“Mud” likely seems an unpleasant fit with “music” and “food,” but all three came together in the best possible way to make this year’s Sweetlife, the music and food festival hosted by local salad purveyors Sweetgreen on Saturday, May 11 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, an unforgettable blast.
Throughout the day, foreboding clouds appeared on the horizon, warning festival-goers to grab their ponchos in preparation for the intermittent torrential downpours to come. Merriweather’s lawn, where a majority of Sweetlife attendees spent the day watching big-name acts such as Solange, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kendrick Lamar, Passion Pit, and Phoenix on the Pavilion Stage, eventually turned into a giant mud pit, causing people to wipe out and become covered in mud as they moved from one area to another.
Despite the rain and mud, music and food lovers reveled in all the sweet tunes and savory dishes Sweetlife had to offer. The food and drink vendors, including Toki Underground, Dolcezza, and DC Brau, were integral to keeping festival-goers nourished and hydrated as they bounced from the Pavilion Stage to the Treehouse Stage to enjoy sets from Sweetlife’s stellar, jam-packed lineup.
While the aforementioned headliners rocked the Pavilion Stage, the smaller, shadier Treehouse Stage featured a handful of up-and-coming artists, including DC’s own Shark Week and MS MR from New York City.
Indie rockers Shark Week kicked-off the festival with a twenty-minute, energetic set, highlighting songs from their debut and forthcoming EPs. Although their time slot was brief, Shark Week proved they are worthy of the buzz they have generated on the heels of their performances at SXSW. Surely, their prime slot at Sweetlife, which drew a sizable crowd of festival-goers eager to kick-off a fun-filled day, will only further bolster their standing in the local and national music scenes.
Later in the day, MS MR, who have been compared to the likes of Florence and the Machine, took the Treehouse Stage by storm, delivering their infectious pop tunes. The crowd could not help but dance along to singles “Hurricane” and “Fantasy” from the group’s debut EP Candy Bar Creep Show. Front-woman Lizzy Plapinger’s gratitude for fans’ sing-a-longs and screams shined through the balmy weather as she beamed with each song’s finish, indicating that she was truly humbled and flabbergasted by the feedback she and her band were receiving.
The rain and mud may have put a damper on spirits, but Sweetlife’s organizers did a great job of assembling a star- and indie-studded lineup as well as catering a slew of good eats and treats. As Sweetlife expands into its fifth year, hopefully the Treehouse Stage will continue to feature up-and-coming indie artists alongside the big-timers performing on the Pavilion Stage.