Despite the overcast weather and eventual downpour, DC sustainable restaurant Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Food and Music Festival filled the Merriweather Post Pavilion’s main stage tent as thousands more looked on from the expansive lawn area Saturday, April 28th. Boasting a diverse and exciting line-up as well as a variety of eco-conscious food options, it’s no wonder that the festival was packed–even with the rain forcing many who weren’t lucky enough to make it into the tent to don ponchos and open up umbrellas.
The night’s last three headlining acts to take the main stage all had standout performances that made watching in the rain for any amount of time worth it. Before indie rockers The Shins even came close to taking the stage, the main stage area was already completely packed and blocked off from all sides. Many fans continued to wait outside the barrier in a giant sea of people, each determined to stay until more people could be let inside. As The Shins took the stage and got the crowd excited with “Kissing The Lipless” from the band’s 2003 album Chutes Too Narrow, many fans continued to look on from outside the barrier. With few words in between songs from frontman James Mercer, the set list jumped from the group’s most recent single, “Simple Song,” to Garden State soundtrack favorites “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang” originally off the group’s debut, and finishing the set strong with crowd favorite “Sleeping Lessons” from 2007’s Wincing The Night Away.
After The Shins performance warmed the crowd up, Kid Cudi took the stage by storm and put on what was arguably the best set of the festival. Performing a wide variety of songs from throughout his career thus far, Cudi had everyone singing along at one point or another during his high energy setlist. The crowd echoed Cudi’s every word during popular songs like “Solo Dolo (Nightmare),” “Up Up & Away,” and “CuDi Zone,” from his debut album Man On The Moon: The End Of Day, but the tent was full of many devoted fans chanting Kid Cudi’s entire set list. More recent songs like “Ghost!” and “Erase Me” also had the crowd singing along, and noticing the response, Cudi continuously reiterated appreciation for his fans. Ending on a high note, Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness,” could have been heard for miles around the Columbia, MD venue.
Closing out a fantastic festival, Swedish DJ Avicii came out to a sea of giant flickering glow sticks, pumping out an almost non-stop onslaught of dance beats and several crowd-friendly remixes from behind a huge LED-lit platform. Remixing the Eurythmics’ hit “Sweet Dreams” as well as the Red Hot Chili Pepper‘s “Otherside,” Avicii had the jam-packed crowd shouting along and jumping to the beat. Along with his remixes, Avicii made sure to include his hit “Seek Bromance,” as well as his most popular track “Levels.” Mixed with a little bit of Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Avicii’s “Levels” had the massive audience going wild with their hands in the air as smoke burst out of the sides of his platform several times.
An eclectic line-up of musicians that each brought a lot of energy to the stage made the few showers a small price to pay during the Sweetlife Festival’s third year, with the audience reaching far back into the lawn area and with many staying until the very last note was heard. Festival photos courtesy of ATG resident photographer, Laura Lopez.
STREAM: Avicii – “Levels (Cazzette NYC Mode Radio Edit)”
STREAM: Kid Cudi – “Dose Of Dopeness”