the next four categories lists venue that offer progressively less music. The final category lists a few of DC's "iconic" music groups. Note that the genre categories are not perfect fits, as most venues offer music in a variety of genres.
CONCERT LISTINGS SITES
These are some other websites that offer concert listings and generally are pretty good about keeping their listings up-to-date.
Folklore Society of Greater Washington
The FSGW regularly sponsors folk music events in the area and maintains the area's premier list of local folk music events. However, the vast majority of events on the site take place in Virginia or Maryland.
Washington Folk Music Association
This site lists folk music from throughout the region, though the vast majority of the events that are listed take place in VA or MD rather than in DC.
Friday Morning Music Club
The Friday Morning Music Club puts on a host of classical concerts around the region, most of which are free and open to the public, and few of which actually take place on Friday mornings.
The Embassay of Israel hosts concerts on rare occasion, but their website is a good resource for information about concerts at area synagogues and by Jewish artists at venues throughout the region.
Washington Performing Arts
Washington Performing Arts supports various area arts organizations; their site selectively lists classical, jazz, world, vocal, dance, and spiritual performances throughout the region.
Jazz & Blues
Capital Bop sponsors about one jazz concert a month and also maintains a jazz music calendar. One caution - some of the recurring events remain on the calendar LONG after they've stopped recurring. You might want to confirm calendar events before committing.
If the venue link doesn't have the event you're looking for, try this alternative website.
Rock & Pop
DC DIY Site
This is a fantastic site for finding information about "Do It Yourself" shows, principally rock and pop, but occasionally some other genres as well. These shows typically showcase local artists, but more often than not also include touring artists. Most of the shows are in people's homes.
If you want to check as few sites as possible to track down some live music, these venues offer music almost every night and often give you more than one choice on a given night.
Pearl Street Warehouse
The Pearl Street Warehouse strives to channel the vibes of legendary music halls from around the country, with a cozy atmosphere and American-diner fare.
It's the Kennedy Center, THE busiest performing arts facility in the United States. It hosts dozens of far-from-free arts events every week (with music in all genres, but slanting heavily toward classical), and its Millennium Stage offers free performances (mostly music, but occasionally other art forms) 365 days a year.
Jazz & Blues
Blues Alley is one of the nation's premier blues and jazz venues, offering two shows on 6 or 7 nights per week, with a mix of local and traveling acts.
Madam's Organ provides music every day. Blues music is the primary offering, with rock once or twice a week. Most music starts at 9:30 on weeknights and 10:00 on weekends.
Twins Jazz is one of DC's legendary jazz hotspots, offering two shows on most nights of the year, with a mix of local and touring acts.
Rock & Pop
The 9:30 Club is the go-to venue for nationally recognized touring acts.
The Anthem is one of the District's largest music venues. It attracts some of the biggest names in music in a space that is mammoth, yet more intimate than an arena.
The Black Cat offers entertainment most nights; the principal type of entertainment is rock music, with a blend of local and touring acts.
Bossa offers live music most nights and offers a mix of rock music and world music.
DC9 offers live music most nights, in a cozy bar atmosphere. The vast majority of the acts perform rock or pop, and most acts are touring acts. Seating is available, but be prepared to stand if you want good viewing angles.
Gypsy Sally's offers music most nights of the week (though Monday performances are rare), with free concerts in their Vinyl Lounge and paid performances on their main stage (usually both in the same night). The fare tends to be rock or Americana, with a strong affinity for Grateful Dead cover bands.
Rock & Roll Hotel
The Rock & Roll Hotel offers live music most nights, with a blend of local and touring acts.
The Hamilton offers music most nights, in a wide range of genres, and with a mix of local bands and big-name touring acts. Most events take place on their live stage, but about once a week a free concert is also provided in their loft bar.
Union Stage, brought to DC by the same people that put far-flung exurb Vienna on the map with Jammin' Java, is a medium-sized music venue that offers a mix of national touring acts and top-notch local talent.
ALMOST DAILY VENUES
These venues offer music most days of the week (or offer music every day but have the same artists again and again.)
Hill Country BBQ
Hill Country offers music most nights, usually with no cover charge. The music is usually country or folk, with the occasional rock band, and most are touring artists.
