More than 15 local and national vendors converged upon the Gateway Pavilion in Southeast on May 25 for the aptly-named Midnite BBQ, giving attendees a plethora of barbecue treats from 5 p.m. to after midnight.
Food demonstrations and tastings abounded, including brisket, fried fish, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options from select locations.
House DJ Spinser Tracy and friends navigated the setlist, which this year included acts such as Everyday People, Grits and Biscuits, Backyard Band, Saweetie and Alunageorge.
“There is something about the fellowship that is barbecue,” said Northwest resident Kendell Kelly. “Combine it with the ear candy of eclectic Afro beats and you have the food for the soul that Is Midnight BBQ.”
Attendees were treated to roof deck access, cocktail bars, unlimited drinks, photo booths, hookahs, a speedy entrance plus a commemorative MidniteBBQ gift.
But what set the event apart from the average backyard barbecue is the live performances, podcasts and interactive panels and pop-ups simultaneously available for all.
“I’m thoroughly impressed. I represent the Museum DC we have an actual activation and pop-up here,” said LaGreg Harrison. “There is art, culture, music, food — all by local branding and businesses. It’s amazing.”
One of the most dynamic sections of the event was the “Wonder Woman” panel that consisted of D.C. natives Gia Peppers, Poet Taylor, Kim Tignor, London Zhiloh and Kim Osorio, hosted by Girlaaa creators and moderated by DJ DOMO.
Key topics included the #DontMuteDC #Moechella initiative to keep go-go music and its history alive in the city, how to protect your ideas as an artist in the era of social media, and how women should keep helping other women.
“The Girlaaa panel made me feel like I had an army of the fiercest Black women in media behind me,” said Samantha Magoba of Silver Spring, Maryland. “It hammered in my head that there will never be a good enough reason for me to give up. Even if no one around me believes in me, my dream in my heart is all I’ll ever need. The world will feel me eventually!”