One of the best things about summertime, I think, is the opportunity to partake of the many free concerts offered throughout Fairfax County parks. There may be no better way to spend a lovely summer evening than to relax and listen to the abundant sounds of music in our parks. You can go to a free concert nearly every night of the week somewhere in Fairfax County, but my personal favorite is the Spotlight by Starlight series at Mason District Park. Spotlight by Starlight is the “granddaddy” of all the concerts, offering performances every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
It doesn’t get much easier than this: free concerts, free parking, close to home, and no need to get dressed up! Just come as you are, bring a picnic and the family pet, relax, and enjoy. At the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre, the best open-air venue in the county, concert-goers have enjoyed big bands, folk, jazz, and bluegrass. In the tradition of “the show must go on,” we’ve even had the audience on the covered stage with the performers in unexpected rainy weather. It makes the venue a little more intimate, but both performers and audience seem to enjoy the change-up.
Coming attractions include Hesperus, early medieval, renaissance, and baroque music, tomorrow night, Friday, July 18; the Fairfax Symphony Summer Band on two consecutive Sundays, July 20 and 27; and the Patty Reese Band, featuring blues and “roots” rock, on Wednesday, July 23. Ethnic and cultural music and dance will fill the air on three consecutive Fridays: July 25 – Kusun Ensemble (West African dance); August 1 – Chinese Dance Ensemble; and August 8, Sangre Boliviana. On Sunday, August 10, the ever-popular Capitol Steps will bring their satirical review to Mason District Park. Plan to get to the park early that evening; it is nearly always standing-room only for the Capitol Steps.
The Spotlight by Starlight series also presents a children’s show on Saturday mornings at 10. The “Backpack Puppets Dinosaur Show” by The GoodLife Theatre will be featured this Saturday, July 19, and the Bob Brown Puppets will perform next Saturday, July 26. For more information about any of the shows at Mason District Park or other parks in Fairfax County, log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances.
Spotlight by Starlight is sponsored jointly by the Friends of Mason District Park and the Fairfax County Park Authority. Funding sources include individual donations and corporate support from Cox Communications, ExxonMobil, the West*Group, Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, and the Music Performance Trust Fund. The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra also provides in-kind support.
The Newton Edwards Amphitheatre at Mason District Park has a viewing platform for patrons with disabilities and bench seating in the general audience area. Many attendees bring their own camping or folding chairs to sit in the “lawn” area. Mason District Park is located at 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale. After turning into the park, turn right and go up the hill to the upper parking lot. Please follow the directions of the park staff for overflow parking on the grassy areas. See you at the park!