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It’s Official: HFStival Will Return This Fall

The Postal Service, Bush, and Garbage will perform at the rejuvenated Gen-X music festival.

HFStival finally returns. Photograph by Daniel Afzal.

The HFStival, once an annual rite for Generation X music lovers, will return on September 21. Among the groups scheduled to appear are the Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, Incubus, Jimmy Eat World, Bush and  Garbage. “I just love providing great memories and experiences for people here. This is another chance to create something that people love,” says Seth Hurwitz, the chairman of local live event powerhouse I.M.P., which will put on the show.

WHFS, the DC-area alternative rock station (which some say coined the term “modern rock”) no longer exists, but I.M.P. came to an arrangement with Audacy, the broadcasting company that owns the trademark, says spokesperson Audrey Fix Schaefer.

HFStival programs from the ’90s, courtesy Bob Waugh.

Some of the station’s beloved personalities may be involved in the mix as well, Washingtonian has learned.

HFStival began as a Fourth of July picnic held in Fairfax in 1990, but by 1993, alternative rock had hit the mainstream hard, and the station moved the event to RFK Stadium. With brief detours to FedEx Field and PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, the festival continued at RFK until 2004. A few events billed as HFStival took place at Merriweather Post Pavilion between 2005 and 2011. (WHFS went off the air in January 2005 but had a couple half-hearted returns.)

The poster for the 2024 show.

As I.M.P. did at its venue the Atlantis when it opened, tickets to the festival will be available via lottery. “We got a lot of people upset when they couldn’t get tickets to All Things Go, and felt unfairly shut out by out of towners,” Hurwitz says. The original event “was a huge tradition and beloved event here,” he says. “Almost like a holiday.” Will it once again be an annual event? Hurwitz says I.M.P. got a late start booking groups and that some potential headliners prefer to anchor their own shows. But, he says, “If this is successful, and we decide to do it again, hopefully people will want to be part of it for other reasons than money.”

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.