A landmark weekend in the D.C. music scene


The National Mall is known as the nation’s “front yard.” However, in recent years it has fallen into decrepitude, a state widely regarded as unfit for the so-called front yard of the nation. The grass trampled, grounds muddy and monuments in need of refurbishment. Thus when the National Park Service set out to fix it, they turned to the thing that people of all ages love the most: music. Over the weekend of September 26-27, the Landmark Music Festival hosted thousands of people who came to see Drake, The Strokes, alt-j and others that filled up the rain-filled weekend.

Starting on Saturday, the festival opened with performances by Ex Hex, The Hunts and Empresarios and District-native rapper Wale before closing with sets by Miguel and Drake at Jefferson stage. Yahoo provided streaming services, with special highlights for the more popular acts including Miguel, Drake, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, and Manchester Orchestra.

Saturday’s headliner was Canadian rapper Drake, who performed on the Jefferson stage that evening. Thousands of fans came out, despite the threat of rain. Drake opened the show with “Legend” off his mixtape If Youre Reading This Its Too Late and professed his love for his fans in the District multiple times saying that the crowd made him feel as if he was home in Toronto. He, also, personalized his songs to the District replacing city names in his lyrics to “DC.” During his hour and a half long set, Drake performed his features and remixes of songs like “Come My Way” by Fetty Wap, “Club Going Up” by ILoveMakonnen and “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj. The set ended with encore of “Energy,” but before leaving the stage Drake reminded the crowd that his next album, Views From the 6, was on its way soon and that he’ll make sure that the District would be one of his first tour dates.

Sunday featured performances by In the Valley Below, CHVRCHES and alt-j, before concluding the festival with The Strokes. “It was by far my favorite festival I’ve been to,” junior Anna Petroskey said. “I liked the vibe the most. Everyone was just having a good time listening to good music together.” That night, The Strokes played under a supermoon with, once again, thousands of fans there to cheer them on. However, their set was rain-free unlike Drake’s the previous evening.

The festival, also, featured local caterers curated by celebrity chef José Andrés, who made headlines after parting ways with Donald Trump’s new DC hotel. The catering choices included Rocklands BBQ, Pete’s New Haven Style Pizza, Shake Shack and Amsterdam Falafelshop. “All the lines for food were super long,” Petroskey said. “But it was their first year, so it makes sense.”

Landmark was a landmark in more ways than simply just the name. It was the first time the National Park Service has allowed a large-scale, for-profit venture on their grounds, as well as marking the end of the 2015 festival season. Profits from the festival will go towards the renovation of the National Mall prior to the inauguration of the next president in 2017. Although Landmark has concluded, more festivals will be coming in spring of next year, as well as the possibility of a second annual Landmark Music Festival.