Kris Northern

The Literal Underground


Built in 1905, McMillian Park features 20 individual sand filled cisterns, each an acre large, which used sand rather than chemicals to filter Washington DCs water supply until 1986 when it was decommissioned in favor of a faster sand filtration system right up the street. This filtration process was a milestone that, according to the Army Corp of Engineers, lead to the elimination of typhoid epidemics and the reduction of many other communicable diseases in the city. McMillian is currently in the middle of a highly contested battle over development. I was invited to join in a protest against said development. Twice. We snuck in via a convenient hole in the fence and trudged though the snow with a fully mobile soundsystem, nicknamed "the Ark of the Covenant", as this particular protest/birthday celebration was being called "Raiders of the Lost Park". Once inside we fully appreciated the amazing acoustics provided by the Gothic arched ceilings and the sand dancefloor. We have a recording of the second set of this which for the time being can be downloaded via this link This second set starts off with 30 minutes of avante garde ambient sound design based around water and proceeds to turn into a dance party because you can only chill out so much when its 20 degrees outside. Check out the photos below for more details on this amazing space and evening.Please visit and support Friends of McMillian park to help support preserving this beautiful civic space.
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