Indie-rock rainouts are a less-obvious D.C. summer tradition

My first Fort Reno concert in three years lasted maybe 30 minutes. And in retrospect, I should have seen that coming–as in, I should have consulted the weather apps on my phone or iPad before heading out.

Thursday evening’s weather-interrupted free outdoor show in the Tenleytown park named after the Civil War fort limited me to watching most of an entertaining set by opening act Sparklebot. After that performance, I walked around the park to see how it had changed since 2019 (for example, the gravel path bisecting the field had been paved and lined with solar-powered lights), returned to my picnic blanket and started tucking into the dinner I’d brought from home.

And then rain set in, rapidly.

I hurriedly shoved the lid back on my meal and tossed that container into the bag I’d brought (of course, that lid popped off later to leave me with a mess), folded up my lawn chair, and tossed my picnic blanket over my head to avoid getting completely soaked. Then I retreated under a tree to wait for the downpour to ease.

After 20 minutes, it was obvious that the next set was not going to happen, so I walked a little more around the park as the rain faded to take a photo or two. Then I walked back to my car. My four idle thoughts on the drive home:

  1. At least I resumed what used to be one of my favorite D.C.-summer rituals–after shamefully missing all of last year’s Fort Reno shows.
  2. Since this show got suddenly rained out after Monday’s Fort Reno concert had been preemptively canceled because of rain showers that had then stopped before 7 p.m., what kind of beef does D.C. weather have with indie rock?
  3. Knowing what we know now about how effectively ventilation, especially a breeze outdoors, can prevent the pandemic, the show could have gone on at 40th and Chesapeake Streets NW in 2020. It could have been one little thing to bring my city slightly closer together during one of the tougher years we’ve ever had.
  4. The next show is Monday, and my calendar looks clear that evening. Could we please have clear skies then as well?