DC Area Families Get to Rock Out Together!

by Jason Didner, founder of Jungle Gym Jam music – authentic Jersey rock for kids & families

Tot Rock Music Series at Jammin’ Java

Tom Chapin, Grammy-winning children's musicianPicture this scene if you will. It’s Saturday; you and your significant other are headed to a rock show in one of the areas premiere music venues. You didn’t have to hire a babysitter because the kids are coming with you! This is the experience at Jammin’ Java’s Tot Rock concert & entertainment series in Vienna, VA.

Tot Rock represents the growing trend of “kindie” (kids’ independent) music to be wildly entertaining for kids and their grown-ups while creating unique family bonding moments.

Throughout the spring season, Jammin’ Java is keeping a schedule of Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning concerts. Thursday and Friday shows are presented by local artists for kids and their stay-at-home parent or caregiver. The Saturday show is often by local or traveling artists coming to town to entertain the whole family.

As great of a family outing I feel these shows are, what impressed me just as much was what a memorable, and easy to put together, birthday party they make.

Every Thursday in the spring, you can check out The Great Zucchini with his spellbinding magic and comedy at 10:30 am. He doesn’t stop at just providing entertainment; he also unleashes the budding magician and comedian inside each and every child in the audience! You’ll find his preschool teaching experience comes through in his manner with the kids and his way of guiding them out of their shells.

The Grandsons, Jr. will put on a special Friday morning show on April 24 at 10:30. Kids will get a wonderful exposure to the roots of American music through rock, swing, New Orleans R&Z, country and Latin styles. “The Grandsons” perform as a group for all ages. They add “Jr.” to the end of their name when they concentrate on the songs that go over best with their youngest audiences.

Saturday morning, April 25 sees Caveman Dave emerge from his cavern to bring his comedy/children’s folk stylings for your entertainment. He’s opened for Trout Fishing in America and gained some noteworthy airplay on children’s music programs.

Rocknoceros rocks the house every Friday in May and June. This trio of childhood pals who grew up rocking together has been entertaining and enriching kids & families for 10 years and are about to release their 5th album with a big celebration at Jammin’ Java! On May 1 through June 19, Rocknoceros hits the stage at 10:30. On June 26, they put on a special whole-family show at 7PM to mark the CD release.

On Saturday morning, May 2, The Grandsons, Jr. return.

You’re in for a special family experience on Saturday morning, May 9. This is when Stingray from the New Jersey kindie band Starfish presents his Beatles & Bubblegum show, which immerses families in the sunny pop hits and culture of the 60s and 70s – mostly Beatles, with the music of the Archies, the Monkees and more added to sweeten the mix.

Then, on Saturday, May 16, my family and I make our DC area performance debut traveling in from New Jersey – with some special help from our DC friends “Uncle” Devin Walker on drums and Wardell Howell on bass. This will be a multicultural, multi-style mashup not to be missed, combining Jersey rock with authentic DC funk, R&B and jazz. I call this show “Jersey Jason meets the DC Jungle Gym Jam!” My wife Amy and daughter Holly will add percussion and fun theatrics to amp up the kid-friendly factor. You can go ahead and help yourself to three of my songs for free so you and your family can get familiar with our tunes before you come out and see us.

After a weekend off for Memorial Day weekend, things pick back up with Rainbow Rock’s “Meet the Rainbow” CD release party on Saturday, May 30. This interactive, family-friendly show led by “The Rainbow Lady” and friends, will involve your kids on tambourines, xylophones, maracas and more.

The Great Zucchini will put on a whole-family show on Saturday, June 6.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 13 as the 3-time Grammy Award-winning Tom Chapin puts on a special whole-family show at 11:00 AM. His catalog of original children’s and adult-themed songs mixed in with traditional numbers will create a powerful, life-affirming experience for your family.

Get your boogie shoes on for Baby Loves Disco on Saturday, June 20. They offer a complete party experience while promoting a healthy lifestyle, offering fresh, healthy food and lots of movement. There will be disco lights, bubbles, balloons, face painting and more. Baby Loves Disco participated in the 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll and will show your family an amazing time.

On Thursday, June 25, two shows happen on the same day: The Great Zucchini at Jammin’ Java at 10:30 AM and Karen K (from the Jitterbugs) at the Smithsonian at 10:15 and 11:30 AM, co-presented by Jammin’ Java. Karen K recently created a smash hit collaboration – “Rainbow” – with kindie rapper Mista Cookie Jar, singing to kids and families about co-existence and equality among all races, genders and sexual orientations. Karen returns for two more shows at the Smithsonian on Friday morning, June 26 at the same times.

Also on Friday morning, June 26, Parents’ Choice Award-winning Mr. Gabe takes the stage, offering his original children’s songs, some children’s standards, and fun rock/pop numbers the whole family will recognize and enjoy.

Saturday afternoon, June 27 features two special performances by Rocknoceros for your whole family as they continue the celebration of their “Plymouth Rockers” album release. The first show is at 11 AM and a second show takes place at 1 PM.

Which shows at Jammin’ Java do you think you and your family might attend? I’d love to get your comments below this article.

Musically yours,

Jason