Jazz & Blues
Columbia Station offers live jazz 6 nights a week, with afternoon and evening performances on Saturdays and Sundays.
JoJo offers jazz or blues music Tuesday through Sunday each week with rotating local artists.
Mr. Henry's offers Americana every Thursday and jazz every Friday and Saturday. Shows typically start at 8:00 and usually do not require a cover charge.
The Dubliner offers live Irish music 7 nights a week.
The Rumba Cafe offers world music on Thursdays through Saturdays.
Tropicalia is a great source for a wide variety of world music. Music is offered almost every week, and some weeks feature concerts on four or five different nights.
Rock & Pop
Flash provides music 5 or so nights a week, offering primarily electronica, with a mix of DJs and producers from the region and from around the globe.
Songbyrd is music-centric, combining both a music store and a music venue. They offer music most nights, with a mix of live music and DJs. The vast majority of musicians are local.
Sotto offers a regular mix of local artists on Tuesday or Wednesday through Saturday nights, and usually offers the music at an earlier hour than most venues. The offerings tend to be rock & pop or jazz. Expect patrons to talk loudly and pay little attention to the music - the music may be largely drowned out.
Takoma Station Tavern
Takoma Station provides music almost every night. However, their website is far from informative, so many nights you'll have to guess at the type of music provided and the cover charge.
U Street Music Hall
The U Street Music Hall offers music 4 to 7 nights a week, with a mix of DJs and live music acts.
The Velvet Lounge offers live music most nights, and is known for attracting under-the-radar travelling acts and up-and-coming local acts.
These venues regularly offer live music; most of them average more than one concert a week.
American University - Katzen
During the school year, American regularly offers concerts, principally at the Katzen Arts Center, but occasionally elsewhere on campus. and at the Greenberg Theater.
Arts Club of Washington
The Arts Club regularly offers concerts at The Monroe House, the mansion which was formerly the home of President James Monroe. If the grand venue and top-flight entertainment aren't sufficient enough inducement, an added bonus is that most of the concerts are free.
Church of the Epiphany
Epiphany is regularly a host of concerts and is the venue of choice for some of the area's classical groups.
During the school year, Georgetown regularly offers free, midday concerts and a wide variety of performances scattered throughout the school calendar. Concerts are usually free, but the campus can be tough to navigate. Classical music dominates the calendar, but jazz and other genres are also sometimes provided.
Levine Music's concert offerings vary between performances by Levine students, faculty, and/or alums, and guest performers. Most events are held at the NW DC campus or their Bethesda site, but some take place at THEARC or at off-campus locations.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art regularly hosts concerts. During the summer jazz is offered in the Sculpture Garden; the rest of the year classical concerts are offered indoors (in the West Building Garden Court or the East Building Atrium or Auditorium). All concerts are free of charge and tickets are rarely required.
Many of the Smithsonian museums offer live music (with the American Art Museum being the most frequent host), and most performances are free and do not require a ticket. (The website can be a little cumbersome, and be aware that NYC events are lumped in with DC events.)
Jazz & Blues
Bistrot Lepic offers jazz music on most Mondays and Wednesdays.
Black Squirrel is a great place to catch local jazz and experimental artists, with scheduling coordinated by Indie Adams Morgan (I.A.M). However, in the past the Squirrel has not included info about the music on their site, and I.A.M. has had website maintenance issues, so tracking down information about the music can sometimes be challenging.
Jazz and Cultural Society
JACS is a not-for-profit venue that is all about jazz, offering a dozen or so concerts a month at a low entrance fee and focusing on local musicians.
New Vegas Lounge
The New Vegas Lounge's house blues band performs every Friday and Saturday night, and the lounge hosts a guest band on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month.
The Tabard offers jazz on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, with rotating local artists performing as duos.
Westminster Jazz & Blues
Westminster hosts blues almost every Monday and jazz almost every Friday, and usually also has a jazz appreciation day one Saturday a month. The music starts early (6:00), the cost is low ($5), and the musicians tend to be fantastic.
701's dining is accompanied by live piano on Thursday evenings and live piano and bass on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Georgetown Piano Bar
The Georgetown Piano Bar offers live piano seven nights a week.
