82 Comment

  • Lots more drunks this year, and pissing in the alleys… even women. They need lots more port a johns, and better signs about where they are.

    But overall, the crowd traffic flow was much better with very few bottlenecks. Good food options were available and the entertainment was outstanding. There is a lot of really amazing local talent. I wish we could see them more often.

    • I saw a really considerate girl (20s) take one for the team, peeing in her pants so she didn’t have to be gross and go on the street…

  • It’s so popular no one goes there anymore.

  • justinbc

    I skipped it this year, and probably will from now on, even though I’m so much closer than I was in the past. It’s just become so much less of a focus on highlighting the businesses and more about people just getting as drunk as possible. I’ve just kind of outgrown that interest. Around 2007 / 2008 it was a lot more interesting, even though less crowded.

    • That seems to be more the point of a festival.

      • justinbc

        Not at all. Have you been to other festivals in DC, or do you just have a drinking problem?

        • pretty much all city street festivals turn into a drink and food festival when they get large enough. when they are too big, those are the only vendors that can make any money. vendors that sell art, crafts, clothes, etc… move on to another opportunity.

    • wow, thanks for letting us know!!! I am totally glad that you’ve outgrown that interest, I can now enjoy the rest of my day bc I was wondering if you went and what you thought about the festival. maybe next year you’ll be EVEN closer and still not go but I guess I’ll just have to wait and hear. Keep us posted of everything you do!

      • justinbc

        Perhaps you missed the part of the post that asked for opinions.

      • I was thinking the same thing!

      • Accountering

        Having a rough Monday eh Anon? Don’t worry, you will get through it.

      • Formerly Broken Jaw

        Does someone need a pumpkin?

        • Sheesh, someone’s a cranky pants. I think explaining a choice not to go is as valid as the experience there. It speaks to the appeal of the festival and their audience – relevant information for someone deciding whether to go next year.

          I for one, agree. I enjoyed the festival in earlier years but found the last few years too crowded. We were basically pushed along with the masses until squeezing into the next bar. It made it difficult to enjoy vendors or appreciate the neighborhood. I think as they expand west, it opens up more room to alleviate crowding, but then every year more people come. It’s a great problem to have and I’m happy my neighborhood has become such a destination, but the festival isn’t my speed anymore unless I can get there insanely early.

    • I had a lovely afternoon of day drinking and feeling tipsy, but my original intent was to see some local crafts and maybe buy something for myself/my house. There was some cool cars with decorations and an “art bus” selling art, but few vendors selling handicrafts (more towards 3rd street). It was mostly booze and food and music… I may just skip this next year (unless I am in a day drinking mood).
      And yes, the music was super loud. I felt like an old person.

    • What are we going to do when you outgrow DC? Sob

  • Well, it certainly helped that it wasn’t pouring rain this year.

  • msmaryedith

    Honestly, I thought it was too crowded to be fun. I missed last year, but this one was a much bigger crowd than I remembered. It was pretty hot with no shade, there were long lines for everything, and it was difficult to move around. I agree with others that it seems like there was a lot more heavy drinking involved than in previous years (and I was there early).
    I wish they would not put any stages up on H Street itself, since that caused bottlenecks where people were stopped to watch and others couldn’t really walk by (seems like it would be better to set them back a little onto cross streets). It was so clogged right by Pizza Parts and Service that we didn’t even try to go further east. We left and walked over to Union Market to escape the craziness.

    • Agreed with your suggestions. They need to put the stages down the side streets and take advantage of that space. Some of the food vendors with longer lines should also be put down the side streets. Cramming everything onto H Street itself turns the entire event into a clusterf#ck and makes it very difficult to explore the booths, watch various forms of entertainment, walk with dogs & strollers, etc. Honestly, I think the packed crowds on the street contribute to the drinking atmosphere; we fled into a restaurant to get off the street!
      Spread the crowd onto the side streets, IMHO. And get some port-a-potties!

