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Fort Reno Organizer Will Meet With National Park Service Monday

Amanda MacKaye and park officials will discuss possibilities to revive the free concert series.
Photograph by Flickr user Rudi Riet.

There may be hope yet for DC’s treasured summer concerts at Fort Reno.

Amanda MacKaye, who organizes the annual music series at the Tenleytown park, will meet on Monday with officials from the National Park Service to try to find a solution that will allow the shows to go on. MacKaye informed Fort Reno’s fans on Thursday that she canceled this year’s shows because the Park Service insisted that she pay for a US Park Police officer to be posted at the twice-weekly concerts, an expense that would have more than doubled the concert series’s shoestring budget. MacKaye, the sister of Fugazi and Minor Threat singer Ian MacKaye, spends about $2,500 a summer on the Fort Reno shows.

Monday’s meeting comes about thanks to Paul Strauss, one of the District’s “shadow senators” and a former Fort Reno organizer, Washington City Paper reports.

Pleas for Fort Reno, which has hosted summer concerts every year since 1968, also reached real members of Congress. Representative Chris Van Hollen, whose Maryland district borders upper Northwest DC, received a flood of correspondence after MacKaye posted her note, his press secretary, Ian Janetta, tells Washingtonian. Van Hollen also sent a letter Thursday evening to the Interior Department’s liaison on Capitol Hill, asking for a reconsideration of the decisions that led to MacKaye canceling this summer’s lineup.

The Park Service also issued its own statement late Thursday:

“Today, the National Park Service (NPS) was notified by the permit applicant for the Fort Reno concert series that she intended to postpone the concerts. The United States Park Police (USPP) reached out to the applicant today. The NPS and USPP are reviewing the details of previous permits and previous law enforcement needs related to the concert series. Our primary goal is public safety. Both the NPS and USPP recognize the importance of the concerts to the community and look forward to further discussions with the permit applicant.”

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.