Jazz isn’t just for old people anymore

I first started really listening to jazz music about three years ago. I’d like to pretend my sudden interest was due to my ever-maturing musical preferences, but much like my punk rock phase in high school, it was all in the name of impressing a boy. Sorry, moms and dads out there, this isn’t a “stay true to yourself” Chicken Noodle Soup for the Teenage Soul moment—my subterfuge totally worked and I got the guy. But along the way I also discovered that I really do like jazz music.

Now as many of you know, good jazz, like all things in DC, does not necessarily come cheap. But from now until September 9th jazz lovers across the district have cause to rejoice.

Every Friday from 5-8:30pm, the National Gallery of Art is hosting its annual Jazz in the Garden concert series. The show is free to the public and takes place amongst seventeen famous (or so I’ve been assured) sculptures in the outdoor sculpture garden. Prime seating does go fast, so come early if you want to actually be able to hear the music. I would also suggest bringing a picnic blanket to sit on.

photo courtesy of gregslistdc

At this point you are probably thinking, “Awesome, a free chance to enjoy jazz” or “Awesome, a free chance to act pretentious.” Not so fast, hotshot.

Most traditional reviewers might casually mention that there are snacks and a bar available at the concert. But as a Beltway Broad, I feel that this would be doing a major disservice to our core demographic (people looking to laugh while paying off crippling student loans).

So here’s what you should know: ‘Jazz in the Garden’ takes place during prime-time dinner hours, and the cost of food and wine/sangria is purposefully high. Purses and bags are given a cursorily check at the door. Any alcohol found in the bags is thrown out. Small snacks, such as hummus and cookies, seem to be allowed in, however. To save a substantial amount of money I would suggest bringing your own food and drink to the concert.

There are several ways to get around the outside alcohol ban that I witnessed other “creative” (i.e. poor) youngsters doing:
1. The old flask-in-the-pocket routine. Not the most creative solution, but sometimes the simplest plan is the best.
2. Have a friend go inside first. Then pass the contraband through the outside gate to your friend. Note: this maneuver obviously works best if done away from all security guards’ vision.
3. Stuff a huge blanket on top of bag. Pray you get a half-assed bag search.
4. Come to the show when it is already halfway over. Enter in the side gate which most people are using to exit. Thus, a bag search is completely avoided.

So, there you have it. With these helpful tips you too can have an inexpensive, yet cultured night out on the town. To all the love struck and broke guys across the city, no need to send me thanks. Just have your date pass me a beer through the gate next Friday.

– Lindsay

About Lindsay Golder

Freelance writer, book-fiend, lover of shamefully bad films regularly featured on TBS or TNT.


  1. What do they do with detained booze at “Jazz in the Garden?” | broadsofthebeltway - 2011/07/01

    […] Lindsay’s recent post mentioned, we recently got around to attending “Jazz in the Garden” for the first time. While […]

  2. DC Link Roundup: Heard In The ‘Hood | Penn Quarter Living - 2011/07/25

    […] at the Sculpture Garden, are being more strict about not allowing outside alcohol into the event. [Broads of the Beltway] & [Broads of the Beltway – […]

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