Lisner is host to a wide variety of entertainment and draws internationally-recognized musicians.
The Corner Store
The Corner Store is a cozy arts venue with a wide variety of arts offerings and a mix of music that is diverse enough to be impossible to categorize. As a small organization its calendar is somewhat sporadic, but it's nonetheless well worth checking on a regular basis.
Rock & Pop
The Bayou offers live music most Friday and Saturday nights, but their website is not often up-to-date.
Capital Fringe is the host of the annual Fringefest, but also provides music, plays, and other events throughout the year. Fringefest takes place in multiple locations, but the majority of Fringe events during other times of the year take place either at the Fringe stage or at public libraries. As the name implies, Fringe music tends to be ecclectic.
Most weeks, Ebenezers offers live music once or twice, with a blend comprised primarily of pop, singer/songwriter, and folk.
Eighteenth Street Lounge
The 18th Street Lounge offers music Tuesdays through Sundays, with a mix of DJs and live acts. Their website is pretty but highly uninformative.
The Howard draws big-name acts and offers live music an average of 3 to 4 days a week, with a variety of ticketing options.
Ivy City Smokehouse
Ivy City offers a variety of music - a mix of rock and jazz, with occasional Americana. Most shows have no cover charge, but tickets are required for about a quarter of the offerings.
Jake's Boiler Room
Jakes offers live music most Friday and Saturday nights, but isn't particularly good about keeping their online calendar up-to-date.
Lost and Found
Lost and Found offers live music most Tuesday nights.
Marx Cafe regularly features DJs or live music, though their website typically offers no information beyond the name of the artist and/or the music genre of the night.
Mason Inn caters to the college crowd and offers 2 to 3 concerts most weeks. Most are rock or pop acts, but Americana acts are also in the mix. Most acts are from the greater DMV region.
Positive Force DC
Positive Force arose from the punk and hardcore scene and organizes concerts to fundraise for local causes. Their concerts are sporadic, but when they do occur they support good causes and offer a wide slate of performers, mostly local. St. Stephen's is their principal host.
Roofers Union offers live music most Friday and Saturday nights and some Wednesday nights. All concerts start at 10:00 and are free; most feature local artists.
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
Sixth and I is a performance venue with a wide variety of offerings, including concerts, performing arts, and informative programs about Jewish life. Music is offered more weeks than not, and typically features world- or nationally-renowned performers.
Slash Run is famous for their burgers and whiskey selection. They offer a steady stream of concerts, primarily punk rock, but rarely keep their events calendar up-to-date.
The Electric Maid
The Electric Maid is a nonprofit arts and community venue that regularly offers live music. The venue's website provides minimal information, but suggested donations are typically in the $5 to $10 range, and concerts most often feature a touring artist with local musicians opening.
The Pinch regularly hosts live music in a wide variety of genres, though the music does tend toward harder fare. Concerts are usually inexpensive and tend to feature a wide variety of artists, mostly local.
ALMOST WEEKLY VENUES
These venues usually have a live music event during a given week (or offer a house musician multiple times a week).
Haydee's provides a nice blend of music on a "regular sporadic" basis - music is provided often but is unpredictable. Artists are generally local and tend to be bluegrass, country, pop, or world music. Note that the music listings on the website are in no particular order (good luck!).
American University - Greenberg
American University operates the off-campus Greenberg Theatre, which principally showcases the university, but which also features guest artists on occasion.
The Atlas is primarily a performing arts venue, but they do also provide music in a variety of genres (principally classical or jazz) on a somewhat regular basis.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre
Carter Barron is a premier location for outdoor concerts during the warm (and disgustingly hot) months of the year.
Dumbarton Concerts are presented in Georgetown's Dumbarton United Methodist Church, and the intimate concerts feature chamber and jazz music.
Folger Shakespeare Library
The Folger Shakespeare Library is the principal venue for the Folger Consort, which specializes in music appropriate to Shakespeare's era.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress offers a regular slate of free, top-notch concerts. Tickets are usually required, and almost always are sold out very soon after becoming available. Nonetheless, some unclaimed "rush" tickets are generally available two hours before each performance.
