New this year, on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., the Portside Festival merges with the 44th Annual Alexandria Jazz Fest to showcase jazz performances and readings by Alexandria poets. Festival-goers will be treated to jazz from Cubano Groove, VERONNEAU and the Eric Byrd Trio plus interludes of poetry by Zeina Azzam, the City of Alexandria’s newest Poet Laureate; KaNikki Jakarta, the City’s Poet Laureate from 2019 to 2022; and an up-and-coming Alexandria youth poet.
Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m., the Portside Festival continues with an eclectic musical lineup, featuring Eli Lev (folk rock), La Unica (Irish Latin rock); ilyAIMY (folk rock), Rob Curto’s Forró for All (Brazilian forró); Ras Band (Ethiopian reggae, jazz and funk) and Pablo Antonio y La Firma (salsa, merengue and bachata). Alexandria-based musicians and founders of the Yellow Door Concert Series, Vaughn and Robyn Ambrose, are guest musical curators and emcees for Saturday’s performances.
Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m., family-friendly offerings include hands-on art and history activities and more. The City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts presents a screen-printing activity by Patrick Sargent inspired by I Love You, the 2022 Site See temporary public art installation by R & R STUDIOS. Guests can further their creativity with art activities from The Art League, the Torpedo Factory Art Center and UpCycle Creative Reuse Center. Intertribal Creatives offers a pop-up version of their Old Town gallery selling Native-made art and other goods. Safe Space NOVA brings friendship bracelets, games and more to the day’s riverfront revelry. Archaeologists from the Office of Historic Alexandria will reveal new information about four recently excavated historic ships while presenting a display of artifacts and STEM-based activities for all ages. Families can try out musical instruments from around the world and spark a jam session with Bill Jenkins’ World of Music.
Both days of the festival feature local craft beer from Port City Brewing Company along with a selection of food and drinks from Alexandria-based small businesses Borinquen Lunch Box, Chalkboard Wings & BBQ, Dolci Gelati and The Italian Place.
Friday and Saturday, June 17 - 18, 2022
Time: 6 to 9 p.m., Fri., June 17; 1 to 9 p.m., Sat., June 18
Waterfront Park, 1A Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314