Traditional folk music is a big part of history in the Mid-Atlantic region. Beginning with the early settlements in Virginia, farmers brought in string bands to entertain neighbors lending a helping hand during the harvests. Bluegrass and folk music became even more ingrained into the culture during the coal rush. Folk music was commonly performed to small groups, in people’s homes or in tiny venues, free of charge. Today the tradition continues in Washington, with a network of venues offering shows by local, regional and world renown artists. 
Swift Run Lodge
Fairfax, VA
(703) 426-1450

Swift Run Celtic Concerts is celebrating 12 years of bringing folk music music to the forest. The house concert group holds a summer concert series at a nearby Fairfax amphitheater, combing music with nature. The concert series runs through Oct. 8 and includes shows threaded with elements of folk, celtic, bluegrass and Scottish music. Shows include soft drinks and refreshments with a rolling suggested donation of $20, call for reservations and directions.

The Hamilton
600 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 787-1000

Located down the street from the White House, The Hamilton is one of DC’s newest acclaimed live music venues. The basement of the three level bar, restaurant and concert hall is home to Hamilton LIVE!, an intimate setting for musical acts big and small. Upcoming shows include Love Canon, The Lonesome River Band and The Trongone Band. The Hamilton also hosts free music nights in the Loft Bar. Check the website for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Stone Room Concerts
Falls Church, VA 22044
(202) 656-2748

Stone Room Concerts is a non-profit organization that honors the tradition of private folk music by promoting a series of small concerts in the Falls Church area. Stone Room holds its regular shows at nearby churches and restaurants alongside a roster of small events that are held in private homes. Upcoming shows include The Accidentals and Gina Chavez with Pavel Urkiza. Visit the site for a full schedule and to view videos of past shows.

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Gypsy Sally’s
3401 K St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-7700

Gypsy Sally’s is a DC music venue determined to bring the live music culture back to the city.  The extensive entertainment calendar includes shows by a variety of artists and genres, including Americana, bluegrass, folk and rock. Many of the shows are free or offered at a very low cost. Gypsy Sally’s has a space called Vinyl, an intimate space with its own entrance at the rear of the club. When Vinyl isn’t hosting small shows, open mic nights and showcases, visitors can listen to music played from real vinyl or even bring in their own favorites to play.

Jammin Java
227 Maple Ave. E 
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 255-1566

Jammin Java is part concert venue, part restaurant and part juicery. Devised by three brothers hell bent on making music a career, this Virginia hotspot has evolved into a local’s live music mecca. Jammin Java comfortably seats 200 and features shows by artists from everywhere in the world, including local and regional folk artists. The lineup includes shows for all ages, children’s programming and music lessons for budding singers and musicians.

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Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at