Around F.C., Arts & Entertainment

Tinner Hill Heritage Music Festival to Take Place This Saturday

For its 29th year, The Tinner Hill Heritage Music Festival will celebrate African American history in Falls Church, with proceeds supporting the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation. The event will be held on Saturday, June 10 from 11:00 a.m. — 8:00 p.m.

At 11:15 a.m., Rocknoceros will take the stage followed by a performance by Gaye Adegbalola at 11:55 a.m. Shamans of Sound ft. Gordon Sterling will follow at 12:55 p.m. The Boneshakers will perform at 2:15 p.m. with Joe Louis Walker following at 3:45 p.m. Dumpstaphunk, the headliner, will begin at 5:30 p.m. The day will conclude with DJ Stylus at 7 p.m.

Executive Producer Tori McKinney, who leads the band selection process, said she always selects a children’s band to begin the event. Otherwise, she has always chosen a band from New Orleans, a national blues band, a regional band and a local band.

Band selection is a joint effort between McKinney and a committee of volunteers. About three-quarters of the volunteers are McKinney’s friends and the other quarter are on the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation board. In August, the committee comes up with a wish list of potential acts, and in September, they find out who is available. They are very selective in the bands they choose.

“We try to align the lineup with the mission of the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation,” McKinney said.

McKinney, emphasizing her own ties to New Orleans, said her “biggest win” is booking Dumpstaphunk.

“[Dumpstaphunk] are the next generation of The Neville Brothers,” she said, referring to a historic band from New Orleans. “It’s a pretty cool band that has a lot of great, deep history in the music scene in New Orleans.”

Ed Henderson, a board member of the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, is looking forward to Gaye Agedbola and Joe Louis Walker.

“I really like our lineup this year,” Henderson said. 

The Tinner Hill Heritage Music Festival will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m. — 8 p.m. (Photo: Tori McKinney)

Henderson noted changes from when the event first took place. For 12 years, the festival was known as the Tinner Hill Blues Festival, before changing the name to a more general term in 2019 to encompass all genres. This year, they included “heritage” in the title for the first time.

Although McKinney streamlined a shift to generalizing the event to a music festival, rather than a blues festival, Henderson believes it is still a blues festival at heart. 

Henderson takes inspiration from jazz festivals in New Orleans, which feature all sorts of genres, yet still connect to jazz and the blues. He also mentioned the importance of the blues to the African American community.

“When you’re talking about heritage and you’re talking about Tinner Hill and you’re talking about African American history, then you’re talking about blues and jazz,” he said. “Throw in a little reggae… and you’ve got everything.”

Proceeds from the festival support the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, who hope they can fundraise enough to hire an executive director for the organization. 

“[The money] supports our history, research and programming in the community,” Henderson said. “To research and preserve African American and civil rights history.”

McKinney echoed Henderson’s sentiment, adding that patrons can visit the Tinner Hill Heritage Village to learn more about the foundation and its history.

“The most important part of the Tinner Hill Music Festival is to raise awareness [and] funds for the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation,” she said. “The net proceeds from the festival help the foundation promote their annual programs.”

Anyone wishing to learn more or purchase tickets for the festival can visit 

“We’re really excited about next Saturday,” McKinney said. “And we’re hoping that all of Falls Church City and beyond attends the festival.”