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Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 06/17/2009

Fort Reno Update

By David Malitz

We're halfway through June and information about this summer's Fort Reno Concert Series is still at a premium. In past years the the concerts have been underway by now. This year, we don't even know which way the stage will be facing. So let's try to dole out some information, courtesy of series organizer Amanda MacKaye, whom I talked to last night.

(Info plus schedule after the jump.)

There will be 12 concerts this year, every Monday and Thursday from June 22 to July 30. That's down from approximately 18 shows the past couple years. Is the cutback due to a lack of funding? Nope. The decision to go with a lighter schedule was made back in January, when permit applications for the summer were due, says MacKaye. It was a simple matter of logistics. Fort Reno is still a very small, volunteer-run outfit and the expanded schedule was getting too much to handle. Also, some shows simply weren't well attended. "Playing to a few people in a small club is one thing. But in a big park? I don't want anyone to have a bad experience playing here," she said.

So of course this was the year that around 160 submissions came in for just 36 slots.

"It obviously took a lot longer to go through (all the submissions). There was a lot of consideration involved," she said. "The best part was that there were maybe 30 to 40 bands that I knew. The rest I hadn't heard. And that's awesome."

The final lineup will be up soon. Really soon. The last details are being worked out -- including some with the Fort Reno Web site. For now we can tell you that the June 22 show features Pash, Funk Ark and the Sweater Set, June 25 will have the Electricutions, Meow vs. Meow and Noon:30. Mary Timony's new band Soft Power will play on July 23 and you can also expect to see Benjy Ferree and the Aquarium this summer.

Physical Setup
Have you been by Fort Reno Park lately? It's a bit of a disaster zone. There's construction that's been going on for a few months and -- you'll never believe this about a D.C. project -- it hasn't exactly stayed on schedule. The usual tales of bureaucratic woe are all there -- unreturned phone calls, nobody taking responsibility for the work, etc. -- but what matters to us is that with less than a week until the series starts, the main area in which people set up their blankets and picnics is uninhabitable. So does that mean the stage will be facing away from Chesapeake Street?

"It's still up in the air. My hunch is that it will be a different arrangement" at least at the start of the season, MacKaye said. So that means the music would be directed at people's homes instead of the street. It's unlikely to be much of an issue -- neighbors could already hear the sweet strains of punk rock, and all concerts are done by 9:30 p.m. on the nose -- but it's just one more thing that needs to be resolved.

Plus there's the matter of the stage. That thing doesn't move. But the problem is that if the the back of the stage becomes the front of the stage, well ... "The back end of the stage has one corner that's dipped down," MacKaye said. If you've been out there you know what she's talking about. It's not exactly a spot you want to put an expensive amp. So that's just one more issue to deal with.

My immediate reaction to hearing the stage would be facing the other way, not to mention the truncated schedule? This isn't going to be the most lucrative summer for the Fort Reno ice cream man.

Once the full lineup is announced, we'll have the details.

Monday, June 22nd
Pash, Funk Ark, The Sweater Set

Thursday, June 25th
Electricutions, Meow vs Meow, Noon:30

Monday, June 29th
Cigarbox Planetarium, Small Doses, Batala

Thursday, July 2nd
Caverns, Aerialist, TBA

Monday, July 6th
Go Home Robot, Sea Monsters, Power Pirate

Thursday, July 9th
TBA, Imperial China, FFFever

Monday, July 13th
Poor But Sexy, Laura Zax, Formers

Thursday, July 16th
Godisheus, Girl Loves Distortion, Laughing Man

Monday, July 20th
Meredith Bragg, Hey Arbore, TBA

Thursday, July 23rd - Night of a Thousand Cakes!
Soft Power, Benjy Ferree, TBA

Monday, July 27th
TBA, Stoney Lonesome, Pree

Thursday, July 30th
Title Tracks, Casper Bangs, Grendel Babies

bottles, alchohol and drugs are strictly prohibited at all times.

By David Malitz  | June 17, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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