- This will all be gone in time for the H Street Festival on Sept. 18, according to DDOT. (Photo: TBD Staff)
The H Street Festival, quickly becoming one of the best neighborhood fests in D.C., released its music lineup on Monday, and the mainstage acts look pretty solid (H.R. of Bad Brains! Funk Ark!). But with only a little over two weeks until the Sept. 18 festival, is there any chance the ongoing construction on H Street NE could end up throwing a wrench in the works?
Not in terms of the mainstage, and if the D.C. Department of Transportation keeps up its end of the bargain, not for the rest of the festival either, according to organizer Margaret Holwill.
"The main concert stage is at 14th Street," Holwill explains. "There's no problem with construction there."
As of Tuesday, the stretch of H Street NE where the rest of the festival is supposed to take place, from about 13th down to 8th, looks like the above photo. The side of the road where tracks for an eventual streetcar have been laid is actually clear now, but the center lanes are still blocked by big ol' concrete jersey barriers and other construction paraphernalia.
DDOT has pledged that the center lanes of all five of those blocks will be open in time for the festival, in addition to keeping the 1300 block clear of any and all construction impediments. A single lane on the south side of the street will be blocked off between 8th and 13th, however, leaving a strip about 40 feet wide along H Street for festival use.
Holwill says she's certainly counting on the city to keep that promise, but as with any construction project of this size, she has to be prepared just in case it doesn't happen.
"You always have a fallback," Holwill says. "With tents that we don't erect until the day of the festival, I can move the tents, we can push them out to the side streets. The stage at the west end is supposed to be on the street, and it's a portable stage, thank God."
Despite the literal obstacles to the 2010 H Street Festival, Holwill is still predicting a banner year.
"We had 20,000 people last year, and I think we'll have more this year," she says. "People are amazingly forgiving when they're having a good time."