Columbia Pike Blues Festival 20232023-06-15T10:38:42-04:00

June 17th, 2023

Columbia Pike Blues Festival Celebrates 26 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.”

Guests are welcome to bring their own chairs.

A signature initiative of

Produced in partnership with   


Judith Hill Headlines Festival Expanded With Pop-Up Activities Throughout the Weekend!

Winning accolades for appearing with Prince, vocalist and guitarist JUDITH HILL headlines The Columbia Pike Blues Festival on Saturday (1:00 – 8:30pm) June 17th, 2023. Featured in the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” it’s a ‘family affair’ for Hill whose blues musician parents are in her backup band. The family vibe continues with a full line up of blues, R&B, and funk performers of national and regional note that includes: husband and wife singer & guitarist Annika Chambers & Paul DesLauriers, Arlington’s master guitarist and vocalist Bobby Thompson, Baltimore’s Gayle Harrod Band, and acoustic DC-duo Spice Cake Blues.

Judith Hill

Featured in the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom”

6:30 PM

On her latest LP Baby, I’m Hollywood, Judith Hill unveils a kaleidoscopic document detailing her journey of self-discovery. The 13-track record is a vibrant excursion into the annals of Black music: past, present and future. Rich in throwback soul, stunning piano balladry, and swaggering psychedelic funk, the self-produced album finds Hill liberated, focused and reborn. Hailing from Los Angeles, CA, Judith Hill comes from a Japanese/African American bi-racial musical family. Mother Michiko and father Robert (aka: “Pee Wee”) met in a 1970’s funk band and continue to perform in Judith’s ensemble. Over the next decade Judith evolved into a soul singer, songwriter, and badass bandleader collaborating with iconic artists across multiple genres, including: Spike Lee; John Legend, Josh Groban, and a duet with the late Michael Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” Her career is explored in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, where her performances helped it also win a Grammy for “Best Music Film.” Registering solidly on the fourth season of TV’s The Voice, Hill sang on the official soundtracks for Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, and Happy Feet Two. Prince, the late genius produced her critically acclaimed 2015 debut full-length solo album Back in Time, on which he also performs. This was followed in 2017 with a self-produced sophomore LP, Golden Child.


“Blistering! [Hill] is a great vocalist, yes, but her guitar shredding was incredible!
– (3/9/23)

“’Baby, I’m Hollywood!,’ [is] a soulful, introspective, funky, toe-tapping and head-bobbing journey through Hill’s life and times.”
–American Songwriter

Annika Chambers & Paul DesLauriers

4:50 PM

Both on stage and in private life, these two internationally acclaimed artists share incredible chemistry. Their brief first introduction in the crowded lobby of the historic Orpheum Theatre during the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, left a lasting impression on both of them. A year later, at a recording session during 2019 IBC that their professional acquaintance blossomed into a love affair, culminating in marriage in August of 2019! Since that time, renowned Canadian Blues-Rocker Paul DesLauriers and acclaimed American Soul-Blues singer Annika Chambers (2022 Blues Music Award – ”Best Female Soul-Blues”) have unified their artistic destiny, much to the joy of everyone who’s had the pleasure of hearing and seeing them together.

Bobby Thompson

3:30 PM

The awe-inspiring master guitarist and vocalist is no stranger to the blues and rock world. Thompson cut his teeth learning to play in the old blues clubs of D.C. from the likes of Bobby Parker. After honing his craft as a much sought-after support man, Thompson decided to step out as a solo artist, releasing seven albums since 2011.

It’s been said that creativity takes courage, and self-expression is a way to show the world your inner soul. Always with a new group of songs and continually working on a new album, Bobby has let down his guard, and become more than the instrumentalist he gained a reputation for. He loves performing in both acoustic solo and electric band settings, and brings an authenticity and professionalism to both. As a songwriter, Thompson has expanded beyond the guitar techniques and jams he’s been known for, and built a following off of a holistic view of how a live music experience can take the listener on a journey.

Gayle Harrod Band

2:15 PM

Gayle Harrod is living proof that it’s never to late. She began her public singing career in 2011 at the age of 42 with the Soul and Blues band Triple Shot. Since then she has performed with Classic Rock and Blues band Blues Deluxe and the Blues and R&B band Shakedown before bringing together some of the best musical talent in the area to form The Gayle Harrod Band.

Gayle’s dynamic, imposing vocal performances have been described as moving, powerful, raw, emotional and expressive. She is equally at ease belting out a well-worn Blues standard or grooving on an iconic R&B classic. Gayle commands the stage with versatility and dynamic control, captivating audiences with forceful, full-powered vocals as well as showing off her softer side with a heartfelt delivery that can make a grown man cry.

