Wolf Trap Has Hot Summer Ahead

Keith Loria Music Scene

The Wolf Trap Performing Arts summer season is going to be one to remember, as the Filene Center will be hosting some of the biggest names in music, including Sting, Diana Ross, John Legend and many, many more. 

One of the goals of putting together any Wolf Trap season is to try to have something for everyone—music lovers of all ages and different musical genres. 

“We are so lucky to be in the DMV and have so many populations from different backgrounds and we always think about our diverse community and have a three-person team with different areas of focus and expertise, working on reflecting everyone in our region,” says Sara Beesley, director of programming at Wolf Trap. “We want to make sure we are celebrating all who are emblematic of music in America.”

The Wolf Trap season kicks off with three nights featuring the Avett Brothers, May 25-27, which has become something of a tradition. Each show will be different and have a different opening act. 

In June, John Legend plays at the beloved outdoor venue for two nights, June 2-3, with other highlights in the month including Charlie Puth (June 4), the Indigo Girls (June 7), Kenny Loggins (June 14), Trombone Shorty (June 17-18), the Steve Miller Band (June 22), and the team-up of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (June 29).

The Out & About Festival, a two-day, three-stage festival of music and nature headlined by Brandi Carlile will take place the weekend of June 24-25. Others appearing include Yola, Rufus Wainwright, Lucius, Celisse, Jake Wesley Rogers and Bad Moves.

“We haven’t done a festival in over a decade, and we are celebrating LGBTQ artists and allies across the age spectrum,” Beesley says. “We’re also working with different partners who focus on supporting the LGBTQ community and celebrating love, nature and music.” 

July kicks off with the immortal Diana Ross on July 1, with the iconic singer performing all of her and the Supremes’ favorites. 

Tori Amos plays on July 5, with the month also seeing incredible acts such as UB40 (July 9), Boney James (July 19) and Big Tony and Trouble Funk (July 29).

On July 12, Broadway’s Christy Altomare, Shoba Narayan, Anneliese van der Pol and Syndee Winters join forces in “Disney Princess—The Concert,” where the four will perform Disney classics, aided by music director Benjamin Rauhala and their enchanting prince, Broadway’s Adam J. Levy. 

Kids will also get excited about Kidz Bop on July 30, a pop concert where children performers sing some of today’s biggest hits on stage, including “Anti-Hero,” “About That Time,” and “As It Was.”

Regina Spektor and Aimee Mann share the stage on Aug. 3, with other highlights of the month including Lyle Lovett (Aug. 5), Jason Mraz (Aug. 6), John Fogerty (Aug. 19), Jethro Tull (Aug. 24), Mary Chapin Carpenter (Aug. 26), and Train (Aug. 27).

September sees two of the greatest singers of all-time back at Wolf Trap. The iconic Sting plays two nights, Sept. 1-2, playing such classics as “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle” and “Every Breath You Take.” Then the legendary James Taylor and his all-star band will come to Wolf Trap for three nights and perform all of his big hits, Sept. 7-9. 

Fans of the ’80s won’t want to miss the double-bill of British new wave bands Squeeze and the Psychedelic Furs on Sept. 14. 

Among the first-time performers this summer are Lauryn Hill (June 9), who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of her acclaimed album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” and Mexican singer/songwriter and 15-time Latin Grammy winner Natalia Lafourcade (July 20). International artists making Wolf Trap debuts include Indo-jazz supergroup Shakti (Aug. 23), featuring John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain on their 50th anniversary tour, and eclectic Brazilian pop and samba artist Marisa Monte (June 30).

“We have an all-female programing team and it was really important to us to make sure we balance how often we are seeing women on the stage, and we have some great female artists, including Marisa Monte,” Beesley says. “Natalia Lafourcade is also going to be an amazing night.”

Wolf Trap will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop with two special programs—Masters of the Mic: Hip Hop 50 Tour featuring Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-One, Rakim, Slick Rick, Roxanne Shante, and DJ Spinderella on Aug. 17; and Robert Glasper’s Black Radio: A Hip Hop 50 Celebration, a Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture collaboration with Wolf Trap on Sept. 9.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods’ seven-week season features the best in family entertainment including The Okee Dokee Brothers, Maryland Youth Ballet, Starr Chief Eagle, and more. Performances take place Tuesday through Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m., June 20 through Aug. 5.

The National Symphony Orchestra summer residency features acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn in her Wolf Trap debut on Aug. 4, Holst’s The Planets with an HD film from NASA’s space explorations (July 7), in addition to beloved NSO movie nights featuring Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert (July 8), Jurassic Park in Concert (July 22), and two nights (July 14-15) celebrating iconic scores and scenes from Studio Ghibli, including Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and more, led by the composer himself, Joe Hisaishi.

No matter what sort of music you enjoy, coming to Wolf Trap this summer is just a perfect way to spend an evening with friends, family and loved ones.

“What’s so beautiful about Wolf Trap is that it’s really very visceral,” Beesley says. “Parking is free, you can bring your own food and wine, and every experience and show helps to make it a quintessential summer. It really is a banger of a year.” 

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.WolfTrap.org.