port of harlem magazine
Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.
Go-Go Music Took Center Stage at the World Cultural Festival D.C.

Oct 19 – Nov 01, 2023

jayson holmes

“Sardines! Hey! And Pork-n-Beans!” rang the popular phrase from the D.C. Go-Go band Junkyard Band as the 2023 World Music Festival kicked off in late September 30 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This year’s festival attendees were greeted by Washington D.C.’s homegrown music and the momentous musicians who play it including Scooby Marshall and DJ Kool.

The World Cultural Festival (WCF) is a global artistic event showcasing music, food, traditions, and dance from over 100 countries. It began in 2006 and is hosted by a different country each year.

“So, it was only fitting that the first time the World Cultural Festival takes place in the U.S., it opens with the sounds of Go-Go to pay homage to genre and culture of its home city,” said Danette “Dani” Tucker, CEO of Go-Go Fitness LLC.

Dancers ranged in age from 12 to 79 and practiced for months to kick off the festival’s second day. Jayden Holmes of D.I.V.A D’s World Dancers, said, “my favorite part about dancing to Go-Go was the energy that all the performers brought to the stage. The stage gave people space to let loose and have a good time, adding comfort and excitement to the performance. I loved getting to perform in front of thousands of people with incredible dancers and personalities.”

Go-Go Music dates to the 1970’s when the late American guitarist, singer, and bandleader, Chuck Brown founded the genre of music and put it on the map. Known as the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown performed nationally and internationally. He passed in 2012.

The World Cultural Festival was also an opportunity to bring light in a nation that has been beset with challenges including increases in gun violence, racial tensions, and political corruption. As Holmes summed it up, “the WCF was able to highlight joyous moments in a time where it can be hard to find joy.”

Note: "Da Butt" is probably the most famous go-go song. The single was released in 1988 from the original soundtrack to the film School Daze. The song was written by Marcus Miller and performed by the D.C.-based go-go band E.U. The song reached number one on the Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart for the week of April 23, 1988.
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