During the finale of The Speak's show at Iota Club and Cafe this past Saturday night, guitarist Archie dela Cruz gave the audience a proper rock n' roll ending — he dove into drummer Johnny Adelende's set, bringing a close to their performance and the Third Annual Six Points Music Festival.
For three nights, the greater Washington DC music scene came together to showcase more than 40 bands at 13 venues across Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland. Headliners such as Emmet Swimming, Army of Me, and The Speaks took the area by storm in an event that has proven to grow in popularity with each passing year.
"I think it was more popular this year," said Melissa DePaulis, the Planning Committee Chairperson for the festival. "We keep getting bigger and bigger each year. We were just blown away with the how many people showed up."
WITH THE AMOUNT OF COVERAGE the media gave the festival this year, as well as the street-advertising by local bands and their fans, it is no mystery the kind of success the festival achieved.
What began three years ago as a simple community web site for local bands to network and get the news on upcoming shows and events, founder Mike Holden — who headlined the show at Ragtime — decided it was time to showcase local talent in a succinct way. The festival, whose name is derived from the six focal points of Arlington — Ballston, Clarendon, Columbia Pike, Crystal City, Rosslyn and Shirlington — has now proven to be a popular venue for bands to expand their audience.
While it is nearly impossible to estimate the total amount of people who attended the shows over the course of the three evenings, DePaulis is certain of the festival's success based on the evidence she saw.
"There were at least 500 people at the State Theatre," she said. "And I think there were almost 200 at Iota. We had tons of people at the shows — it was packed."
The space inside both Iota Club and Cafe and The Galaxy Hut were packed shoulder to shoulder on Saturday night with fans trying to catch a view of the bands while not compromising the drinks in their hands. Even DePaulis, who was in charge of the Iota venue, had to stay on the side of the stage because she couldn't move due to the crowd. In between songs most of the performers at the two clubs thanked the fans and planning committee for the opportunity to bring the local music scene together.
"Its crazy," said DePaulis. "I'm getting thank you notes from the bands."
WITH THE BUZZ FINALLY OVER, one would think that the Six Points Festival Planning Commission would be able to afford a break and enjoy a job well done — but according to DePaulis, next year "starts now."
While DePaulis will not be returning as planning committee chair, she will stay on board as an advisor — leaving the bulk of the organizing to her predecessor Heather Huff.
"Heather is going to start putting stuff together," she said. "We already have to start booking venues because a couple of them start their booking a year in advance."
Not only that, the committee has to begin planning the submission details for bands, which begins in the Fall.
According to DePaulis, the festival next year will not only try and book some of the larger venues that they missed out on, but also incorporate more interactive ways for festival-goers to learn a little more about the music business during the festival experience.
"We are hoping to get more informational panels together," she said. "We'd like to bring that back because we did it the first two years."