The Sweetlife Festival, celebrating its fifth year in the D.C. metropolitan area, brought an estimated 20,000 attendees to the Merriweather Post Pavilion for three stages of bands and several lots of food and beer. Presented by D.C. salad shop Sweetgreen, the festival stretched for about 11 hours, 20 musical acts and perhaps a combined 80 food vendors and retail stores on Saturday, May 10.
While the festival had a few repeat acts this year, I personally found the lineup a lot more to my musical tastes than last year’s festival.
I arrived in time to catch some of St. Lucia, the Brooklyn dreampop outfit headed by producer Jean-Philip Grobler. Dressed in Hawaiian shirts, Grobler and company gave a performance as bright as their clothing, showcasing songs from the band’s debut album, When the Night. I managed to catch St. Lucia’s best song, the new wave jam “Elevate,” a feel-good confidence booster of a song that certainly complemented the pleasant weather and beachware found at the Sweetlife Festival’s Treehouse Stage early in the day.
A short trip to the mainstage revealed one of the significant perks of being a Sweetlife VIP—free salads from Sweetgreen were available near the VIP bar to stage right. Friends and I took the opportunity to relax and check out some vendors before I hopped over the main stage to catch a bit of Bastille, the London synthpop quartet best known for their hit “Pompeii” from their debut album last year, Bad Blood. I caught an fun performance of the very wave “Of the Night,” a mash up of 1990s European dance hits “The Rhythm of the Night” by Italian group Corona and “Rhythm Is a Dancer” by German group Snap!. Bastille and singer Dan Smith brought a charm and energy all their own to the performance, however, and I made a mental note to look into their upcoming performance at the Patriot Center on Saturday, Oct. 11.