Brandon McEachern and Marcus Allen, who grew up together in Greensboro, North Carolina, start a streetwear company in Los Angeles named after their hometown’s nickname, Broccoli City.
McEachern and Allen throw an LA concert to promote green issues (and their brand). “We learned about Earth Day,” says Allen, “and we’re like, ‘Why isn’t this translating to a more diverse crowd?’ ” A pre-fame Kendrick Lamar performs.
After doing several other LA events, the friends launch the Broccoli City Festival, which they decide to do in DC because of its visibility and diverse population. Big K.R.I.T. headlines at Half Street Fairgrounds, selling more than 5,000 tickets.
Having moved to Southeast’s Gateway DC in 2014, Broccoli books Solange for its 2017 fest. By that time, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and promoter Live Nation Urban are interested. “Jay-Z is my favorite rapper,” says Allen. “It’s crazy that we had to turn him down.”
The Live Nation Urban partnership helps Broccoli score big acts Migos, Miguel, and Cardi B and move to RFK Stadium’s grounds. The April 28 gig sells 30,000 tickets. “We just faked it till we maked it for the first couple years,” says Allen. “It’s ill.”
This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of Washingtonian.