33 Comment

  • justinbc

    Wow, that looks either really crowded or really cramped, maybe a bit of both.

  • Came 30 minutes late and missed the parade. 🙁 Maybe they could do a longer parade next time around?

  • pablo .raw

    The whole event was good (3 stars) , it has potential IMO to become a wonderful event in the future. I think they should have closed U Street, there was a lot of people and we went through some narrow alleys; groups where performing and people had to stay on the roadways to be able to watch which makes things a bit dangerous. Hopefully the organizers will take note and things will be much better next year. Weather was great.

    • To be fair, the organizers’ request for the funk parade to shut down U street was denied by the city. I agree that the event showed a lot of promise, and I hope that the city reconsiders its stance next year.

      • pablo .raw

        Makes sense, it would be so much better if they close U St. have a couple stages, and people are able to enjoy the bands without having to walk on the street.

        • They did eventually shut down U from 13-12 because they couldn’t contain the crown on the sidewalks any longer. Jim Graham just stood in the middle of the street, before the cops parked a cruiser at either end.

          • *crowd. I get that shutting down U as a whole would have been a paint, but I’m not sure why the plan was the funnel the parade down a narrow alley at the end.

          • LOL @ the visual of Jim Graham directing traffic (and none of the drivers paying any attention to him)

          • I talked to a person who was running around with headpiece & clipboard (seemed to be a volunteer coordinator?) and it sounded like this was basically a test run to show the city that these guys could (a.) competently organize the event and (b.) there was participation and strong interest among local residents and businesses. I think it was a success on both those fronts, so it sounds like they might try to be more ambitious next year.
            Good times and kudos to the organizers on a job well done! Would love to see a bigger, better parade next year and a proper shut down of a few blocks of U Street.

          • He sure as hell wasn’t directing traffic, all traffic goes around Jim Graham without so much as a hand waved.
            He was schmoozing with the people he will soon no longer be able to call his constituents.

  • The parade lasted all but about 15 minutes, was a little dissapointed by that…it was like oh its done, and half the people were just “normal” people walking along with the bands. Went to right proper after which was not crowded, then tried to go to dacha (jam packed) looked miserable, then tried to go to el rays (jam packed) looked miserable. So went back to my roof deck and hung out….much more relaxing. Festival seemed to have a lot of buzz, but unfourtunately it also caused a lot of the bars to be packed to the brim!

    • ” Festival seemed to have a lot of buzz, but unfourtunately it also caused a lot of the bars to be packed to the brim!”

      I don’t think the bars were complaining, young grasshopper.

    • “…and half the people were just “normal” people walking along with the bands”

      I guess you didn’t hear but the whole idea was to have “normal people” marching along with the bands. It was awesome. More bands in the parade itself would have been nice, though.

  • 2ND to last pic: coolest hat ever!

  • It was a nice festive event. You can tell thought the DC doesn’t really know how to ‘act’ and have fun spontaneously sometimes. Just in our blood I guess.

  • We had a great time. It was super crowded (par for the course with these street festivals), but saw the drumming group and the Ballou marching band on 14th and U, and the tail end of the funk parade. I loved that there was such a diverse range of people and everyone seemed so relaxed and happy. My only complaint was that the “parade” shouldn’t have been scheduled from 5-7. Unless they can get a permit to shut down part of U street, that’s just not realistic. Hopefully next year they can do that and just have a stage a la Adams Morgan day.

  • dcgator

    The whole day was fun, moreso than the parade itself. I enjoyed checking out some of the lots, especially at 9 1/2 &U. We were there right when the Brass Connection Band started their set, around 1 pm. That was a whole lot of fun. There was even an organic one-man-dance show.

    The parade was, like others mentioned, a bit of a letdown. It did seem to be mostly audience members who jumped in and joined. But good for them, honestly. The biggest letdown of the day was the 30 minute wait at &Pizza, even though I shoulda known better.