  • I agree with the posters that it was too crowded to be any fun. It was pretty hot, and the lines for concessions were crazy. We too escaped to Union Market after a while. I probably won’t go back.

  • They need way more Port-a-Potties (I personally saw ZERO).

    • You’re right! I peed at Boundary Road, probably 3 hrs into the festival, when we decided to hide indoors because we were too hot.

  • It was super hard to casually enjoy the festival. I went in a group with a baby and 2 dogs and it was basically a game of keeping track of everyone. The bottlenecks were insane. If they are going to block off side streets why not use them for the stages/performances? They could even put some food trucks there so it’s not as congested. Add in the heat/no shade and we escaped after walking the entire thing and went to the tamer Union Market. Probably my last year there. At least with dogs/kids.
    It was also super loud (not trying to old man-complain) but it made it hard to enjoy the company of your friends when you can’t hear each other. Props for H St for getting such a large turnout though. Last year was a wash-out.

    • I understand people liking to bring their dogs with them to various events, but how could an event this crowded be anything but stressful for a dog??

      • In previous years this hasn’t been a problem. I had no clue it was going to be as crazy as it was this year, which is why we weren’t there very long. I saw a lot of dogs but of course a lot more people.

      • Formerly Broken Jaw

        Can you imagine what a crowd like that looks like from a dog’s viewpoint?

        • A bunch of d***S and a***oles. Probably fairly accurate.
          And never mind the dog, whatever would possess you to bring a baby there?

    • One of my biggest pet peeves from the festival. The number of dogs was ridiculous, with that big of a crowd why would you think it was good idea to bring a dog on a leash.

      • Really? I would think that it was just as much an inconvenience to trip over drunk folks and kids in tow than it would be to have folks pass you by with a dog. It’s a street festival that allows dogs. So there are going to be dogs, pet peeve or not.

      • I love dogs, so I’m always happy to see them in festivals, etc. But H Street was too pack to make it comfortable for any dog or family with babies/children.

      • Seriously. I love, love dogs, but many of the ones there looked overwhelmed/scared. Just not a good place for them.

        • I love dogs, but I tend to avoid street festivals because I find crowded events overwhelming. And I’m a human being, around the same height as most other human beings!
          It just doesn’t seem fair to the dog to bring it to something like this.

        • Formerly Broken Jaw

          I love dogs too but would never bring them to a big event. Plus remember that there are folks who don’t like dogs and in big crowds can’t avoid an unwanted snout to knee situation.

          • justinbc

            Better dogs than strollers.

          • I could see bringing a dog to a normal street festival, but H Street is so packed it isn’t just psychologically stressful for the dog, but also physically so. I remember the last time I went almost tripping on a few medium to smaller sized dogs and/or their leashes.

  • Great time, and great crowd. Has become the best street festival in DC now. Defin could use more port-o-potties.
    One of most diverse crowds in DC.

  • 12-2pm – manageable, enjoyable, walk around, get pics with the running Presidents, go tour the streetcar, wow what a festival
    2pm on – total drunken dude-bro shitfest. Can’t move, cant turn, can’t hear yourself think.

    Lesson: go from 12-2 and then flee.

  • Psmitty311

    I went last year for the first time, so that’s my only frame of reference. I had such a good time then that I was looking forward to this year’s festival before leaving last year’s! Stayed out in the rain with friends, huddled under umbrellas, but that kinda made it more fun, and WAY less crowded! This year, we returned and enjoyed the early hours very much, but things got really crowded by about 3. Later, we started getting hungry, and by the time we found a place to eat that didn’t have a massive line, we were at Union Station =(

    It’s a great festival, but I believe it needs to evolve to keep up with the massive following it now receives. I’ll probably skip next year’s event, especially considering how many other things were going on on Saturday. I think I saw at least 3 or 4 other events mentioned on PoP alone, including some Oktoberfest offerings that sounded tempting.

