I was disappointed when I finally left the Half Street Fairgrounds in Southeast D.C. on Saturday night. Not because the highly-anticipated Trillectro sequel had fallen short of its lofty expectations, but because it was over. Like thousands of other people, I had been impatiently waiting for its return since the follow-up to last year's groundbreaking event was announced in February. After headliner DJ Carnage's party of a closing set wrapped, the droves of attendees exited the venue, returning to their regular lives. It was like those last few hours of Christmas Day when it finally hits you that the magic is over.
However, as I stared at the mass of people that had congregated in the streets and the police who weren't pressed to clear the area, I fully grasped the magnitude of Trillectro's success and what it means for the District of Columbia. This was a game changer.
From the White House Correspondent's Dinner, to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and Howard University's Homecoming, D.C. is well-known for events that attract people from all over the country annually. This weekend, Trillectro took a confident leap towards joining that league.
An 80 degree day with zero humidity is pretty much unheard of for August in D.C., but it made for perfect festival weather. That alone made Trillectro 2.0 exceptional, but its true triumph was its ability to provide something for everyone. By crafting a lineup consisting of hip-hop and EDM artists, the DC to BC team created a near anomaly for the area: An event appealing to two audiences that blessed the crowd with two stages simultaneously playing music. There were some people who only attended for the hip-hop acts; they were satisfied. Others were there for the sole purpose of feeling the non-stop pulse of EDM; they were also taken care of. Anyone with an affinity for both genres got the best of both worlds.
The organizers deserve credit for expanding on what worked last year and making necessary tweaks. For example, the Karmaloop stage replaced last year's Redbull Music Academy truck, giving the festival a legitimate second stage. The vendors, the sponsors, and even the improved signage all speak to the festival's evolution. From sponsors to volunteers, more people expressed interest in getting involved this time around. And, with more eyes on the event, the stakes were higher.
Roughly 4,000 people attended Trillectro last year, so a bigger crowd was expected in the wake of its acclaim. Twitter was buzzing all week long with people announcing plans to travel to D.C.; media and music fans alike came from far and wide for the experience. Furthermore, respected local philanthropist Tony Lewis, Jr., Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, Mayor Vincent Gray and viral sensation Terio were all in attendance. From the White House Correspondent's Dinner, to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and Howard University's Homecoming, D.C. is well-known for events that attract people from all over the country annually. This weekend, Trillectro took a confident leap towards joining that league.
Y'all meet me back stage at @trillectro— TerRio (@OfficialTerRio) August 18, 2013
Though the lineup included national acts like A$AP Ferg, Salva, DJ Sliink and Travi$ Scott, one of the festival's foremost goals is promoting local talent. Misun, Shy Glizzy, Alex Young and Phil Ade all performed earlier in the day, and California native Casey Veggies brought singer Raheem Devaughn out during his set for a moment of bicoastal musical unity. Fat Trel, rumored to have signed with MMG and Roc Nation, exploded onto the stage for a brief performance of "Respect With The Tech." It was a perfectly timed promo for the burly rapper, who dropped his SDMG mixtape yesterday. Then, as the sun set, Wale took the stage in his hometown for the first time since his third album, The Gifted, topped the Billboard 200 in July.