Columbia Pike Blues Festival 25th Anniversary2022-08-31T10:55:59-04:00

June 18th, 2022

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Columbia Pike Blues Festival Celebrates 25 Years

Mark Your Calendar for “Arlington’s Best Block Party”

Every summer since 1995, Columbia Pike has hosted the largest Blues Festival in the DC metropolitan area. This free outdoor music event sees thousands of residents and visitors come together each year in South Arlington. From live blues, jazz, and bluegrass music, to family-friendly activities, to craft beer and wine and to local vendors, you’ll find something for everyone at what Arlington Magazine called “Arlington’s best block party.”

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Shemekia Copeland Headlines Festival Expanded With Pop-Up Concerts, Movie Night and a Juneteenth Walk!

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary with its first fully in-person event since the pandemic, vocalist Shemekia Copeland (2021 Blues Foundation “Entertainer of the Year”) headlines The Columbia Pike Blues Festival on Saturday June 18th from 1:00 to 8:30 pm. The special anniversary lineup will showcase a variety of blues, R&B, and funk performers of national and regional note, including Eric Scott, Robbin Kapsalis & Vintage #18, Shakin’ Woods, and Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark.

Shemekia Copeland

2021 Blues Foundation “Entertainer of the Year

6:30 PM

Shemekia Copeland never holds back. Her instantly recognizable voice—capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring—delivers every song with unparalleled honesty and passion. Her wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. With her new Alligator Records album, America’s Child, Copeland confidently announces an electrifying new chapter in her constantly evolving story. Produced by Americana Instrumentalist Of The Year winner Will Kimbrough (who also plays guitar on the album) and recorded in Nashville, America’s Child is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose, a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise.


“Copeland is a powerhouse, a superstar…she can do no wrong.”
–Rolling Stone

“America’s Child is a groundbreaking, genre-bending work of beauty. Shemekia is one of the great singers of our time. This record introduces listeners to another side of her, and I predict it will result in many new fans. Her voice on these songs is nothing short of magic.”
–Mary Gauthier

“Shemekia Copeland is the real deal. America’s Child goes deep and Shemekia‘s voice—a national treasure—carries the songs effortlessly, whether topical, personal, spiritual, political or just plain raucous fun. Shemekia rears back her head and what comes out is humanity made vocal.”
–Will Kimbrough

“Shemekia Copeland is one of the great blues voices of our time. No one comes close to the sheer firepower that Copeland conjures at will.”
–Chicago Tribune

Eric Scott

4:50 PM

While Washington, DC soul artist Eric Scott didn’t want to “re-create” the sound of ’70s Soul, instead he’s unapologetically applied a fresh coat of paint to it with his latest album PEACE BOMB. Calling his new music “Modern Throwback Soul,” Scott’s music continues to evolve. Unafraid of a pop hook, his sound has been described as “funky church,” featuring Scott’s Gospel and Soul drenched voice, which remains front and center on his six albums released on his Itzall Goode Music label.

Scott has toured internationally as a solo artist and bassist, sharing the stage with a diverse array of artists including James Brown, B.B. King, Aaron Neville, Keb’ Mo’, Mavis Staples, and many more. Recent collaborations include a stint as a vocalist for the Wounded Warriors MusiCorps Band with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Tom Morello, and Billy Corgan. His music has been featured on network and cable TV, as well as several major and indie motion pictures. His instantly recognizable voice has been featured in ad campaigns for HGTV, NAT GEO, Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Chrysler, DC Lottery, and many more.

Robin Kapsalis and Vintage #18

3:30 PM

Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage #18 ignited the Washington D.C. Blues and Soul music scene in 2013, but they’ve already racked up a slew of well-deserved accolades. Their 2017 debut “Grit” was nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award (New Artist Debut Album) and they’ve been featured artists everywhere from Memphis, TN all the way to the Kennedy Center’s New Year’s Eve Celebration.

Their sophomore album, “Soul Shaker” – released in October 2021 – landed a coveted spot on the Living Blues charts, and placement in the top 15 of B.B. King’s Bluesville Rack of Blues on Sirius XM radio; the album also earned ‘best of the year’ spots for all of 2021 by Blues Music Magazine reviewers.

The celebrations of Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage #18 are justified. If you listen to their records, which step into Blues with a lotta Soul, you’ll easily understand. And if you get to hear them live, you’ll only want to hear them more. Kapsalis’s mesmerizing performances in her trademark white boots with a matching fringe dress command attention – alongside her stellar band – offering audiences a marvelous gumbo of musical talent mixed with charisma and passion.

