Once More With Feeling: Annual Wammies Awards in F.C. Sunday

Once again this year, the City of Falls Church will put out the red carpet for one of the Washington, D.C. area’s premiere events, the annual “Wammie” awards ceremonies of the Washington Area Music Association which honors the best musical artists in the region over the last year. As usual, the renovated State Theatre, which has emerged in the last decade as one of the region’s most popular live music venues, will host the festivities.

A full roster of names familiar with the D.C. live music scene will be on hand, as well as nominated entertainers in a wide variety of categories, with their entourages. In addition to the 700-capacity State Theatre, nearby Falls Church restaurants and clubs are all expected to be loaded down with the talent before and after the show.

With Argia’s restaurant, located a few doors down from the State, playing host again to a VIP reception prior to the event, other popular restaurants like the Ireland’s Four Provinces, Clare and Don’s Crab Shack, and the Dogwood Tavern – all within a block of the State – and the popular JVs and Mad Fox, along with other nearby destinations, will be rocking well into the night.

For the City of Falls Church, the event is a prime opportunity to showcase what its got here to a much wider population. That’s why the City’s Economic Development Authority in recent years has begun making a contribution to the “Wammies'” promotional efforts.

During the ceremonies, beginning at 8 p.m., tables inside the State will be commanded by sponsors and patrons, while general admission tickets will be on sale for $35 to the public, left to fill the theatre-style seating in the balcony or standing in the mosh pit in front of the stage.

Hosts for this years event, the 26th annual, will be Alvin Jones, Bill Wax and Michel Wright. Jones is a broadcast veteran with 30 years of experience as a producer and talent and helped develop the Black Entertainment Network (BET) as a powerhouse music video genre, creating BET’s popular Rap City and as a talk show host on XM Satellite Radio’s “The Power” channel with the show “T.M.I.”

Wax is the program director for B.B. King’s Bluesville, a Sirius/XM radio channel devoted to Blues music and president of the Blues Foundation. Wright is a seasoned media personality whose friendly, buttery voice is heard on scores of radio, advertising voice-over and special events. As a writer she was part of the team, writing a column called The Gist and was also a Fox-5 DC blogger. She currently has a small voice-over business called “What’s Right Now.”

Entertainers lined up to perform between award announcements at the event include Afro Bue, Bad Influence Band, Carolyn Malachi, Dead Men’s Hollow with BumpKin Pie, GODISEUS, King Teddy, The Thrillbillys, Warner Williams and Jay Summerour and Westman. Seth Kibel and Bay Jazzz Project will be the pit band.

Entertainment at the VIP Pre-Reception at Argia’s will be provided by Veronneau and at the after party at JVs starting at 11:30 p.m. by Jelly Roll Mortals.

Awards will be given Sunday in the following wide range of categories: A cappella, Big Band/Swing, Bluegrass, Blues/Traditional R&B, children’s music, choral, classical, country, electronica, folk-contemporary, folk-traditional, Go Go, Gospel/inspirational, jazz, Latin, Rap/Hip Hop, Reggae, modern rock, pop rock, roots rock, urban contemporary and world music.

Awards will also be given for Musician of the Year, Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and more. A full list of nominees is provided at the website for the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA). WAMA is a non-profit made up of industry professionals whose goal is to promote Washington area music and to achieve national recognition of the region as an important center for live and recorded music.