The Barns at Wolf Trap is a popular night spot for DC area music lovers. At 382 seats, it allows audiences to experience top-notch artists in an intimate setting.
The venue is owned and operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation, which is committed to creating an artistic lineup as diverse and discerning as the audiences that attend year round.
You’ll find more than 80 performances annually between October and May, everything from jazz greats to chamber musicians to legendary folk singers.
During the summer months, The Barns is home to Wolf Trap Opera.
Is it really a barn?
Yes. Actually, it’s 2 adjacent 18th century barns refurbished and refined with superb acoustics and amenities.
The Barns were donated in 1981 by Wolf Trap founder Catherine Filene Shouse.
Mrs. Shouse had attended a concert in Maine held in a traditional barn and was charmed by the informal and acoustically unique setting. She wanted to replicate that experience at Wolf Trap.
Creating The Barns experience
Mrs. Shouse commissioned Richard W. Babcock of Hancock, Massachusetts, a master craftsman and barns historian, to identify 2 barns for relocation to Virginia. Babcock found the barns in upstate New York and restored and rebuilt them on their present site.
One barn for theatre
Built around 1730, the German barn features a large “swing beam,” which reflects the original function: supporting the hayloft above, while below, enabling a team of horses to be turned around into their stalls without obstruction.
That design now makes for a perfect theatre, seating 284 on the threshing floor and another 98 in the hayloft.
One barn for gathering
The English barn, actually of Scottish design, was built about 1791 and is smaller in size than the German barn.
It serves as a lovely reception and gathering area, offering patrons cocktails and light snacks before the performance.
For those interested in craftsmanship
Babcock used the 18th century "block and tackle" method of construction—gin poles, ropes, and manpower.
Both barns are made of hand-hewn beams and posts, and the exterior walls have been reversed to show more than 200 years of patina.