Shakin’ Woods

2:10 PM

Shakin’ Woods is an American Blues band founded in 2019 in the Washington, DC metro area. The group began as an offshoot of Rich Russman’s debut solo CD, First In Line. Fellow founding member Paul Dudley, a veteran of the DC music scene, collaborated with Russman to craft a modern Blues project with the goal of writing, recording, and touring. Following a regular schedule of experimenting for several months with different ideas, the band added George Belton on bass and Austin Day on keyboards/guitar to complete the lineup.

The group has recorded 12 songs, released as 3 4-song EPs throughout 2020 and 2021. Produced and tracked at Rich’s Bradshaw studios in Virginia, the band welcomed a great opportunity to hire industry giants Jack Douglas and Jay Messina for mixing and mastering.

The engine of the group is driven by Paul’s steady, yet energetic beats, coupled with George’s swampy, soulful basslines. The guitars, provided by Rich and Austin, bring elements of Southern Rock and old-school Delta Blues. Day also takes on added duties with exceptional keyboard work. The members take turns at lead vocals, creating a nice mix of raw energy and haunting soul.

Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark

1:00 PM

Anthony Clark is a world class musician who has performed, and recorded with some of the best local and national blues acts and has won the Washington Battle Of The Blues Bands, and the Central Delaware Blues Society representing the area in Memphis TN in 2011 finishing in the semi-finals. Anthony started out playing the drums at the age of five, and by the time he was twelve, started listening to the blues greats. Musicians like Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Paul Butterfield, and Sonny Boy Williamson, just to name a few.

The band has played up and down the east coast, from Pennsylvania, to Tennessee. His CD “RAW” has been featured on many college, and Internet radio stations. The music is a blistering mix of contemporary blues with a funk edge.

Today you can see Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark at various festivals, and clubs opening for the likes of Chuck Brown, Deanna Boggart, and Betty Lavette. He has also played alongside Joe Louis Walker, and Kenny Neal.

Food & Drink

The Columbia Pike Blues Festival is the best place to sample a variety of foods from local restaurants, food trucks, and more. Past food vendors have included Sloppy Mama’s BBQ, Mac’s Donuts, Rebellion on the Pike, Caspi, and Cantina Mexicana. Stay tuned for the full list of participating food vendors this year.

Our beer selection is brought to you by New District Brewing Company, a family and friend-owned business built from the ground up right here in Northern Virginia. The wine list is curated by local restaurant Rincome Thai.

Activities & Shopping

Art Alley

Each year 9th Rd. S. becomes Art Alley! The Arlington Art Truck offers interactive art exhibits and art activities, and the Columbia Pike Documentary Project will display photos from their collection. Check back soon for more activities!


Along the grassy area in front of Fillmore Gardens Apartments you’ll find a ton of family fun! In recent years, the KidZone has included a moon bounce, face painter, lawn games, and more. Check back soon for our list of 2022 activities.


Throughout the festival you’ll find a huge selection of artisans, commercial vendors, and local nonprofits. From puppets to jewelry, home decor to home services, you’ll enjoy browsing through the dozens of tents to find something truly unique. Check back soon for more details.

Getting Here

The Blues Festival stretches down S. Walter Reed Dr. from Columbia Pike to 9th St. S. There are several car-free options for getting to the festival and ample parking is available in nearby garages.

Find public transportation options with Arlington’s Car-Free Diet.

Check the availability and rates of nearby garages with ParkMe.

Blues Moments all Weekend…

The Blues Festival Weekend kicks off on Friday, June 17th with the live performance of blues musical band the Lenny & Tim Duo and Chef curated Blues specials at William Jeffrey’s Tavern. The Columbia Pike Blues Festival starts on Saturday, June 18th at 1:00 pm with the performance by Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark, followed by Shakin’ Woods at 2:10 PM, Robin Kapsalis & Vintage #18 at 3:30 PM, Eric Scott at 4:50 PM, and Shemekia Copeland at 6:30 PM, interact with the Arlington Art Truck from 3:00 – 7:00 PM and enjoy food, beverages, arts and family activities throughout the event. On Sunday, June 19th, enjoy a Historic Juneteenth Walk through the neighborhood in collaboration with the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington and Walk Arlington from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, visit the Columbia Pike Farmers Market for the live performance of Rick Franklin from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, followed by a special “Blues Brunch Menu” at Café Sazón with the live performance of blues musical artist J Chris Urquiaga, and closing the weekend with the free screening of the musical-comedy The Blues Brothers (a classic packed with blues and R&B legends from B.B. King and Ray Charles to Aretha) at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse at 3:00 PM.

Volunteer Opportunities Available

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Special Thanks to Our Annual Sponsor

2022 Blues Festival Sponsors


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