Young and old alike gathered at the Black Cat Saturday to attend a relaxed festival that included experimental electronic, jazz and indie music.
D.C. Music Download’s Sounds of the City festival was put on to celebrate the blog’s five-year anniversary and to bring the District’s vibrant music community together. The four-day festival had events for musicians, venue owners, recording studios and photographers at multiple sites throughout the weekend.
Stephanie Williams, the founder and editor-in-chief of DCMD, said when planning the Sounds of the City festival, she wanted to create an event that inspired the D.C. music community, which is diverse in genre, by scheduling different types of acts and hosting panel discussions.
“I hope this festival spurs collaboration,” Williams said. “Not just collaboration, but collaboration between different genres and different groups of people.”
There’s so many people that we’ve met in the music scene that we knew we wanted to eventually bring on board for some sort of event.
Williams said the festival took more than a year to plan and was meant to highlight musicians in the District that D.C. Music Download has featured over the blog’s existence.
“We’ve been around now for five years,” Williams said. “There’s so many people that we’ve met in the music scene that we knew we wanted to eventually bring on board for some sort of event.”
Williams founded the website in 2012 as a place to upload music podcasts but has grown the website to include 30 freelance writers, editors, photographers and videographers, she said. At least four of the 30 staff members are GW alumni or current students, she added.
Connor McInerney, a senior majoring in international affairs and a music director at WRGW, started writing at DCMD in summer 2015. He said that as an international affairs major, writing for DCMD is a “project of passion.”
McInerney said DCMD’s quick success with the blog has allowed them to side-step into hosting large events, like the Sounds of the City festival. He said it’s exciting to host such a festival of live performances because the D.C. music scene is so “vibrant.”
I’ve always been astounded by how cool the community is and the great music that you can see in your own backyard without even going to the big venues.
“I’ve always been astounded by how cool the community is and the great music that you can see in your own backyard without even going to the big venues,” McInerney said.
Stronger Sex, a two-person band, opened the show Saturday – which had about 200 attendants – with their song “Shock Therapy.” The duo markets themselves as electropop and used a soundboard to DJ while they also sang.
During the performances, the audience danced, took pictures and videos, and talked to the artists during act transitions.
Ace Cosgrove, who performed at the Festival Kickoff Showcase Friday, has performed across the world, but still calls Gaithersburg, Md. home. He got his start posting his rap music online three years ago but now has released an album and performed at D.C.’s Landmark Music Festival.
“The DMV is where I grew up,” Cosgrove said. “I just want to represent the area in the best way possible through good music. I want to inspire people from the DMV to do great things in life.”