Chris Naoum, DC Funk Parade Co-founder + Music Advocate, Sounds Off on Exploring DC Like a Local
Part of the "Awesome People You Should Know in DC" series
Find travel inspiration and discover new wonders for your adventures in DC as some of the city's movers, shakers, explorers and creatives share ow they're staying busy during the quarantine and what they're looking forward to once the restrictions lift.
You might not know his name, but if you're a local music fan, chances are you've attended one or more of his festivals. Christopher Naoum is the founder of Listen Local First, co-founder of the annual Funk Parade and the city's newest music festival, Down in the Reeds And to add to his long list of accomplishments, he is also festival, programmer for the Kingman island Bluegrass & Folk Festival In short, just call him the DC Music Man! And if you're an artist, Chris is one of the most passionate and active advocates for musicians' rights in the district.
Discover Chris' favorite local spots in the DC and how he continues to discover new things in the city!
The content below has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity and length.
How long have you lived in Washington, DC?
Almost 12 years..
What local spot in DC brings you joy and why?
Music venues and art/music collectives bring me the most joy because they are places where you can feel live creation and witness the reflection of the world we live in through the eyes and years of creatives. Many of these spaces are transient and pop up at different places and different times. I will always love the U Street Neighborhood and the feeling of history and culture clashing over the decades in one lively corridor. Aside from venues, my favorite thing about DC is that unlike many cities...nature is all around and accessible all throughout from the water and rivers to Rock Creek Park.
What recommendations do you have for people to explore and discover DC while staying at home?
I have been watching a lot of artists performances from home but have been also getting out with my 20 month old and exploring city parks, hiking on trails, visiting gardens and parks. Just visited the Fransiscan Monestary in Brookland the other day. No one was there and the Rose Gardens were gorgeous.
What's something new you've found out about DC while staying at home that you didn't know before?
I have also explored new parts of the Valley trail that I have not been to before. I havent really done any of the virtual tours though I probably should. Every Sunday I also head out of the city with my wife and kid and we explore a different portion of the Patuxent River.
What's the first thing you're looking forward to doing in DC after the COVID restrictions are lifted?
Going to see live music though that might not be till 2021. But aside from that I am excited to meet up with friends again. I would love to spread out picnic blankets in Grant Circle and sit 8-feet away from friends and just bask in the sunshine. I also would really like to get back to the Hirshhorn and check out the Sunday Drum Circles in Meridian Hill Park.
Share your tips for ways locals and tourists can discover the "real DC" once things return to "normal."
Think of it like playing Zelda. Every neighborhood and section of the city has an important past and rich history to learn about that then can better inform what is happening there currently. Understanding the full story and looking under every nook and cranny is the only way to really get to know your city. .
Stay connected to Chris and DC's music scene @listenlocallive.
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Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it