The Funk Parade almost didn’t happen. The Funk Parade did happen. Thanks to support from the city and the Mayor (scroll down for a photo of Mayor Bowser) and corporate sponsors, U Street (and surrounding streets) once again were given the go ahead to get loud.
The Funk Parade just celebrated its fifth year. It brings out people from across the District to the musical heart of this town. Last year over 70,000 people attended (estimates for Saturday are not yet available). It needs to come back for a sixth year.
Saturday was a busy day in D.C. In addition to the Funk Parade (which is more than just the parade, there’s also 5 hours of programming before and 5+ hours of programming after at multiple locations), EU Open House day also garnered large crowds. There’s one country that will not participate in next year’s EU Open House day: the British Embassy. The British Embassy also happened to be the second most popular embassy during yesterday’s open house. It spotlighted upcoming events in London, like the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, and the Royal Wedding. The embassy understands people would like to visit their country for their biggest city. Due to people in areas not in London voting to exit the EU (59.9% of London voted Remain), the British Embassy is exiting EU Open House day. The embassy is not leaving D.C.
It’s difficult for organizers of events like the Funk Parade to secure funding. Free events that shut down streets aren’t very popular for some people. But most everyone that attends these type of events loves them. They’re the type of programs that people remember and plan around. It’s the type of event that any forward thinking city stuck in an unpopular decision should want to attach itself to. The 2019 Funk Parade should have one sponsor: The British Embassy (and if not the embassy, the London Tourist Board).
Based on attendance at the Funk Parade and EU Open House, there are two D.C.’s. Funk Parade attracted people that actually live here and a few tourists. EU Open House attracted people from around the world and a few locals. There’s no reason the Funk Parade can’t grow to attract tourists and there’s no reason the British Embassy shouldn’t want to associate with this fantastic event. If Funk Parade is big enough to attract sponsors like Uber and Diet Coke, it’s good enough for the UK.