Audience with hands raised at a music festival and lights streaming down from above the stage. Soft focus, blurred movement.

Summer 2016 is finally upon us, and one of the best ways to celebrate is to get some music on your calendar. This year is going to be a big one for the DC concert scene, and trust us, you’re going to want to be a part of it.

Below, find seven shows to remind you why summer concert season in DC rocks.  

Christine and the Queens
9:30 Club, May 31

Heloise Letissier, known by her stage name Christine and the Queens, is a French singer and songwriter that was awarded Best Female Artist in 2015 at the Victoires de la musique, a French award ceremony equivalent to the Grammys. The single “Tilted” was released in February 2015 in the US as part of her North American debut.

Grace Potter
9:30 Club, June 22 and 23

After a decade with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the band’s eponymous lead singer is ditching her group to promote her new album Midnight. Potter has been experimenting with solo collaborations for the last few years (“You and Tequila” with Kenny Chesney was her most successful), so it is no surprise that she has decided to take a mid-career turn.

Dave Barnes
The Hamilton, June 24

You probably known Dave Barnes’s words more than his music (Blake Shelton has a penchant for picking up his stuff), but he is one of the best and most talented writers and musicians in Nashville. His song “God Gave Me You” earned him a Grammy nomination, but the best representations of his writing skills are the bluesy love songs “Grace’s Amazing Hands” and  “Until You.” He is only in DC for one night, so don’t miss it.

Ray LaMontagne
Filene Center at Wolf Trap, June 19

Ray LaMontagne has made his career as a morosely troubled and soulful crooner, but six albums in he still hasn’t settled into a formulaic way of making music. His 2014 album, Supernova, was a sunny departure from his more melancholy ballads but his newest album Ouroboros, could have been put together by a completely different musician. LaMontagne’s versatility proves he is one of the most talented players out there, so head to Wolf Trap on June 19th to hear for yourself.

98 Degrees, Dream, O-Town, Ryan Cabrera
Filene Center at Wolf Trap, August 13, 2016

Look millennials, there’s no reason to be ashamed of your boy band-obsessed, frosted tip and body glitter heritage. For a walk down memory lane with the B Team of boy bands (NSYNC, can we get a reunion tour?), check out 98 Degrees, Dream, O-Town, and Ryan Cabrera.

Aretha Franklin
The Barns at Wolf Trap, August 26

In a world of self-professed queens (we get it Queen Bey), there really is only one female singer worthy of the word, and it’s the Queen of Soul herself. In her most recent performance in Washington at the Kennedy Center, she received a standing ovation and some Obama tears from her striking take on Carole King’s “Natural Woman.”  Expect to see some of DC’s heavy hitters in attendance at Wolf Trap for her performance on August 26th, 2016.

Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival
Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, MD, May 21-22

Get that lawn chair ready because the Chesapeake Bay Blue Festival is calling. Fourteen bands including Joe Bonamassa, The Robert Cray Band, and The Mavericks, will come together 30 miles outside the district at  Annapolis’s Sandy Point State Park for a weekend of blues.