With her distinctive phrasing and raucous growl that can rattle the rafters, she is reminiscent of greats like Etta James and Koko Taylor. Her gravelly vocal style makes people sit up and take notice, while her warm, soulful tone and smooth, R&B vocals get them grooving on the dance floor. She is able to connect with her audience on a personal level through her original lyrics, soft-like-a-cashmere-sweater delivery and the raw emotion of a young Bonnie Raitt, and unique delivery of covers, transforming each song into her own.

Gayle has been mentored by the likes of Gaye Adegbalola of Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women and Resa Gibbs of MSG Acoustic Blues Trio, as well as Boogie-woogie Piano man, Daryl Davis.

Spice Cake Blues

1:00 PM

Semi-finalists in the 2023 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, local blues duo Ya Ya Patterson and Miles Spicer bring their special acoustic flavor to open this year’s Festival.

Activities & Shopping

Art Alley

Each year 9th Rd. S. becomes Art Alley! The Arlington Art Truck offers interactive art exhibits and art activities. Spend some time the Arlington Art Truck, get a book from the READ Early and Early bus and be delighted by local art and handmade products.


Along the grassy area in front of Fillmore Gardens Apartments you’ll find a ton of family fun! This year’s KidZone include a moon bounce, face painter, lawn games, and more.


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.


  1. Sloppy Mama’s BBQ
  2. Suya to Go
  3. Mac’s Donuts
  4. Cousins Maine Lobster
  5. Healthpub
  6. Capital Remodeling
  7. Arlington County Democratic Committee
  8. Kitchen Saver
  9. Audrey Clement
  10. Gordo’s Puppets
  11. Rebellion on The Pike
  12. Carol’s Concessions
  13. Rossana Coffee Truck
  14. League of Women Voters
  15. Arlington County’s Historic Preservation Program
  16. Y & S Handcrafted
  17. Red Carpet Remodeling
  18. JD For Arlington
  19. Parissa for Justice
  20. Los Chamacos
  21. Arlington Animal Hospital
  22. Columbia Pike Library
  23. Car-Free Diet
  24. Fillmore Garden Apartments
  25. Wolf Trap
  26. Wanda for Sheriff
  27. Frosty Softy
  28. BEC – Black Employment Council
  29. ECDC
  30. Natalie Roy for County Board
  31. Sumak Art – Jewelry
  32. Arlington County Transportation Department
  33. Derrick Sweet Heat Organic Pepper Jelly
  34. Easco Bonsai Trees
  35. Pop’s Praiseworthy Popcorn
  36. Female Power Project
  37. Area 2 Farms
  38. Arlington Presbyterian Church
  39. Inca Sun Import & Export
  40. Colibri Crafts
  41. La Colectiva
  42. Music For Life
  43. Troy Montana Jewelry
  44. Deft Melange
  45. WERA 96.7 FM
  46. Jems Jems Jewelry
  47. Obbligato Music
  48. Just what I Was Looking For!
  49. Comcast
  50. Art Truck
  51. Read Early And Daily Bus
  52. Kinross Hill
  53. Stix & Stones
  54. Glamorous Beads
  55. Dirty Dan’s Delectable Dyes
  56. King of Pops
  57. Face Painter

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, Los Chamacos, and more. 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.

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…

Blues moments are a great way to connect with the community and celebrate the rich history of Juneteenth. These auxiliary events are part of the Blues Festival and offer a unique opportunity to experience incredible music and entertainment. From live performances to community activities, the blues moments are sure to create unforgettable memories. So come and be a part of the celebration and immerse yourself in the soulful sounds of the blues!

Restaurants Deals and Discounts

You won’t want to miss out on the Blues Discounts & Specials at Columbia Pike restaurants this Saturday! There’s something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for a delicious meal or just looking for some great deals. Gather your friends and family and head on down to Columbia Pike for a day of fun, food, and music!

  • Sabores Restaurant: Enjoy a refreshing “Blue Margarita” throughout the entire month of June. Cheers to the blues!
  • Supreme Hot Pot: Get 10% off on dine-in orders exclusively for Blues Festival guests. Experience a hot pot feast like no other.
  • Takohachi Japanese Restaurant: Treat yourself to a delicious meal and receive a complimentary Mochi dessert with your purchase. Indulge in an authentic Japanese flavor.
  • Lost Dog Cafe South Arlington: $10 Blue’s Fest Cocktails, 15% off for festival guests, and 28% off Blue Moon six packs (carryout only).
  • Bethel Cafe: Buy One, Get One sambusa, and indulge in a coffee-tasting experience. Discover Ethiopian flavors!
  • Eli’s Taqueria: Any 3 tacos for just $10. Satisfy your cravings with mouthwatering Mexican street food!

Volunteer Opportunities Available

Presented in Collaboration With:

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors


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