The Phillips Collection hosts world-renowned classical musicians in an intimate setting; buy tickets early as performances sell out quickly.
S&R Foundation - Evermay
The S&R Foundation regularly sponsors premier classical concerts in intimate venues, with most events taking place at the Evermay Estate in Georgetown.
Jazz & Blues
The Brixton hosts DC's premier jazz jam most Sundays at 6:30.
Gallery O on H
The Gallery on O offers a wide variety of music in their courtyard on the weekends during the warm weather season and also participates in the DC Jazzfest and H Street special events.
Quill's house pianist performs Tuesday through Saturday evenings, starting at 9:00 p.m.
THEARC is a community arts venue that offers arts education and community services as well as a host of public performances. They regularly provide jazz programming and occasionally offer other genres as well.
The University of the District of Columbia offers a variety of jazz programming, including concerts by students and faculty and a "meet the artist" series.
The Banana Cafe offers a piano bar most nights of the week.
Busboys and Poets
The various Busboys and Poets restaurants each host at least one open mic night a month, and occasionally other music offerings sneak into their calendar as well. Of the DC Busboys, the Brookland location offers music most frequently.
The Lincoln hosts nationally renowned touring acts, though live music represents only a small portion of its calendar.
Mr. Smith's offers a sing-along piano bar on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 and at Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00.
WDC Jewish Community Center
The JCC's annual Jewish Music Festival is one of DC's great treasures; public concerts at other times of the year are a bit sporadic but generally worth seeking out.
Rock & Pop
Clyde's of Georgetown
Clyde's offers live music on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m., though who will be performing is typically listed only on their Facebook page, if at all.
Comet Ping Pong
Comet Ping Pong hosts an average of two or so rock shows each week; doors generally open at 10:00, and prices tend to range from $5 to $12.
Echostage is a mammoth dance music venue that offers a variety of DJs and live music, as well as outlandlishly high prices and a bafflingly frustrating website.
Penn Social offers entertainment most nights, with one or two live music offerings on most weeks. Unfortunately, their website is a bit painful to navigate despite being quite pretty.
Soundcheck offers electronica and house music about half of the nights each week.
The Warner Theatre is a performance venue of an epic scale that regularly offers arts entertainment, but which only occasionally hosts concerts. Their best seats sell out quickly, so it's best to look far ahead in their calendar.
Wonderland Ballroom generally offers entertainment about four nights a week, with live concerts once or twice a week, almost always featuring local artists.
These venues are a bit more of a roll of the dice - some are seasonal, others have regular music but don't keep their concert information up-to-date, and others have music pretty sporadically. This category also includes places whose sole music offering is a weekly jazz brunch.
Seeker's offers at least one or two concerts per month through their "Carroll Café." The concerts are usually Americana, but some other genres are offered on occasion as well. Not all of the concerts at Seekers are listed on the Seekers site - some are only listed on one of the regional folk music sites.
All Souls Unitarian
All Souls occasionally serves as a concert venue and is a regular host of a square dance with live musicians.
Catholic University occasionally hosts touring artists and also offers concerts by its students, particularly toward the end of the semester. Unfortunately, the University's website is not very informative about events.
Chevy Chase Presbyterian
Chevy Chase Presbyterian hosts one or two public concerts most months of the year.
Embassy of Austria
The Austrian Embassy occasionally hosts concerts, usually classical. Since the embassy is such a great place to see a performance, the website is worth checking every so often.
The Kreeger occasionally hosts classical concerts.
The National Cathedral occasionally offers concerts, many of an epic scale befitting the grand setting.
National City Christian Church
The National City Christian Church hosts free, midday concerts on most Fridays, generally featuring the church's organ. They also occasionally host other public concerts, though those concerts are not typically listed on the church's calendar.
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The National Shrine often offers concerts and organ recitals during the summer; music offerings throughout the remainder of the year are spotty.
Jazz & Blues
Acadiana provides a Sunday jazz brunch.
Anacostia Arts Center
The Anacostia Art Center is predominantly a space for the visual arts, but they also offer theater, performance art, and music.
Fiola offers jazz music by local musicians on most Monday and Wednesday evenings.
Geogia Brown's provides a Sunday jazz brunch.
