Six Points -- What's the Point?
It's not exactly CMJ or SXSW, but the D.C. area does have its own music festival. The Six Points Music Festival today announced the lineup for its third edition, which will present shows featuring more than 40 bands in a dozen venues across the D.C. area from April 6-8.
D.C. has a vibrant, wide-ranging music scene that covers just about every genre imaginable, from hip-hop to punk to neo-soul to doom metal to go-go to jazz, and that variety isn't represented in this year's disappointing lineup. For the most part, this year's group of performers falls into the category of pretty straightforward, male-dominated, singer-songwriter/rock. Check out the headliners for the shows -- Shane Hines, Michael Jantz, Army of Me, JunkFood, Emmet Swimming, the Echoes, Brindley Brothers, the Speaks, Monopoli, Justin Jones, Ballyhoo!, Mike Holden. You've got your singer-songwriters (Hines, Jones, Holden), your no-frills rockers (Brindley Brothers, Emmet Swimming), your slightly alt-rockers (Army of Me, Monopoli), your "good time" rockers (JunkFood, Ballyhoo!). There's not a whole lot of diversity there. Now to be fair, it's not like the Fort Reno Summer Concert Series, perhaps the closest comparison to Six Points, is breaking down any diversity barriers with its lineups.
The fact is, the lineup can only be as good as the bands who submitted entries. The festival grew out of the MetroMusicScene (formerly Arlington Music Scene) online message board, and that scene was popular, more or less, with straightforward rock dudes. So it shouldn't be too surprising that those types of bands made up the bulk of submissions and made it through the selection process.
As for that selection process? Well, let's just say the committee didn't go about picking artists in the most rock 'n' roll of manners. In fact, the whole process seemed, well, kind of soulless. "The selection committee rated each of the 194 submissions, on a scale of 0-5, in the areas of Songwriting/Lyrical Content; Vocal, Instrumental and Overall Performance; Originality; and Visceral Reaction." Rating "visceral reaction" on a scale of 0-5? Isn't that sort of against the point? I appreciate the idea of having specific criteria to judge the submissions, but sometimes you just know the best stuff when you hear it.
Six Points is not all that impressive -- yet. None of this year's shows scream "must see," and if they were booked outside of the festival, there would be no real reason to take note. But it's important to remember that Six Points is in just its third year. It takes time to establish a venture like this and to get people outside of a more enclosed scene to take notice. By getting new venues such as the Black Cat, DC9, Jammin' Java and the Mansion at Strathmore to participate this year, things have certainly taken a step forward. Here's hoping the progress continues.
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