"So, people who have jobs dress like this on weekends?"
It was this condescending, yet genuinely honest question from a rather conservative friend about the various styles on display that summed up the eclectic audience of yesterday's Broccoli City Festival. Founded in 2008, organic lifestyle brand Broccoli City organized the event as an extension of their mission to relay the messages of sustainability and healthy living to communities who may lack the knowledge or access to it. That message rang loud and clear through the Fairgrounds in D.C. yesterday afternoon.
The Fairgrounds are becoming familiar territory for festivals that draw diverse crowds due to diverse musical lineups and a variety of activities. Last summer, it was the site of the first annual Trillectro festival. This year, it became home to the biggest urban Earth Day celebration ever, drawing a crowd of over 3,000; a melting pot of people, each of whom left slightly altered by the experience. That's precisely what the Broccoli City team hoped for.
The organizers agreed that the best way to promote the "green" lifestyle was to share it through mediums that their target audience can easily digest. This meant assembling a versatile list of performers including Big K.R.I.T, JMSN and local DJ and producer Tittsworth to accompany other local acts such as Phil Adé, Kingpen Slim, Locke Kaushal, Black Alley, Misun and Dale and the ZDubs. All bases were covered.
Aside from live music, there were yoga lessons, art displays and a plethora of vendors selling everything from clothing to jewelry. One particular vendor experienced the ultimate come up, as people flocked to his collection of vintage hoodies, crewnecks and jackets when the temperature began to drop. At the opposite end of the space, far away from the stage, was a collection of food trucks peddling delicious sustenance.
Rock Creek Social Club and Va$htie (one of our 50 most desirable bachelorettes) were tapped as hosts for the event. Rock Creek's wonderfully-animated Kevin "Unkle Scooty" Hallums kept the crowd loose with non-stop banter while DJs Jerome Baker lll and Spinser Tracy filled the space between acts with smart musical selections. Kanye's "Champion" is always the appropriate soundtrack for a sunny spring afternoon. Va$htie's first trip to D.C. was a memorable one, as she was welcomed by a crowd spellbound by her relaxed nature and beauty.
There were plenty of amazing musical moments from the day. An early one came from Dale and the ZDubs, who launched into a delightful cover of Wiz and Snoop's "Young, Wild & Free," gaining the immediate approval of the crowd and rapper Kingpen Slim. Phil Adé received an unexpected introduction from D.C. mayor Vincent Gray, whose appearance caught folks off-guard the same way his Shaft-esque leather jacket did.
By the time headliner Big K.R.I.T's set rolled around, the crowd had packed the main stage area, eager for the Mississippi rapper to perform tracks ranging from Kritz Wuz Here to his most recent mixtape, King Remembered In Time. A tenacious live performer who feeds off the crowd's energy, K.R.I.T delivered as usual, performing everything from "Hometown Hero" to his portion of the Future-assisted "Just Last Week," which he teased fans with on his latest release.
The turnout wasn't the only reason the event was a success. It proved that Broccoli City could mobilize people from all walks of life for the sake of either learning about or continuing to sing the gospel of clean, healthy living. Still, there was a larger revelation at hand—it showed that D.C. can't be characterized by one type of person. The dudes who donned leather smocks, the 53 girls dressed like Rihanna and the people whose exposure to the city's culture doesn't extend beyond their commute to and from work can all gather at one location for one reason—that's something to be proud of.
Yesterday's festivities were a definitive statement about D.C.'s evolution, and Broccoli City deserves praise for helping to highlight it.
Written by Julian Kimble (@JRK316)