While the typical downtown D.C. lunchtime soundtrack features cars, horns and conversations, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRBITC) is showcasing sounds from around the DMV and world. In its 22nd season, the Live! Concert Series is back at Woodrow Wilson Plaza, every weekday from noon to 1 p.m. until Sept. 15, offering free music, fresh air fun and diverse cultural experiences for the whole family.
“We started it back in 2000, really as a way to enhance the experience for downtown locals, the workforce, [and] visitors coming into town,” explained Jacie Lallis, vice president of marketing for Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA), the exclusive managers of the trade center.
“[We wanted] to activate that plaza,” Lallis continued, “which really serves as a thoroughfare between the National Mall and the business district, and then offer that as a platform to showcase local artists and entertainers.”
The diversity of sounds and cultures in the District are on full display throughout the series.
“We really strive for a mix of genres, being the trade center,” Lallis said. “[There are] the typical genres, but also cultural music from around the world. So things like jazz, Latin, country, R&B, and of course go-go.”
As the official music of the District, the Live! Concert Series particularly highlights the “go-go swing.”
“Some of the bigger bands grace the stage this season,” Lallis told the Informer.
The go-go bands this year include: Still Familiar, which kicked off this year’s series on July 10; Backyard Band is scheduled to perform Sept. 1; Rare Essence is slated for Sept. 8, and the legendary group E.U. featuring Sugar Bear is set to take the stage on Sept. 15.
Beyond go-go, the series also aims to expose people from around the area and world to the wealth of music, artists and cultures in the District of Columbia,
“There’s a real focus on local talent here in the District.”
Local artists and bands such as DuPont Brass, are excited to heat up the stage and engage with old and new fans.
“We’re very excited to perform in the long standing ‘Live! Concert Series’ and kick off our Summer Vibes Tour,” DuPont Brass said in a statement. “People should come out and see us because we literally have something in mind for every listener. Hope to see you there!”
In addition to jamming to the free music this summer, guests are also invited to “Play on the Plaza,” which offers supersized games for the whole family, including a giant Connect 4 and mega chess.
“It is kind of an oversized play area with cornhole and different games that people can play… engaging people to stay and hang out and have fun on the plaza while they’re there,” Lallis said.
With umbrellas, tables, chairs and loads of lunch spots in and around the trade center, D.C. natives and first-time visitors alike, can tap into the free fun and cultural experiences as part of the Live! Concert Series.
“Take in this quiet oasis of a plaza and the beautiful music– free music— that’s happening on the stage,” Lallis said. “It’s a great destination.”