Things to Do

6 Takeaways From the 2014 Sweetlife Festival (Photos)

The Treehouse Stage, body paint, and food trucks dominated Sweetgreen’s annual music and food festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Chromeo performing at Sweetlife 2014. Photograph by Paul Spella.

The fourth annual festival put on by Sweetgreen on Saturday brought its usual spate of lively music acts and tasty food offerings. Here are a few highlights.

The Treehouse Stage brought the party
While headliners Lana Del Rey and Foster the People drew the largest crowds of the day to Merriweather’s main stage, the Treehouse acts definitely brought the rowdiest. At times during 2 Chainz’s performance, the audience drove the show, singing along to every word while the rapper watched from the stage. St. Lucia’s upbeat indie-electronic tunes paired with matching floral outfits were a refreshing addition to a warm, damp afternoon, and we loved watching Capital Cities’ trumpet player, Spencer Ludwig. The best dance party of the day award goes to electrofunk duo Chromeo, who kept festival attendees who forwent Del Rey’s more mellow performance, happening at the same time, on their feet. (Bonus points to ASTR, whom we saw dancing and singing along to Chromeo in the audience.) That’s not to say the crowd wasn’t involved over at the main stage: Lana Del Rey posed for selfies with front-row fans, and Bastille’s Dan Smith donned a hoodie and ventured into the crowd (who then followed him up near the lawn seats) during the band’s performance.

Food trucks reigned supreme
One of the best parts about Sweetlife in the past has been the many food options available, and this year was no exception. Local favorites including DGS Delicatessen, Rappahannock Oyster Co., Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, and Roofers Union served up their specialties to festival guests. We spotted the longest lines of the day at the Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken truck, which served strawberry and crème brûlée doughnuts and a fried-chicken BLT that looked too good to be true. Pho Wheels, TaKorean, Big Cheese, and DC Empanadas were also part of the food-truck fleet. Just like last year, we only saw a few people actually eating Sweetgreen salads, although serving the salads in cups this year was a smart choice.

Someone is always watching you . . . probably
Sweetlife attendees, take note: Whatever you did Saturday is most likely on video. A drone flew overhead throughout the day taking shots of the crowd, who loved every minute of it. We have no idea where the footage went, but we’d love to see the view from above the smoke-covered audience during 2 Chainz’s performance.

You can’t go wrong with a good cover song
Fitz and the Tantrums’ version of “Sweet Dreams” got the audience on their feet, and ASTR’s performance of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was a welcome and unexpectedly emotional addition to their set. Our favorite cover of the day, though, was Bastille’s “Rhythm of the Night,” which reminded us why we still love the ’90s so much.

People love body paint
As expected, festival attendees spent a good portion of the day covering themselves in body paint, with designs that ranged from hearts and stars to words such as “blessed” written across people’s chests. An oversize Twister game, yoga classes (watching people do yoga in NBA jerseys and floral headdresses was a first for us), and live painting by District-based artist Kelly Towles were just a few of the other activities available between sets.

Jorts aren’t going anywhere
We spotted the festival staple on everyone from dads supervising their teens to headliner Lana Del Rey. With so many different versions these days (we were most impressed by an unlikely lace/fringe combo), it looks like they’re here to stay.