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Alexandria’s Portside in Old Town Festival Returns June 21 and 22

ALX Jazz Fest @ Portside (Photo: Joy Asico for Visit Alexandria)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-The Portside in Old Town Festival is a highly anticipated event in Alexndria each summer. This year’s edition will take place over two days – Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22. On May 8, Visit Alexandria released details about plans for the festival. Many new additions, including music performances, are sure to make the 2024 Portside in Old Town Festival a memorable one. Best of all, it’s free to attend.

Note: The information below comes directly from Visit Alexandria’s press release.

New This Year

  • Friday and Saturday performances feature a new lineup of local musicians spanning Latin and American jazz, soulful blues, alt-country vibes, salsa and more.
  • As part of the City’s 275th anniversary celebrationsPort City Brewing Company will serve an original hoppy India Pale Ale called ALX275, brewed with 275 lbs. of hops, while the Office of Historic Alexandria will offer 275th-inspired activities including crafts, a game of “Guess Where,” and a glimpse of the new temporary Robinson Landing exhibit, “Mapping Alexandria: Stories of a Changing City.”
  • Activities abound on Saturday with new offerings from tall ship Providence, the National Center of Women’s Innovations (NCWI) and Rosie Riveters, plus Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia.

Friday and Saturday Performances

Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., enjoy music from diverse jazz groups, plus live poetry from local Alexandria poets between sets, during the ALX Jazz Fest @ Portside. Festival-goers will enjoy a dynamic musical lineup including soulful blues rhythms from The Lovejoy Group, the trumpet-forward sonics of Brandon Woody’s UPENDO and GRAMMY-nominated improvisational vocals from Kokayi. ALX Jazz Fest performers were selected through a collaboration with the Office of the Arts and the 2024 Alexandria Jazz Fest Activation Team. Musical sets will be complemented by interludes of poetry from local poets, including Alexandria’s poet laureate Zeina Azzam, as well as two student poet laureates from Alexandria City Public Schools. This year’s ALX Jazz Fest Advisory Team is comprised of the Smithsonian’s Curator Emeritus of American Music Dr. John Edward Hasse, d.c. space and 9:30 Club co-founder and curator Bill Warrell, DC jazz producer Omrao Brown and cultural curator and producer Munch Joseph. The Poetry Advisory Team is comprised of Alexandria poet laureate Zeina Azzam, poet/teacher/activist E. Ethelbert Miller, and Alexandria City Public School’s K-12 Literacy Team Coordinator and Secondary Literacy Curriculum Specialist Kimberly Schell and Elementary Literacy Instructional Specialist Dr. Carolyn Wooster.

Saturday from 1 to 8 p.m., the Portside Festival continues with wide-ranging musical acts starting with Latin and American jazz stylings from Taisha Estrada followed by Ethiopian jazz fusion from Feedel BandThe Walkaways will usher in alt-country vibes, while La Mafia Del Guaguanco will bring the audience to their feet with its salsa orchestra. Finally, the Adrian Duke Projek featuring Theresa Richmond closes out the night with a rousing blues performance. Alexandria-based musicians and founders of the Yellow Door Concert Series, Vaughn and Robyn Ambrose, are guest musical curators and emcees for Saturday’s performances.

Family-Friendly Activities

On Friday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m., family-friendly offerings include lawn games, hands-on art activities and more. In addition to the 275th-inspired activities from the Office of Historic Alexandria, festival sponsor Dominion Energy presents cornhole and lawn games on the turf.

On both days, enjoy art activities and local vendors in the art and retail area in the Unit/0 block of King Street and beneath the shade structure canopies in Waterfront Park, as well as a visit from Alexandria’s very own Mobile Art Lab, courtesy of the Office of the Arts. Vendors and exhibitors include local artisans and creatives from throughout Alexandria and the region, as well as artists from the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

On Saturday only, tall ship Providence will offer “Pay What You Can” open house tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tickets are available for purchase for a 6 p.m. evening sail. Science fans of all ages can engage in activities to learn about Earth, outer space and more from the National Center of Women’s Innovations (NCWI) and Rosie Riveters. Plus, families can join Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia to craft a shoe charm to bling out the kiddos’ kicks. Bubbles and coloring pages will also be available. Kids can explore more hands-on fun such as rock painting, giant magic bubbles, and temporary tattoos with Safe Space NOVA and become the crafter and captain of their own mini cork boat with Upcycle Creative Reuse Center.

Food and Drink Offerings

On both days of the festival, award-winning Port City Brewing Company will serve local craft beer including their special ALX275 IPA and 2024 World Beer Cup winning Belgian-Style Witbier brew, Optimal Wit, among others. They will also offer their hops-infused sparkling water, HopwellLost Boy Cider’s Comeback Kida Virginia-based Cabernet Franc from Horton Vineyards, plus Cannonball Sauvignon Blanc. Attendees can enjoy a selection of food and drinks from Alexandria-based small businesses Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling CompanyHen QuarterTequila & TacoThe Light HorseUnion Sandwich Co., Dolci GelatiA.M. Kettle and Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana.

 Transportation and Special Hotel Rates

Festival attendees are encouraged to leave their car behind and take advantage of transportation options including free DASH buses and the free King Street Trolley. Take Metro’s Blue or Yellow Lines to the King St-Old Town station and stroll one mile on King Street to the waterfront or take the free King Street Trolley to Market Square then walk two blocks to the festival. For more modes of transportation, including the water taxi and parking recommendations, check out the festival website.

Make it a weekend in Alexandria with special discounted rates at five festival hotel partners accessible via Additionally, eleven hotels are offering the “Love, Alexandria” package with special rates throughout the summer and water taxi passes, free parking and Key to the City museum passes (restrictions apply).

Volunteers who wish to join the team that brings this event to the community can sign up via Volunteer Alexandria’s portal to become an activity volunteer or an info tent/survey volunteer.

The Portside in Old Town Summer Festival and the ALX Jazz Fest @ Portside are produced by Visit Alexandria and the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts.

Thank you to our 2024 festival sponsors and partners: Virginia Tourism Corporation, Dominion Energy, First Watch Strategies and Port City Brewing Company.

For a full festival schedule and more information, visit

Event Listing

Portside in Old Town Summer Festival

Friday, June 21, 2024, 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, June 22, 2024, 1 to 8 p.m.
Free Admission
Waterfront Park, 1A Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314

Kick off summer with the return of the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival. This free festival features an array of live music, local craft beer from Port City Brewing Company and fun for the whole family on the Alexandria waterfront. The event includes Friday evening jazz performances and readings by Alexandria poets as part of the ALX Jazz Fest @ Portside. Saturday, the festival continues with an eclectic musical lineup, local food, hands-on art and history activities and more. New this year, as part of the City’s 275th anniversary celebrations, Port City Brewing Company will serve an original hoppy India Pale Ale called ALX275, brewed with 275 lbs. of hops.

[SEE ALSO: Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Draws Sellout Crowd to 38th Annual Gala]

Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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