  • I thought it was a lot of fun, with some great food options, especially trucks I rarely see. I loved that crowd seemed to truly represent the whole city. I didn’t mind the heat, but it really got to my spouse.
    I do wish they’d cap the volume a bit–at one point there was a children’s chorus trying to perform while recorded music was being blasted next door. The punk band performing at the eastern end around 2PM was good, but playing at “11”, making it impossible to enjoying anything else on that block.
    One thing I’m certain would improve the overall experience would be if the whole thing were an open-container zone. Certain people are going to be idiots with alcohol regardless, but I think most would be a lot more likely to nurse a beverage over time if they could stroll around the festival with it, vice hopping from corral to corral slamming drinks.

  • It was okay. Agree that it was too hot and crowded. After an hour or so, I ended up retreating to the roof deck at my nearby apartment and continued the party there – in the shade and with ample drinks.

  • Really enjoyed it last year. Left after about 10 minutes this year and probably will not go back unless they make major changes. It was way too crowded, stages on H Street meant that there were places where it was almost impossible to pass, too many people to enjoy the booths, seemingly fewer artists than last year, insufficient bike parking, etc. They should extend it down to Hechinger Mall next year and be smarter about locating bigger attractions where they won’t clog foot traffic. Otherwise, like so many events in D.C., it will become a victim of its own success.

  • What’s with all the hate for day drinking? I’m getting the same vibe I get from people who give me a shade when they bring their baby to a bottomless brunch and I’m having a grand old time.

    • My sense reading the comments is that no one is hating on “day drinking” — the “hate” is for the drunks. I’m sure that you get the distinction. I like festivals. And I recognize that part of going to a street festival includes crowds and lines and heat. It doesn’t include dealing with drunks — particularly in the early afternoon. I like the way that Baltimore’s Fells Point Festival handles it — the main street has most of the booths and crafts and some of the food, with separate streets / areas for more food and children’s activities, and separate areas for beer gardens. So those who come primarily to drink have designated areas to do just that.

      • But TBH I didn’t see any overt displays of drunken’ness. The bars, restaurants, and sidewalk drinking areas were PACKED with people, but everyone was maintaining control and drinking responsibility. I see more lewd acts of drunken idiocy with 20 minutes of walking around the parking lot at FedEx Field or along U Street on Saturday night than I saw on Saturday afternoon.

        • Same. I was only there until about 3:30, but I didn’t see anyone ridiculous. Idk, maybe my tolerance for ridiculous drunk people is higher since I’m a childless, unmarried 20-something who usually expects there to be some degree of drunken buffoonery at these types of events.

    • I don’t see any hate for day drinking — just for drunkenness.

  • It was crowded, but fun (if hot). Next year they should also work on getting to/from the festival easier. There should be a bikeshare valet/roundup zone – all the stations were full all day long. Diversion of traffic made driving or even bus transit options unpalatable. Also, I wished more of the restaurants had outward-facing food stands (I’m looking at you, Toki Underground).

  • In addition to forming a big old bottleneck, it seemed like Pizza Parts & Service was in a volume war with Joy of Motion (same with Hikari Sushi with whoever was across from them) so everyone walking through got stuck while getting aurally assaulted. Next time take turns blasting crap music guys.

  • i had a great time…got in early (with kids), left early (with kids)…continued the party at a friend’s nearby house. i, too, wish they’d do away with the beer gardens….it’s annoying to have to leash my kid to the post while i booze it up (kidding!).

    and, seriously, dog people: stop bringing your dog to festivals, or at least get there before the crowds. to do otherwise is just cruel. i took my kid out when it became too crowded. and i am not complaining about it!

