Today marks the start of the Forward Festival, DC’s own five-day celebration of electronic music, art, and culture. Now in its fifth year, Forward’s lineup is arguably its best yet, with wide-ranging events staged in venues across the city. Not just a music festival, Forward also features educational panels, workshops, and film screenings. If you bought a festival pass and plan to devote the rest of the week to Forward, you’re in for a treat. But what about those dabbling in the festival? Here are my picks for Forward’s standout events.
Even though the existence of monthly Moombahton Massives has lessened their sense of urgency, the party is still an essential part of DC’s homegrown genre. The 14th (!) edition of MM brings, as usual, Nadastrom and Sabo alongside Toronto’s Slowed crew, Torro Torro and Lucie Tic.
While U Hall keeps the party going with techno pioneer Jeff Mills, my money is on something different, as Distal and DFRNT perform at Patty Boom Boom. Nothing says “forward” more than future bass DJs taking over a venue whose soundsystem usually pumps out reggae and dancehall.
Predictably, my pick for Forward’s best showcase isn’t house or techno, but bass. Head over to the Warehouse Loft for the type of lineup rarely seen in DC, including Freq Nasty, Silkie, B. Bravo, and the (underbilled) Jacques Greene. The $30 ticket is more than justified by the five rooms of music, live art, and dancers – both aerial and with fire, and the fun goes until 5am.
Finally, it’s block party season! Join the Forward family at a private lot for a free party that features a host of DC’s up-and-coming DJs.
If you’re still standing on Sunday night, keep an eye on Meltdown. It’s next to the Rock and Roll Hotel, the lineup is a closely guarded secret, and it’s free. As the Facebook event says, “Only the strong survive.”