Sweetlife Festival Recap by Gabby

Ra Ra Riot

The following was written by PoPville reader, Gabby who won the tickets to the festival.

Sweetlife Festival 2011 was an excellent fusion of cross-genre musical performances, fresh food, and great people! As I made my way through DC to meet up with my oh so lucky concert going guest du jour at his house on U street, I saw the sidewalks filled with groups lugging coolers and sporting their finest music fest worthy threads towards the different shuttle pick up locations throughout NW. Note to self for next year, sign up for the party buses!

As this was my first time at the Merriweather Post Pavillion, I was pleasantly surprised by easy layout of the venue tucked away in a beautifully green space in Maryland. We made some stops at the various tailgates going on in the parking lot before making our way towards the stage. Without hesitation I made a bee-line to the pit for one of the acts I was most excited for, Theophilus London!

Continues after the jump.

Theophilus London

Do yourself a favor and give him a youtube search. An up and coming artist from NYC, his performance was full of energy and his unique sound is just begging to be put on your summer ipod rotation. The acts that followed, Ra Ra Riot, Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles- all did not disappoint! Between enjoying the bands I wandered around the field and snacked on some of the fest fare. Perfectly paired with an ice cold beer the options included barbeque, wraps, burgers, boardwalk fries, sweetgreen salads, and my personal favorite – the Burrito Bar! After refueling, sweetlifers could make their way towards the mural wall that was open to all to leave their mark. This area also lent itself to an excellent face painting opportunity! A big thank you to the new friend I made that agreed to paint me – I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a swirl design just like hers.

You will also see from the photos that we did have some rain throughout the afternoon. Surprisingly this didn’t seem to faze the crowd very much at all! The smart ones came prepared with ponchos and umbrellas, where as I opted for the impromptu reusable grocery bag as my hat of choice. By the time Lupe Fiasco hit the stage, the rain had subsided and I planted myself on the lawn for the remaining three headliners. Hands down Lupe Fiasco was my favorite performance of the day. A great mix of old and new songs that are undeniably catchy and fun to sing along to was a great segway into what I would say ended up being the crowd favorite – Girl Talk. Biggest dance party I’ve ever been a part of, it was a blast! I then committed the biggest concert-going faux pas I possibly could, I left before The Strokes took the stage to close down the night. At the mercy of my driver’s plans I bid farewell to the Sweetlife Festival, I can’t wait to see what the line up will be next year!

6 Comment

  • Why isn’t this sort of festival event ever held at someplace like RFK Stadium? Columbia Maryland is a VERY long bike ride from Bloomingdale.

  • not to be a buzzkillington (and glad Gabby had fun) but from my perspective, this thing was a horribly run mess. tons of empty seats inside the pavilion at any given time because security wouldn’t let you back in after you left pee or buy concessions (that is before the food ran out. yes. they ran out of food at an event hosted by a food company.) honestly, the best part of the experience was leaving at 6:30 pm and beating traffic out of there. maybe i’m just getting too old for these kinds of things, but IMHO sweetgreen should really stick to salads, or at least figure out how to handle crowds before attempting to run an event of this scale.

    • I’ll piggyback on Kate’s comment. This was an unfortunate occurrence that impacted a lot of folks’ ability to enjoy the show. Having secured pavilion seats at roughly 12:30, I was extremely disappointed at having to stand in a security-scrum for 2 hours to get back to my seat when I left to use the restroom. Because of this lack of planning, I (and hundreds of others) spent the entirety of Crystal Castles and half of Lupe Fiasco getting barked at by a security. I was told this was ‘the risk you take when you get a GA ticket’…

      When we had to go to the restroom again prior to the Strokes’ set, we had no choice but to grab our gear and head out, knowing we would never be able to get back to our seats.

      I think Sweetgreen should be aware of the situation – but it was really the Merriweather staff who mismanaged things here.

      Other than that cluster**** though, I did have an awesome time.

      One additional note – the shuttle system was incredibly efficient and well run.

  • Loving the sombrero girl!

  • Agreed, it was probably one of the worst run music events I’ve ever seen as far as the crowd issue went. Not to mention, I think I finally realized how old I am. Regardless the music was solid and the venue itself is great

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