    • All the people hating on people who bring dogs, you don’t know what you are talking about. We got our dog as a young puppy and she has grown up in the city around loud trucks, crowds of people, and all manor of craziness. I took her to the festival (all be it just for lunch because I live close) we had no issues. She walks close to me doesn’t pull and isn’t bothered by people. After I got my sandwich we sat down in the shade on the curb and ate, and she just watched the people go by. Sure might some dogs have issues, yes, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad idea to bring them.

  • It was pretty hot this year, which the organizers can’t control, but some type of watering stations may be necessary next year, i.e. those things where you walk through a sprayed mist that cools you off. They make a real difference.

    I saw 2-3 really cool vendors this year, but some blocks I walked through and found none of the vendors interesting at all. I think the biggest improvement they could make is vendor curation.

    • there was one spray/water station across from cusbah, but i remember there being more of those in years past. I totally agree with you on the vendor curation part. that’s usually my beef with DC street festivals- they’re basically a satellite location of eastern market. there were some more interesting ones on h street (particularly ones with african fabrics/clothes and then the assortment of “vintage” things from the people with the large metal letters).

  • The music was great.

  • Does anyone know the vendor that was selling homegoods, specifically metal letters of different sizes? I bought two letters but they didn’t have the third I wanted, so I was hoping I could go to their store to see if they have it in stock. It was close to 4th or 5th street and H, and was in front of an Art/Framing store. Any help would be really appreciated!

    • I am trying to find the same vendor…did you have any luck? I am not sure what they are called or if they have a store front on H street specifically…

  • Personally, I had a blast this year,ad did most if the people I know who went. Tons of great food and music options and day drinking. Those are the reasons I went!

    Also attended last year and got rained out but i think this years was well organozed with great talent and vendors. Very clean and trashcans were always empty.

    Honestly i was disappointed by adams morgan day but impressed by H st this year. Again…food, drinking, music is what I wanted (and got).

    No pets next year, please!

  • As someone who brought their pet to the festival, I agree that it was too crowded but I honestly didn’t know it was going to be that crowded. Perhaps I should have done more/better research but I even recall seeing some advertisement that indicated well-behaved and leashed pets were welcome. I did not stay long with my pet because of the crowds. I just wanted to provide the perspective that perhaps some people just didn’t realize it would be too crowded for pets.

  • All the people hating on people who bring dogs, you don’t know what you are talking about. We got our dog as a young puppy and she has grown up in the city around loud trucks, crowds of people, and all manor of craziness. I took her to the festival (all be it just for lunch because I live close) we had no issues. She walks close to me doesn’t pull and isn’t bothered by people. After I got my sandwich we sat down in the shade on the curb and ate, and she just watched the people go by. Sure might some dogs have issues, yes, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad idea to bring them.

    Plus just let it go…I mean seriously at any point did a dog bother you, this idea that you are looking out for the dog’s well being is dumb and more than a little insulting.

    • dawg, relax

    • Maybe you find it “insulting” because it hits home. Are you also the kind of person who thinks it’s perfectly fine to leave your dog tied up outside the grocery store while you’re running errands?

      • It actually doesn’t hit home at all, I take exceptionally good care of my dog and am extremely conscious of how she interacts with other people and dogs. I find it insulting because it is essentially saying that I don’t take care of my own dog which is just not true.

        • I find this fascinating. Comments werre made about a large group, making broad generalizations. Obviously they’re not applicable to everyone, and you seem confident that they do not apply to you – your dog is accustomed to crowds and loud noises, you take exceptionally good care of your dog, etc. Yet you still find it personally insulting. Why is that? Isn’t it enough to know the criticisms don’t apply to you? Why waste the energy manufacturing personal offense?

  • This year did not feel as crowded as last year. I had friends over earlier then we headed to H street around 3. We were able to move around pretty easy. Started at 14th street end & made it all the way down to 3rd Street listening to the music & buying merchandise from merchants. Lesson we learned drink @ home & hit the bars around 5 or 6 less crowded. I prepared my guests for the direct sunlight on H Street. The drunk people are nothing new on H street.

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