The sixth annual All Things Go Fall Classic was held on October 12th and 13th in Washington D.C.’s Union Market. Nestled between the bustling Northeast Washington neighborhoods, Union Market is an industrial center that dates back to the 1870s. It has recently become a hub for new businesses, vendors, and artisans to grow and a thriving market for residents and tourists to shop.
The All Things Go Fall Classic is more than a music festival- it showcases local vendors from Union Market and promotes creative experiences for patrons. The festival opened in 2014 as a one-day event with headliners Future Islands and Tove Lo. Since its beginnings, the festival has seen many returning patrons, as well as a surge of out-of-state crowds.
This year, All Things Go partnered with She Is The Music to promote women in the music industry and cultivate an environment of inclusion. The Fall Classic 2019 lineup is filled with women, each of them being noticeably vocal themselves about the inherent barriers women face when pursuing a career in music. At the venue, women worked behind the scenes to pull off the two-day festival and ensure smooth operations. It was inspiring to see a festival work so closely with its vendors, employees, and partners to give more women a platform.
As the first day of the festival began, so did the activity around Union Market. Many of the early-comers were younger in age and dressed in outfits to support their favorite artists. Fans of Melanie Martinez, generally younger in age, were adorned in pink accessories, frilly ruffles, and small touches of grunge. Baby-doll styles were popular, playing in to Martinez’s child-like aesthetic.
This year, the festival was noticeably smaller than years before. Less food vendors and less interactive experiences led many festival-goers to wait until later acts to arrive. The festival allows re-entry, so people are allowed to leave the gates, get food or drinks inside Union Market or elsewhere, and come back whenever they’d like. And because there weren’t as many vendor options offered inside the venue, the crowds came in waves, and more started to file in once the larger acts played.
Sneaks, Arkells, Chelsea Jade, and mxmtoon opened Day One.
As the sun started to lower, MUNA’s set brought more attendees inside the venue. Their upbeat songs and wild energy captivated the audience. MUNA’s most recent album, Saves the World, has caught the attention of diverse listeners. It was clear that their message of self-reflection and acceptance of flaws deeply resonated with fans. Singer Katie Gavin wore a dress with a bold quote from activist and author Joanna Macy: “Corporate monopolization of the media and the wreckage of our public school system keep a large portion of Americans ignorant of the forces threatening our own future, while the state of the economy robs them of time and energy to respond to larger issues.”
As COIN’s set began, the venue became more tightly packed. Fans that had come specifically to see COIN waited patiently against the barricade. Most screamed every word to the song, and one teenage girl stated, “I’m definitely going to cry.”
Frontman Chase Lawrence put on an animated show. At one point, he ran into the middle of the crowd and even climbed the loading-dock walls that now serve as VIP areas.
Again, the crowd waited for the next set. Fog starting emerging from the stage as the LED backdrop showed grainy graphics that mimicked the look of vintage technology. LANY started their set with “Thick and Thin,” one of the 2018 single’s from their album Malibu Nights. Each song in the set had its own vibe, with lighting and colors to match- soft pink for “Pink Skies” and deep blue for “Malibu Nights,” for example. Read about LANY’s song “okay” with Julia Michaels here.
Finally, Day One came to a close with CHVRCHES’s headlining performance. Lauren Mayberry strut on stage in a glittery jumpsuit and her trademark platform boots. The set was just as enchanting as expected. CHVRCHES’s most recent release, “Death Standing,” dropped earlier this month and will be on the video game soundtrack album Death Standing: Timefall when it arrives on November 7th.
All Thing Go, in the past, has offered inclusive bills ranging from hip-hop to electric pop. While the 2019 lineup leaned more towards pop, alternative, and indie genres, the festival still attracted a diversity of attendees. Many of the acts openly identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and the days were filled with uplifting messages and overwhelming support. By the end of Day One, people embraced those messages and danced together as a family of music fans.
The second day of the festival started a little slower than the first. It was a cold, rainy day- many attendees spent the beginning acts of Day Two under the shelter of the indoor market, which had a few booths for merchandise, alcohol sponsors, and a photo booth. It was gloomy, but many fans still stood in the rain at the front of the barricade to reserve a prime viewing spot.
Shenna, TeaMarrr, Carlie Hanson, Allie X, and Olivia O’Brien opened Day Two. Each act offered different aesthetics and music styles. Allie X’s chilling outfit matched her sad-core music and abstract lyrics. She dressed in a loose white dress that resembled a vintage nightgown and contrasted her stark black hair. Emphasizing the importance of creating one’s own identity, her look is intimidating, but her persona is welcoming. The crowd joined together in chanting a gripping line from one of her earlier songs: “I’m your bitch, you’re my bitch. Boom boom!”
Olivia O’Brien brought the sass as she sang about complicated love, unwanted feelings, and ex-boyfriends. After her song “Tequilawine,” she joked that she could go for some tequila right then, “but I’m only nineteen so I’m not supposed to be drinking anyway.”
Leon’s soulful music echoed between the warehouse walls and beyond. Singer Lotta Lindgren sang to the audience with a particular spirit that could make listeners cry from the beauty. The set was graceful and provided the perfect moment to soak in the magic of live music. Leon brought this magic across the country on her spring tour earlier this year- read Substream’s coverage here.
The party started when Betty Who walked on stage. Within minutes, the venue became totally filled, and it was obvious that a majority of ticket-buyers came just to see her. She greeted the crowd, “If it’s your first time seeing me, welcome! It’s been me and the gays for a few years.” This was Betty Who’s third time performing at the festival. She admitted to feeling down recently, and gave a motivational speech about embracing yourself and the life you’ve created. She followed up by saying her speech was probably directed more towards herself than to any of her fans, but she hoped they could feel comfortable and happy there, too. Betty Who embraced her fans just as enthusiastically as she did on The Betty Tour, when she sold out two back-to-back nights in D.C.
It couldn’t go unnoticed that Union Market quickly emptied after Betty Who’s set. A smaller crowd remained, and it seemed those who stayed for Melanie Martinez’s headlining set had come to the festival mainly for her. Martinez has a strong fanbase. After allegations of sexual assault against her came to light in 2017, her fans seemed to take one of two extreme sides: with her, or against her. The crowd at All Things Go when Martinez walked on stage consisted of those who are with her.
Her performance featured multiple props in various school-related settings as part of the story she tells in her most recent album, K-12. The album release included a ninety minute film, a pop-song musical about two schoolgirls fighting against the criminal administration. Snippets of the film’s story were presented in Martinez’s performance at the Fall Classic. In between songs, visuals of a comforting authority figure showed on the LED screen and spoke to the audience about being yourself, fighting for what’s right, and standing up to oppression.
Two full days of both upcoming and popular artists. Artisan food options and some interactive experiences. A music venue in the middle of an industrial park in Washington D.C. All Things Go certainly stands out among the other two-day festivals in this regard. Each act brought their own taste to the event and each fan found something meaningful over the weekend. Not many music festivals take place in the busy capitol city- the Fall Classic continues to be one of D.C.’s most anticipated music festivals of the year.