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Out & About Festival 2023: A Vibrant Tapestry of Music and Unity

by Shannon Flack June 29, 2023

Brandi Carlile headlining the Out & About Fesival at The Filene Center - Wolf Trap (Shannon Flack)

The Out & About Festival unfolded over a vibrant weekend, spanning two days amidst the picturesque surroundings of Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA, the unique national park devoted to the performing arts. Headlined by the remarkable Brandi Carlile on both days, the festival offered an eclectic musical journey with three dynamic stages. The lineup underwent a delightful transformation each day, adding to the festival's dynamic energy. On June 24th, the audience reveled in the soulful performances of Yola, the enchanting melodies of Rufus Wainwright, the raw talent of Jake Wesley Rogers, and the infectious beats of Bad Moves. The following day, June 25th, brought a fresh wave of musical brilliance, featuring the electrifying sounds of Lucius, the soulful tunes of Celisse, the country vibes of Brandy Clark, and the captivating performance by Oh He Dead. The Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap proved to be a harmonious celebration, showcasing a diverse array of musical talents against the backdrop of this iconic national park dedicated to the arts.

Festival attendees moving from Meadow Stage to The Filene Center (Shannon Flack)

Nestled within the natural splendor of Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap emerges as a captivating haven for the arts, where the harmonious fusion of nature and performance unfolds seamlessly. As the only national park dedicated to the performing arts, Wolf Trap provided an enchanting backdrop for the Out & About Festival, a celebration that unfoleds across its expansive grounds. The festival's canvas was painted across three distinct stages, each nestled within the embrace of the park's lush greenery. The Filene Center, with its iconic sloping lawn, hosted the crescendo of main acts, creating an amphitheater beneath the stars. Meanwhile, the more intimate confines of the Meadow Stage offered a cozier ambiance, perfect for the nuanced performances of emerging artists. Amidst the trees, the Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods stage became a whimsical setting for family-friendly entertainment. As the festival unfolded, the audience was not only treated to a diverse musical lineup but also immersed in the symphony of nature that permeated this unique national park. Wolf Trap, with its verdant landscapes and carefully curated stages, transformed into a magical realm where the arts and nature danced in perfect harmony, offering festival-goers an experience unlike any other.

Brandi Carlile at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA (Shannon Flack)

The Pride Festival reached its zenith with a resplendent display of talent headlined by the Grammy Award-winning artist, Brandi Carlile. On the festival's second night, the stage became a kaleidoscope of musical brilliance as Carlile welcomed a constellation of special guests. Among them were not only celebrated musicians like Brandy Clarke, Lucius, and Oh He Dead but also deeply personal connections—her wife Catherine Shepherd, her brother Jay Carlile, and her nieces and nephew. In a poignant interlude, Brandi Carlile chose to step aside and sit on the side of the stage, a testament to her humility and love, as she watched with pride her nieces and nephew taking center stage with their own performance. The familial bonds and the spirit of unity were palpable, transcending the festival into a celebration of love, acceptance, and the power of music.

Lucius, adorned in matching pink outfits, graced The Filene Center stage with a mesmerizing performance characterized by their harmonious synergy. The enchanting visuals complemented their musical prowess, creating an unforgettable spectacle. Kicking off the festivities at The Filene Center, Celisse infused the air with contagious enthusiasm and exceptional musicianship, setting the stage for an evening of transcendent performances. As Brandi Carlile drew the curtains on her set, a heartwarming finale unfolded, with all the performers joining forces on stage. This collective moment encapsulated the essence of the Pride Festival—a harmonious celebration of diversity, love, and the unifying power of music.

Celisse kicking off the performances at The Filene Center (Shannon Flack)

As the final notes echoed through the air and the lights dimmed on the Out & About Festival's grand stage, it left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who gathered at The Filene Center. Brandi Carlile's headlining presence, accompanied by an array of exceptional artists and cherished guests, transcended mere entertainment and became a powerful expression of unity and celebration. The Pride Festival, a vibrant mosaic of music and love, not only showcased the extraordinary talents of its performers but also fostered a sense of inclusivity that resonated far beyond the music notes. In the warmth of Lucius's synchronized performance, Celisse's infectious enthusiasm, and the touching familial moments, the festival stood as a testament to the transformative power of music to bridge gaps, inspire connection, and ignite the spark of acceptance. As the curtain fell and the artists united on stage, the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap concluded as more than a musical extravaganza—it was a profound celebration of diversity, love, and the enduring spirit of togetherness that will echo in the hearts of all those who reveled in its magic.

Brandi Carlile, her band, Oh He Dead, and Lucius closing out the weekend at Out & About Festival (Shannon Flack)


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