Top 9 Picks For Alexandria Live Music Week

Alexandria’s live music scene is all over the map—and I mean literally. On any given evening you can find live music on the legendary stage at the Birchmere, at bars, by buskers or at a brewery. And from July 10-19, 2015, Alexandria Live Music Week will showcase our city’s authentic music scene with over 100 acts playing at more than 30 venues throughout ALX. From Blackwall Hitch to Daniel O’Connell’s, from the Torpedo Factory to the Old Town Farmer’s Market, music fans can clap/sing/sway along to jazz, bluegrass, country, rock, Irish folk and more. Ready to hit the high notes? Read on for our Live Music Week top picks:   1. Opening Weekend Concert at Alexandria/USA Birthday Celebration

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-birthday-celebration-fireworks-old-townImage credit: Alexandria Symphony Orchestra

As part of Live Music Week’s kickoff weekend, this free waterfront birthday bash on July 11 features performances by the Tower House Band and Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, plus spectacular fireworks, cake, food trucks and more in Oronoco Bay Park. Not a bad way to celebrate turning 266, am I right?   2. Port City Old Town Pub Crawl 

Port City Brewing CompanyImage credit: Sarah Hauser for VTC

Thanks to the Port City Pub Crawl on July 11, you can pre-game Saturday’s live music performances with local brews at Old Town favorites (and live music hotspots) like Daniel O’Connell’s and The Fish Market. Head to Port City following your beer-grimage for live music and food trucks. And don’t forget: you can also enjoy Port City on tap at most Live Music Week venues all week long.   3. Legendary Birchmere Performances (Including The Bacon Brothers and Toad the Wet Sprocket)

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-birchmereImage credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

As a music venue, the Birchmere is equally as famous as some of the names it has hosted, from Johnny Cash to Emmylou Harris. On July 14-15, the 500-seat music hall will welcome Toad the Wet Sprocket, and on July 16, folk-rock duo Kevin and Michael Bacon will give an intimate concert. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Pssshh. How about two feet from Kevin Bacon?   4. Live Music at the Waterfront 

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-blackwall-hitch-lovebettieImage courtesy of Blackwall Hitch

Live music is not something Blackwall Hitch takes lightly—the new waterfront restaurant offers live performances Wednesday through Sunday year-round. During Live Music Week, expect great shows all week long from swagger rock act Lovebettie, jazz band Dig and many more, plus the stunning riverside views that make BH one great date spot.   5. Restaurants Host Daily Performances 

Old Town Historic AlexandriaImage credit: C. Davidson for VTC

Yep, you can’t stop the beat of live music in Alexandria, and several Old Town restaurants are here to prove it, offering daily acts all 10 days of Live Music Week. Some highlights: Irish music by Áine O’Doherty and rock from Judge Smith at Daniel O’Connell’s; local rock at Light Horse; Celtic rock and acoustic at John Strongbow’s; and local and national acts including The Fighting Jamesons at Murphy’s.   6. Bluegrass at the Old Town Farmers Market

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-old-town-farmers-market-bluegrassImage credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

On July 18, you can shop for summer produce to the tune of bluegrass by Virginia-based duo Herb & Hanson at the Old Town Farmers Market. But be warned: you just might find yourself dancing between bins of ripe peaches and summer squash. Has grocery shopping ever been this fun?   7. Perfect Pairings: Jazz + Wine, Beer + Grateful Dead

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-bilbo-baggins-old-town-jazz-grateful-deadImage credit: Flickr user Kevin Harber 

Local hangout Bilbo Baggins is pulling out all the stops for Live Music Week, offering a jazz-themed wine tasting with the Rico Amero Duo on July 16, a beer tasting to the tune of Grateful Dead covers on July 17, and a Grateful Dead concert re-creation by The Scott Fallon Experience on July 18. Sounds like good vibes to me!   8. Torpedo Factory Art Center Hosts Nomadic Jazz

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-torpedo-factory-jazz-posterImage via Torpedo Factory

Another perfect pairing? Jazz and art. That’s why you don’t want to miss jazz saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, who has held residencies at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore and Bohemian Caverns, performing at the Torpedo Factory Art Center on July 11. Date night, anyone?   9. Live Music and Line Dancing at Nick’s

alexandria-live-music-week-2015-nicks-nightclub-countryImage via

People come from all over northern Virginia and DC for line dancing at Nick’s Nightclub, which offers live music and karaoke regularly. They’re taking it a step further for Live Music Week, with a performance by national act The Josh Phillips Band—and yes, wear your dancing shoes.   For more  information about Alexandria Live Music Week, click here. For ongoing live music events in Alexandria, click here. Header image credit: C. Davidson for VTC