Malmaison provides a Sunday jazz brunch.
Petworth Jazz Project
Petworth Jazz project is offered seasonally, from late spring to early autumn each year, with a series of Saturday events.
Shaw's Tavern provides a piano bar on Wednesdays and on one Friday a month, and occasionally offers live music on other nights.
Showtime bar offers music by Granny and The Boys on Sunday nights and music by other artists on other nights on occasion.
The Society of the Cincinnati occasionally hosts concerts (principally classical or early Americana) at the historic Anderson House.
The Blind Whino is a community arts venue that occasionally hosts live music performances.
Bloombars hosts multiple events on most days of the year, though young children are the target audience for most events. When Bloombars does host musicians, they tend to be top-notch artists, and the cozy venue makes for a memorable experience.
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
CHAW is a fantastic arts organization and well worth a visit; however, music is offered only occasionally.
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
The Hill Center is a community arts venue that occasionally hosts live music performances.
O Street Mansion
The museum regularly offers a rotating variety of music genres, but its admission policy is unclear - its jam sessios are open to musicians, and it seems that you can watch the jam session with the purchase of a tour pass, but you probably want to verify before going.
Rock & Pop
Boundary Stone offers an open mic night every Monday night and occasionally hosts other performances.
Capital One Arena
Events at Capital One Arena (formerly the Verizon Center) are quite frequent; concerts take place only on occasion. As one might expect, performers who take the Capital One stage are huge, internationally recognized acts.
DAR Constitution Hall
DAR hosts large events with the occasional concert. Very little concert information is provided on the DAR website, and most events use Ticketmaster, which also provides virtually no worthwhile event information. Good luck.
DC Convention Entertainment
This site covers events at the DC Armory and the Convention Center, as well as other locations under the organization's purview. Music pops up on the calendar only on occasion, but those events tend to be epic in scale.
Fort Reno Park
Fort Reno hosts concerts on Mondays and Thursdays during the summer, generally featuring area rock bands.
Zeba is a nice, sprawling neighborhood bar that somewhat regularly offers a variety of... umm... DJs? Their site has been so uninformative that we've never understood their offering and therefore have never added their stuff to the calendar.
There are FAR too many DC-based musicians to list here, but the following are some of the more "iconic" DC-based acts that tend to perform at venues (churches and special events, principally) that aren't listed above.
An established cultural institution in the greater Washington area for over 30 years, Washington Revels is dedicated to reviving and celebrating cultural traditions — music, dance, storytelling, drama and ritual — that have bound communities together over the ages and across the globe.
18th Street Singers
The 18th Street Singers is a fifty-voice ensemble of young professionals living, learning, and working in and around our nation's capital. The group's mission is to reinvigorate a new generation of choral music audiences by offering fresh, spirited interpretations of both traditional and contemporary choral works.
The Apollo Orchestra was founded with the goal of creating a superior chamber orchestra while showcasing young professional talent. Most members are graduates of conservatories or major music schools or have proven themselves in other well-recognized music venues and organizations, but hadn't yet had the opportunity to join a major orchestra or opera company.
The Washington Bach Consort is committed to the study and performance of the complete vocal and instrumental works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries. As one of the nation’s critically acclaimed and widely recognized performing arts institutions, it has appeared at numerous festivals and has made three European tours.
Cantate Chamber Singers
The Cantate Chamber Singers ensemble attracts many of the Washington, D.C., area’s finest choral musicians, selected annually by audition. The group performs a broad range of great Western choral literature spanning the past five centuries and is recognized for championing neglected masterpieces and premiering newly commissioned works.
Carmina (Latin for “poetry” or “songs”) is a chamber choir devoted to exploring the diverse musical styles of the Middles Ages through the Baroque. Since its debut in 1998 the group has performed regularly in the Washington area, and often presents joint concerts with other local ensembles.
City Choir of Washington
The City Choir of Washington is known for its finely crafted sound and creatively programmed subscription series, which breathe new life into old masterworks and pairs them with stunning renditions of new or under-performed works.