  • There were some really great bands playing near the U Street Metro entrance, but not enough room for the crowd. This sent a lot of the crowds into the bars, rather than on the street enjoying the festival.
    They really need to shut down part of U Street and have a proper street festival, similar to H Street or Adams Morgan festivals. It would get a lot more people enjoying music and dancing instead of drinking at the bars. The vendors were cool and had some unique stuff. The BBQ at Solly’s was AMAZING (though pricey).
    The actual parade was waaaaaay too short and lacking in substance, IMHO. It needs funk bands performing on floats and some other attractions. The brass bands and dancers were fun, but it was over way too quickly and difficult to enjoy.
    3.5/5 stars, with lots of room for improvement. Overall, it was very well organized and a nice day out. Very family friendly. It could become a huge event if they could make it more music focused and pedestrian-friendly. Would love to eventually see a big headliner close out the festival (Chaka Khan? George Clinton?).

  • Look for next year to bigger and BADDER. That is to say, it’ll become Howard Homecoming/Carribean Festival – which are great by themselves, but that attract some bad actors.

  • +1 on the need to shut down the street and make this a proper festival. I think I went a little too early, though – not a lot of “there” there in the early afternoon.

  • Missed the parade, but overall, it was fun. It seemed crowded in pockets, with the most crowded spot being 14th and U. There were also the usual crowds on 14th that had nothing to do with the event.

    Do a lot of people just stay on 14th St and spots west and don’t venture out east?

    • Also, it would be nice if this becomes something like the Taste of Georgetown in the future. Music and food go well together.

  • Hey everybody! I’m one of the organizers for Funk Parade. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who came out and made the day amazing. And I wanted to say thanks and right on to all the commenters:

    It *was* crowded — the event was way more successful than anyone predicted. Despite that, folks seemed to be pretty decent with each other, that was great to see. A lot of smiles.

    The parade *was* short — it will probably never be a super-long parade, because we want folks of all ages to be able to participate and have fun. The spirit of the event is that folks should be a part of the festivities, not just a passive observer. Get up, get into it, get involved! We’d like a few more blocks, though; the route was a compromise with city officials, who did not want to close thoroughfares (Florida, U, 13th, 14th, 7th, 9th).

    U Street should have been closed — right on! The vision for Funk Parade was an event on U Street itself. We pressed the city for months to work with us on a plan that would close some part of U Street to host any portion of the event, the way other popular roads like H St. or 18th St. are closed for public events. The city denied our requests, citing public safety concerns caused by the road closure.

    What was up with funneling the parade down an alley? This was proposed by city officials. To be fair, no one expected the level of participation the parade received. With a few hundred people, it would have been more comfortable.

    The parade should have been more interesting — YES! It’s a participatory parade, so if you think it should be more awesome, come make it more awesome! If you think it needs more music, bring your instruments! That’s life in a nutshell for you.

    Needs more music — the day featured 36 bands, 14 DJs, 12 dance groups. We’d love to have as much music as possible, it’s the spirit that brings everyone together. Programming is limited only by budget. Want more bands? Support our Indiegogo campaign next year! Make your local business a sponsor! We can make it happen!

    Funk Parade was created by locals, and is organized by local volunteers and supported by local businesses and residents — it’s a community event in every possible way. If you want to help make it greater than ever, you can be a part of it too! Email us at [email protected].

    • justinbc

      Good job for an inaugural event man, we’ll definitely plan on attending next year, especially if some of the suggested improvements are implemented.

  • it was a little underwhelming and disorganized IMHO – also very small

    tons of potential though

    it seemed more like a u street community parade than a “funk” parade — chinese american association at a funk parade?? …need more funk acts/bands/floats

    also tons of people in regular clothes just walking down with the parade, seemed kinda weird

    make it more like h st / adams morgan day festivals! and close down U!

    • Have to agree about “funk” vs. community parade…not that it’s a bad thing. Just a branding issue.

      Also, was caught off guard by at least one act’s lyrics/message – you could definitely tell the crowd was a little uncomfortable and started leaving.

    • “it seemed more like a u street community parade than a “funk” parade…”

      It was a U Street community funk parade. I find it odd that the “community” aspect of it would be a criticism.

      I think Justin and the other organizers knocked it out of the park. I can’t imagine the first one being better (while knowing they’ll learn and improve it next year). Props to the Funk Parade!

    • The parade may have been small. The events leading up to it weren’t. I haven’t seen so many people on U St during the day. This event was good for the neighborhood, which is known for its bars and night scene, but not necessarily known to be family friendly.

      I think the neighborhood needs a “Taste of U St Corridor” with food and music.

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