ShamrockFest is the largest St. Patrick's Day festival in the United States. Washington, D.C.'s ShamrockFest is a huge street festival with live music stages, food, plenty of beer, an Irish Village, carnival rides, and much more. The festival features more than 30 bands and DJs on five stages. 2018 headlining bands included Sum 41, Shaggy, Less Than Jake, and Reel Big Fish. The lineup for 2019 has not been announced yet.
It's a festive atmosphere for all ages. Because the festival is associated with Saint Patricks' Day, many attendees wear green clothing or other Saint Patrick's Day gear.
ShamrockFest takes place on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick's day from 12 noon to 8 p.m. The event is held rain or shine.
The music festival takes place at the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds (not inside the stadium). The RFK Stadium Festival Fairgrounds is divided into two areas for ShamrockFest. One is the main area and the other, the VIP area. To get into the VIP area, for adults 21 and over, requires a special, higher-priced ticket. This is the area where you'll find the "bottomless free beer," more music stages, special events, and more restrooms.
The larger main area of the festival is open to all ages with children under 11 getting in free. Food and drink (including cocktails, beer, and wine) are available for sale at vendor booths and are not included in the ticket price. No outside food or beverage is permitted at ShamrockFest.
The address is 2400 E. Capitol St. NE Washington, DC and the closest metro station is Stadium-Armory. Since ShamrockFest takes up much of the parking area at the stadium, using the metro is recommended.
2018 prices listed regular tickets at $19.99 (advance purchase), plus a service fee. VIP Admission was $64.99 (plus service fee) and included bottomless beer, a souvenir mug, and VIP seating. Children 11 and under may enter free with a ticket holder that is at least 18 years of age. The 2019 prices will be listed on the event ticket site.
The focus is on music, from hip and modern rock to traditional Celtic folk music. In addition, there are party games and carnival rides. The band lineup for 2019 has not been announced. Entertainment will be similar to the offerings from 2018:
- Irish Main Stages: Irish punk, Celtic rock, folk and straight up Irish party bands
- Taste of Ireland: Irish dancers, fiddlers, and bagpipers
- National Music Stages: Party bands and local rockers
- Club DJ Zones: 15 of the world's premier DJs
- Party games and carnival rides
- Irish vendors
- Hot Kilted Leg Contest
More Saint Patrick's Day Fun
In the Washington, DC area there are more things to do:
- Saint Patrick's Day Parades are held in Washington, DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and Gaithersburg, Maryland. In Washington, DC, the parade proceeds along Constitution Avenue—7th to 17th Streets NW. This two-and-a-half hour special event, known as the Nation's St. Patrick's Day Parade, includes floats, marching bands, pipe bands, military, police, and fire departments. Local Irish pubs sponsor parade parties featuring Irish musicians, dancers, and signers. The 2019 date is Sunday, March 10, 2019.
- St. Patrick’s Day Dining and Pub Crawling is a tradition. The Washington, DC area has a good number of Irish restaurants that celebrate the holiday with special events. There's even a St. Paddy’s Day SoberRide program to help people get home safely.