DC Boys Choir
The D.C. Boys Choir is a group of musically talented young male students, established to help develop self-esteem by revealing and nurturing their creativity through artistic expression. The D.C. Boys Choir has established itself as one of the premier youth choirs in the nation and has emerged on the national and international scene with honor and distinction.
DC Public Opera
DC Public Opera is a new, alternative opera company, founded in the belief that opera at its best offers an immediate experience that engages the emotions and imaginations of a diverse audience. Their mission is to present relevant, engaging performances that reflect a 21st-century perspective.
DC Youth Orchestra
The goals of the DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) are to 1.) Provide quality music instruction and performance opportunities for young people across the DC metropolitan area’s full diversity, 2.) Develop a Youth Orchestra capable of competing successfully at the national and international levels, and 3.) Instill in its students the discipline and focus necessary to succeed academically as well as musically.
Inscape Chamber Orchestra
The Inscape Chamber Orchestra is pushing the boundaries of classical music in riveting performances that reach across genres and generations, and transcend the confines of the traditional classical concert experience. With its flexible roster and unique brand of programming, this critically acclaimed, Grammy Award-nominated group has quickly established itself as one of the premier performing ensembles in the Washington, DC, region and beyond.
National Children's Chorus
Performing locally and abroad, the National Children's Chorus is one of few youth arts organizations in the world to have its concert series presented by professional music halls.
New Orchestra of Washington
The New Orchestra of Washington’s mission is to make music relevant to new generations of audiences through virtuosic performances that combine a diversity of genres with fresh interpretations of classic works.
NSO In Your Neighborhood
On occasion the National Symphony Orchestra will inundate one neighborhood with a plethora of free concerts. It doesn't happen often, but when it does... bonanza!
Thomas Circle Singers
The Thomas Circle Singers is a chamber choral ensemble with a dual mission: to perform diverse choral works for the enjoyment of audiences in the Washington, D.C., area and to raise awareness and funds for organizations that address the pressing needs of the city’s underserved citizens.
The Washington Chorus (TWC) is one of the foremost symphonic choruses in the nation. Noted for the superb artistry of its performances and recordings of the entire range of the choral repertoire, TWC is widely recognized as a cultural leader in the nation’s capital. In June 2016, Chorus America, the national association for choruses, honored The Washington Chorus with the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.
Washington Concert Opera
The mission of Washington Concert Opera is to provide a secure home for rarely performed operatic masterpieces, to give established artists the opportunity to perform in debut roles as well as signature roles, and to introduce the exceptional talents of emerging artists. Washington Concert Opera produces high quality, seldom performed masterpieces of the operatic repertoire.
Washington Master Chorale
The Washington Master Chorale is a vibrant, sixty-voice professional and volunteer chorus that has quickly garnered a reputation throughout the Washington region for vocal excellence and discriminating concert programing. Since its debut concert in 2010, the Chorale’s performances have received repeated critical acclaim.
Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association (WMPA) is a not-for-profit organization of musicians and music lovers dedicated to making high-quality musical performances and opportunities accessible to the community. WMPA is composed of several major programs, including three orchestras, a free summer concert series, and a composition competition.
Jazz & Blues
Afro Blue - Howard U Jazz Vocal Ensemble
Howard Universityʼs premier vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue, performs music similar to the styles of The Manhattan Transfer, Take 6, and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, while adding their own unique sound. This “vocal big band” has performed to wide critical acclaim.
Howard Gospel Choir
Formed on the campus of Howard University in 1968, the Howard Gospel Choir (HGC) is a body of students, alumni and community members dedicated to using the gift of music to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. As the first college choir of its kind in the world, HGC is a trailblazer for all gospel music ministries on collegiate campuses across the globe.
Coral Cantigas (“Cantigas”), is the only chorus of its kind in the Washington, D.C., area and most of the nation. Their mission is to increase awareness and appreciation of the many rich styles of Latin American, Spanish and Caribbean choral music, and unite communities through the joyful and transformative power of music.
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts was founded nearly forty years ago with a mission to promote excellence in arts education by supporting and recognizing students, leaders, educators, schools, institutions, and organizations.
Marine Corps Band
Various Marine Corps ensembles perform regularly around the country and often around the DC region; the DC venue at which they perform most regularly is the Marine Corps Barracks (and Annex).