From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.
The Sweetlife Festival, now come and gone, provides such a great concept. With many young people attracted to the headliners and festival scene, Sweetlife captured the opportunity to promote local food, healthier options and sustainable practices on a large scale, hopefully setting an example for the festival circuit to follow.
The day began with some ominous clouds and light showers in the morning, clearing to sunny skies in time for a fantastic, soulful performance from Solange. Perusing the Food Forest, fresh strawberries from the Freshfarm Markets, KIND bar and Honest Tea samples, photobooths and sweetgreen salads provided a bright, light lunchtime. Festive youths flocked to the food trucks (including district natives Takorean, Pepe and the Big Cheese) and camped out on the green while the weather held up.
From the inside of the Pavilion, Gary Clark Jr. stole the audience’s hearts with a mesmerizing set of rock and roll and blues. Despite the pouring rain, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs kept the audience engaged and cheering as lead singer Karen O provided quite the show in a sparkly yellow short suit and fierce, studded leather jacket.
The rain cleared in time for dinner — I chose an oyster pancake from Toki Underground, where the chefs teamed up with Woodberry Kitchen and utilized every part of the pig you can imagine (including roasted head on the menu). Fully fed and having danced to a song or two at Holy Ghost! at the Treehouse Stage, I waited in the mud for Phoenix to close out the day. A set with many ups and downs, lead singer Thomas Mars ended on a high note, crowd surfing and then breaking the mike to throw it out to one lucky member of the audience.
At no other music festival could one have so many choices — from the usual fare of fries and chicken sandwiches, to chia pods, vegetarian falafel and even oysters (not a wise choice for the faint of heart or enthusiastic imbiber, however). Though teens tend to flock to this festival, opting for the Pavilion or VIP ticket provided another option for an older crowd to get up close with musical artists as well, and at least stay dry for most of the day. All in all, another success for the innovators at sweetgreen.