For the past 18 years, DC has enjoyed a plethora of celebration opportunities for the greenest holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. For nearly two decades, ShamrockFest has been among the choices, offering an experience blending traditional Irish flare with a music festival, delicious food and a diverse array of options for its attendees.
“We always want to balance having a great time and celebrating the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day while keeping everyone safe and making sure it’s a great experience for all,” organizer Kelly North says. “We have a diverse group of people who come to the event.”
The festival usually promotes Celtic rock, a genre that has become heavily associated with the holiday because of its Irish roots, but lately the festival has sought acts from other genres as well. This year’s festival includes old school hip-hop acts in House of Pain and Coolio, as well as fan favorite Irish music stalwart Dropkick Murphys.
“It was definitely intentional,” North says. “One thing is, obviously, all of the big Celtic bands are in high demand at this time of year. We try to stick to Irish roots for the festival, but we do take into account what people enjoy. This year, we definitely have more diversity than other years. Last year we brought in Vanilla Ice and got great feedback from that performance, so we want to continue to incorporate that kind of nostalgia this year.”
As the festival has grown over the years, the attendance has risen steadily into the thousands. But with the growing population in the DMV, every festival brings new patrons, and North wants them to understand the value of this catchall event. If you’re looking for a little bit of everything in a celebration, ShamrockFest is a safe bet for an enjoyable experience.
“People can expect a big fun party, basically,” North says. “I truly love to see when the headliners come out. It’s really cool to see everyone singing along and throwing their fists in the air. It’s super rewarding for us to see everyone just dance and absolutely enjoy the moment that they’re in.”
ShamrockFest takes place from 2-10 p.m. on March 11. Tickets are $25-$75.
RFK Stadium: 2400 E Capitol St. SE, DC; www.shamrockfest.com