11 Essential Acts To See At Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival This Saturday


Photo by Matthew Brazier

Are you headed to this year’s Kingman Island Festival? Excited about checking out the five different stages of awesome local music?  We are too – and even better, we’ve broken out some of our must-see acts. We have you going from stage to stage, but hey, the music is worth it and you’ll get some exercise. Early bird tickets are already sold out, you slacker! Luckily, you can still get tickets here or at the gate-if there are any left. We’ll see you there – at ALL the stages.

Split String Soup @ Main Bluegrass Stage (12:30pm-1:10pm

This group is the right way to start your day. Their quick tempos and toe-tapping beats will get your energy and spirits up as high as the sun will be shining – or as high as we hope the sun will be shining. Split String Soup are local Virginia natives, all-around solid performers and a fun act to watch. Starting your day with them will be setting the bar high for the rest of your time at the festival.


Delafield String Band @ the REI Stage (1pm-1:40pm)

This quintet will bring you beautiful tunes from the mandolin, dobro and banjo. They’ve been playing in the D.C. area for a while now, so if you haven’t seen them yet, make sure you check them out and listen closely for their infamous banjo picking.


The Stick Mob @ the REI Stage (1:50pm-2:30pm)

We don’t think you should go very far for the next act – in fact, stay where you are! This band is a little less bluegrass and a little more hillbilly folk (yes, there is a difference). The Stick Mob brings a bit more feminine prowess to the stage than the last group, and their harmonies are also brilliant.


Lulu’s Fate @ the WAMU Country Bluegrass Stage (2pm-2:50pm)

Lulu’s Fate is comprised of seasoned musical professionals who have created a wonderful niche as a trio. They sing more of a traditional style of folk music, and you probably won’t hear anything else like it. The gorgeous lead vocals are supported by the smartly-performed harmonies and a mix of cello and guitar.


19th Street Band @ the Island Stage (3pm-3:50pm)

Alright, now head on over to the Island Stage sponsored by Acre 121 to get pumped up with this spirited band! We’re sure you’ve heard of the 19th Street band before, as they’ve been known to pack local venues like Jammin’ Java and Rock and Roll Hotel. If you happen to be out of the loop, now is your chance. They combine Americana, country and rock with the help of a stand-up bass, fiddle and acoustic guitar. They have a bunch of original songs, and they’re also known for throwing in some familiar covers as well.


Dead Professional @ the WAMU Country Bluegrass Stage (4pm-4:50pm)

Okay, now head on back to the WAMU stage to get in some time with a rock band. Dead Professional’s music is cool and smooth, with a focused guitar and bass rhythms. John Harouff’s voice aesthetically seems light and airy, but is deep and soulful – it’s a unique mix that has him compared frequently to Tom Petty.


Walker’s Run @ Main Bluegrass Stage (4:40pm-5:20pm)

This is a well-seasoned group that has a few albums out and a newly released three-track EP. They have played on some famous stages before, like Telluride Bluegrass Festival and at D.C.’s very own Kennedy Center. Walker’s Run defines their music as Appalachian folk, combining a mandolin, fiddle and bass as well as percussion and guitar. While true to this kind of bluegrass sound, they will surprise you as they incorporate different genres of music into their set, such as jazz and punk. You’re in for a treat – enjoy!


Plank Stompers @ the REI Stage (5:10pm-5:50pm)

We’re hurrying you over to the REI Stage now to check out, well…something different. There will be a lot of banjo pickin’, high-tempo guitar chords, and deep bass beats. Don’t worry, there will also be some quick violin playing, and as the band’s name suggests, some foot stomping too. They’ll also captivate you with the harmonica and trumpet when you least expected it.


Kingsley Flood @ Americana Stage (5:15pm-6pm)

Seeing Kingsley Flood live is one of the best concert experiences we’ve had while in D.C. They dropped a solid new EP this year, and the release show for the record at Rock and Roll Hotel sold out the venue. If you missed out on the other bands at the Americana stage, make sure to at least see Kingsley Flood.


Larry Keel @ Main Bluegrass Stage (5:40pm-6:40pm)

No more running between stages now-we’re at the end of the line-up and excited for the headliners. Larry Keel has been playing music since he was practically born in Manassas. In the ’90s, he joined up with a few bands you may have heard of: Leftover Salmon and Magraw Gap. Since then, he’s made a name for himself as the Larry Keel Experience. He’s won numerous awards for his guitar playing, collaborated with and mentored many musicians on the bluegrass circuit, and has a long list of festivals on his resume.


Cabinet @ Main Bluegrass Stage (7pm-8pm)

And last, but certainly not least, is our final headliner to close-out this great day. This band knows how to make you dance – beware!  Their Appalachian style of music is a tribute to the past, with a foot in the door to the present. Cabinet pays homage to the traditional style of bluegrass music while making it feel so current. Their talent and energy will overcome you as you finish out this festival still on your feet dancing.