St. Lucia’s sunny clothes reflected their upbeat music. (Photo courtesy Sweetlife Festival.)
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.
Phoenix headlined the festival (Photo courtesy Sweetlife Festival)
The Sweetlife Festival very much fulfilled the promise implied by its name Saturday, May 11, delivering la dolce vita in a well organized celebration of music and food at the Merriweather Post Pavilion.
I’m not traditionally the biggest fan of going to concerts at the DC-area outdoor pavilions — much less festivals after the chaos that accompanies the Virgin FreeFest annually at Merriweather. But Sweetlife made excellent use of the place, offering a mainstage, a “treehouse stage,” and a dance floor in the small 9:30 Clubhouse (officially, the 9:32 Club) on the grounds — all of which dissolved into an energetic performance by headliner Phoenix at the end of the night.
Food vendors, trucks and restaurants set themselves up in neat rows in various portions of the grounds and concertgoers queued up to patronize them around the clock. My companion and I parked and shuffled into the pavilion without difficulty and make our way toward lunch, pausing to check out Solange Knowles, performing an early set on the main stage. To our surprise, she struck up a cover of “I Could Fall in Love” by late Tejano singer Selena. While we didn’t really hang around to check her out, her soulful voice was crowdpleasing and the main stage attracted a sizable gathering for the time.
Sweetgreen is a locally established restaurant chain that was founded in 2007 by three former Georgetown students, Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru. In four short years, they have spread their environmentally conscious and healthy living message through the DMV area as well as into Pennsylvania. With a focus on sourcing locally grown and organic foods, Sweetgreen also provides a casual and relaxed dining experience. The three founders believe in leaving a the smallest carbon footprint possible and providing their customers with healthy food choices.
They also believe in throwing a kick ass music festival every year.
This weekend the second annual Sweetlife Music Festival, put on by Georgetown’s eco-friendly health-food restaurant Sweetgreen, takes place at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Everything about this year’s festival is bigger than the last one, from the venue to the line-up topped by The Strokes, one of the biggest bands around. Considering the mania surrounding the initial announcement of this great day of music, I was shocked to discover that there are still plenty of general admission tickets available just two days before the festivities are set to begin.
With Lupe Fiasco, Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles, and Girl Talk you’ve got four acts that can easily sell-out the 9:30 Club every time they roll through town. Ra Ra Riot and Theophilus London have the rising stars angle locked down. Walk The Moon, Modern Man, and US Royalty warm the whole thing up with some “if you haven’t heard them yet, you’ll always remember this for being the first time you saw them”-vibes. Bonus points for Modern Man and US Royalty representing the DC-hometown spirit. And closing out the whole shebang is The Strokes; bonafide international festival headliners throwing their weight behind this upstart festival that is going to give Virgin FreeFest 2011 a run for the money.
What are DC music fans waiting for? Jump on this awesome day of music!
@ Merriweather Post Pavilion
5/1/11 – 12pm $55
Check this out DC. The second annual Sweetlife Festival is happening at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sunday, May 1st. It boasts a line-up that is “sweet life” personified in the form of the following bands:
The Strokes • Girl Talk • Lupe Fiasco • Crystal Castles • Cold War Kids • Ra Ra Riot • Walk the Moon • U.S. Royalty • Modern Man
This festival and its mega-watt line-up is a far-cry from seeing Hot Chip in a tent in Dupont Circle like we did at last year’s. A festival of this size with a line-up this impressive is a major booking coup for Sweetgreen and to celebrate their victory they have given We Love DC a pair of lawn tickets to give away for this week’s ticket raffle!
Tickets for Sweetlife Fest are $55 and go on sale on Friday, March 18th at Noon through Ticketfly. But you have a chance here to win a pair of tix from us before they go on sale! Winning these will make you just about the coolest music fan in the greater DC area for at least a whole day!
The Strokes!!!! Girl Talk!!!! Lupe Fiasco!!!! Crystal Castles!!!! Ahhhh!!!!
For your chance to win these tickets simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 9am and 4pm today. One entry per email address, please. If today doesn’t turn out to be your lucky day, check back here each Wednesday for a chance to win tickets to other great concerts. Tickets for this concert are available on Ticketfly.