Sounds of Summer

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FeelFree returns to the Del Ray Music Festival. Photo by Wayne Hulehan

A cold beer, food from top Alexandria restaurants, and a free outdoor concert featuring some of the region’s best local music is the formula for a perfect summer night in Del Ray.

Local bands will perform on two stages at the 11th Annual Del Ray Music Festival on Saturday, July 14 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square, located at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Oxford Avenue in the heart of Del Ray. Mount Vernon Avenue will be closed to traffic for the three blocks adjacent to the stage, and seven of Del Ray’s top restaurants will host pop-up beer gardens.

From jazz and funk to reggae and classic rock, the 11-band lineup reflects the diversity of the region’s music scene.

“Diversity is very important in my selection process for bands,” said Del Ray Music Festival Chair John Patrick, the founder of Rock of Ages Music. “There is a wealth of music in the metropolitan area. I find it very important to give as much of it, as I can, the opportunity to be exposed to a new audience. The Del Ray Music Festival has shown to be a great vehicle to help these local groups attract new fans. I love being able to help these talented musicians grow their fan bases.”

This year’s lineup:

Den-Mate — Den Mate’s label, Babe City Records, calls DC songwriter/producer Jules Hale’s music “arresting,” bridging “dreamy guitar pop and the exciting world of progressive electronica.” DCist raves, “Den-Mate’s powerful momentum has put Jules Hale front and center of the D.C. indie music scene.”

Den-Mate makes her Del Ray Music Festival debut on July 14.

Feel Free — This “genre-bending” band, together since their days at Alexandria’s George Washington Middle School, returns to their Del Ray neighborhood for the music festival just a week after their latest album drops. Northern Virginia Magazine describes their blend of reggae, rock, funk, and jazz influences as “the sound of summer.”

Greenland — DC Music Download calls this group a “delightfully unorthodox quartet,” while The Deli writes, “part literal lyric interpretation, part psych-colored basement jam session, their music is surely going to entertain you.”

Origem — Performing in the metro area for over 15 years, this trio performs a variety of Brazilian music styles mixed with jazz and funk “to create an exciting unique sound like no other” — with the mission to bring awareness of Brazilian culture through music.

Gordon Sterling And The People — The latest project of guitarist and singer Gordon Sterling, a long-time fixture in the DC music scene, this band brings an “eclectic blend of psychdelia and soul with a touch of bluesrock.”

Dan Wolff And The Muddy Crows — This award-winning Modern-Americana/Roots-Rock group specializes in original music, but also maintains an extensive repertoire of multi-genre covers. After winning DC’s “Best Originals Band” contest in 2015 and 2017, they completed a month-long European tour, featuring 22 shows across 17 cities.

Duke Ellington Tribute — A group of local musicians will come together exclusively for the Del Ray Music Festival to pay tribute to the legendary Duke Ellington, an originator of big-band jazz.

The Porch Lights — Formed in 2015, the Porch Lights are the self-described “official house band of the Rosemont neighborhood of Alexandria,” mixing working-class rock, indie faves and alt-country classics with a few quirky current tunes” — and often for a good cause; last year the band raised over $10,000 for Gifts for the Homeless.

The Derds — Nicknamed “The Hardest Working Band in Del Ray,” this all-local band mixes covers with originals drawing from American roots and classic rock.

Left on Lincoln — Together since 2010, this 7-piece rock cover band made Arlington Magazine’s list of 50 Local Bands and Musicians You Should Know.

Noise in the Basement — One of the region’s top Alt-Rock cover bands, this Alexandria-based band was formed by the Druids at StoneHenge. Held each summer, the Del Ray Music Festival celebrates the local talent in the Washington, DC area music scene. The event is free and open to all. For more information, including a full schedule, visit www.delraymusicfestival.com.