WEB EXTRA: Damn: DAM! Festival brings music spotlight to DC

If you came up with a really cool costume this year, but you still don’t have any plans to show it off this weekend, worry not. The District’s Awake! Music Festival debuts this weekend. No, it’s not a costume party. But you should still wear a costume, because hey, it’s Halloween.

The first ever DAM! Fest is made up of handful of concerts taking place this weekend at venues throughout the district. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, you’ll be able to watch sets at Velvet Lounge, DC9, the Red & the Black, and Rock & Roll Hotel (unfortunately, shows at those first three are 21+.sorry kids).

With 38 bands performing over the course of these three nights, you’ll have to pick and choose carefully (check out damfestival.org for the full schedule). Each club’s $10-$15 cover charge will also score you admission to that night’s after party, which will include DC’s own Sharkey and Brooklyn’s James F!@.$%^ Friedman spinning on consecutive nights.

For those of you who have been wishing to explore DC’s music scene, or if you’ve been wondering where to find it, this weekend’s festival will likely be worth checking out. The brainchild of local Eric Boucher, the DAM! Fest’s goal is to help take the music scene in DC to a standard appropriate for our nation’s capital. Boucher has been pursuing this goal since 2003, when he founded the music blog BigYawn.net, a forum for DC’s music scene, artists and fans alike, to discuss good music local and national. Toward this ends, the first DAM! Fest will be seeing local acts performing with groups that have been making a splash while touring nationally.

The festival got a head start last week with a pre-party at the Rock & Roll hotel that included the quite-familiar-to-GW Exit Clov, and spinning later in the evening was the DJ Geologist of the pop unit Animal Collective. This weekend’s performances will include many more local act’s, such as Let’s French, Carol Bui, and Laura Burhenn, and some out-of-town acts ranging from the bluesy Cold War Kids to the Japanese girl rockers Gito Gito Hustler. The festival will formally conclude on Thursday, November 2nd, with a hangover party featuring Cloud Cult and the Hot IQs

And if you need more proof that local scenes have more heart than the big record labels, all the DAM! Festival is teaming with Community Help in Music Education (CHIME), a non-profit that works to promote musical education in public schools that lack it. At every show, they will be accepting donations of musical instruments. So this weekend, if you make it out to one of the clubs, don’t just do it for yourself as you discover all sorts of cool new music. Do it for the kids, too.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.