The audience at Fort Reno in June 2011

The audience at Fort Reno in June 2011

During the summer of 1968, when D.C. was still reeling from city-wide riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a National Parks Service program sought to bring young people together through music. The “Summer In the Parks” program provided funding for community concerts all across the District, drawing crowds of thousands to see artists like Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Pearl Bailey perform for free. While the program ended after eight years, several local parks carried on the tradition. One of them, Fort Reno, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of free music. We hear from the series’ organizer and a cultural anthropologist on the role of the Fort Reno summer concert series in the local music scene.


  • Amanda MacKaye Organizer, Fort Reno Summer Concert Series
  • Noel Lopez Cultural Anthropologist, National Park Service

VIDEO: Fort Reno Today

PHOTOS: Fort Reno Throughout The Years

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