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D.C.’s legendary HFStival is back, with a dream aughts-rock lineup

Pull your faded band tees and wraparound sunglasses out of storage: It’s time. HFStival is returning to D.C., so ’90s you can, too — if you score tickets for the Sept. 21 festival at Nationals Park.

HFStival, launched by the alternative rock station WHFS in 1990, was Washington’s biggest concert of the year in the 1990s and early 2000s. Bands such as No Doubt, the Violent Femmes and the Ramones filled RFK Stadium with electric sounds and screaming fans.

By the mid-’90s, attendance was over 50,000, with tickets selling out in less than two hours. Now, I.M.P., the parent company of 9:30 Club, is bringing the nostalgia-laced bands of yore (the ’90s and 2000s) to Nationals Park. When it staged revived HFStivals at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2010 and 2011, it leaned heavily on ’90s-era lineups, and this year’s is no different.

Here’s who is coming to HFStival 2024:

  • The Postal Service.
  • Death Cab for Cutie.
  • Incubus.
  • Bush.
  • Garbage.
  • Jimmy Eat World.
  • Girl Talk.
  • Violent Femmes.
  • Tonic.
  • Filter.
  • Lit.

HFStival veterans will note that this is the first time that the festival has had a single stage since 1993 — after which it featured as many as four, including a dance tent — and the first time since 1990 that no local bands have featured on the announced lineup. (Was Jimmie’s Chicken Shack unavailable?)

In a statement to The Washington Post, Jen Hass, I.M.P.’s co-director of booking, said that “HFStival represents such a nostalgic moment in time for so many people. The fest was always known for leaning heavily into rock, … but then you’d see Coldplay or Jewel or Tony Bennett grace the lineup as well. … We wanted to bring together bands that were a part of the original HFStival, as well as ones that never got the chance to play but have gone on to build legacy careers — all for one day on one stage.”

As with last year’s initial lineup of concerts at the Atlantis, tickets will be sold through a lottery system in which hopeful headbangers will request tickets, enter their payment information (which will be charged only if their request is successful), and find out whether they are lucky enough to secure tickets.

Be prepared for sticker shock: Standing room in the pit in front of the stage costs $250 plus service charges. Reserved seats on the field or in the lower stands cost $250 plus fees; seats in the upper levels or the side of the stage are $150 plus fees. VIP tickets, which cost $475 each and must be requested in pairs, include complimentary draft beer and “ballpark fare,” plus access to exclusive areas, including VIP restrooms, air conditioning and the “Dugout Lounge,” located in the baseball dugouts, as well as a T-shirt and other swag. (For comparison, in 2004, the final year at RFK Stadium, tickets sold through Ticketmaster for $40 plus fees.)

Ticket requests must be submitted by June 16 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, with confirmation emails to be sent out on the evening of June 21.

Fritz Hahn contributed to this report.

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