If I’m being honest, 10 times out of 10 I’d rather be in my house on my couch. Call me a fuddy-duddy or call me 30. However, as someone who enjoys being gainfully employed, when my editor told me to cover Broccoli City Festival in Washington, D.C., I threw on some sweats and mozied on down to our nation’s capital preparing myself for crowds, drunk attendees and folks who were most likely going to be too turnt by noon, only to have experienced the complete opposite.
Broccoli City Festival is the antithesis to all that can suck about festivals. Attendees were welcoming, jovial and warm, which was sorely needed since the 50 degree temps made it feel like November (which is great for November and a major buzz kill at the end of April). There was more to do than simply wait around for Future’s set to begin. Friendships were made, art installations happened in real time, local venders sold clothing, scarves and jewelry, which will no doubt merit you a “Where’d you get that?” from a stranger on the street. Romances blossomed, selfies were taken and the proverbial “Get it boo!”—which is the national slogan used when the beat drops and the body moves to the rhythm—were all abundant at Broccoli City.
As VIBE‘s resident homebody, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. Check out seven other reasons why you need to add Broccoli City Festival to your festival season line up.
1. It’s unapologetically black.
Centered in the heart of southeast D.C., Broccoli City Festival brings out all of Washington’s beautiful black and brown humans who only have one mission: to take in the good music, eat tasty festival food and emit positive vibes. While fans patiently waited for the Trap’s Godfather of Music, Future to grace the stage, the diversity within the African-American community was breathtaking to be a part of and witness. Women with long hair, short hair, natural hair, dreadlocked hair and braided hair galavanted with preppy men, skinny-jeans wearing men, men who looked as though they just stepped out of a GQ magazine and men who were simply happy to be there. All were welcome, all were appreciated and it was all love.
2. It’s a lowkey HBCU reunion.
Hampton University graduates, Morehouse men, the beautiful women of Spelman College and of course, Howard University alum and students were all in attendance at Broccoli City Festival. You couldn’t go 10 feet without seeing a familiar face, a friend who gave you the notes that helped you pass your midterm, or the one homegirl who sold you last semester’s book for a third of the price online. Beaucoup hugs, lots of “How you been, girl?” and selfies for the ‘gram were plentiful. Old friends caught up on the latest, while new friendships kicked off right then and there.
3. The local acts were just as good as those on the main stage.
BJ The Chicago Kid brought the soul (and desperately needed sun) during his set. Anderson .Paak’s excitement could be felt whether you were in the front row or way way back, and Nayvadius did what Nayvadius has been known to do to a crowd. However, D.C’s local talent were no slouches either. They showed up, showed out, and gave those gathered at the “One Love Massive” stage who may have been unfamiliar with D.C. culture and music, brief insight. The small grassy area also gave attendees permission to lose their cool for a bit and let loose. Go-Go music, which is as much a part of D.C. as the White House, ignited the crowd who weren’t solely about the big names on the festival line up.
4. The message behind Broccoli City Festival is dope.
Between checking your Instagram to see who’s been lurking, your DMs to see who slid in, and getting your Snaps off, life in 2016 is distracting and oftentimes leaves no room for a nutritious lifestyle. While the musical line up was great, the entire purpose of Broccoli City Festival is to promote and encourage urban millennials on the importance of healthy eating and environmental sustainability. You literally can’t get any better than that.
5. The festival gives you an excuse to go to the Nation’s Capital.
If you too often worry about what your balance will be after your pending transactions clear, then maybe traveling to extravagant places right now isn’t the best idea. No worries, D.C. is just down the block and gives you that get-away feeling you may need. Yes, D.C. is the Nation’s Capital, where Obama lives and has a lot of monuments, but beneath the surface, Washington, D.C. is small city with big personality that’s waiting to be explored. After you take in all that Broccoli City Festival has to offer, stay and chill for a while. I guarantee you’ll have a great time.
6. Broccoli City Festival isn’t as overly saturated as other festivals.
We’re not naming any names, but there are other festivals that after you purchase your expensive ticket, you have to deal with pushing, and sometimes a not-so gentle shove. That isn’t the case at Broccoli City. This isn’t to say the four-year-old festival isn’t packed with attendees. On the contrary, those who know about Broccoli City can attest to the good vibes and fun that’s had. However, all the not-so cool stuff that comes with festivals—super long lines, gross porta-potties and belligerent drunk attendees—are all absent from Broccoli City, leaving ample room to enjoy the day, enjoy the music and enjoy each other.
7. There’s More To Experience Than Just The Music
If for whatever reason you’re not a fan of Future (which isn’t something we suggest you use as an ice breaker) there’s a lot more to do than check out the music. Local artists are on hand creating amazing pieces. For those not interested in tattoos but may want to entertain a Henna, you can try that as well. Awesome T-shirts and unique pieces of jewelry are all for sale along with a a host of other activities to keep you occupied all day. Broccoli City Festival, although still very new, isn’t trying to compete with other festivals and in doing so, creates an environment that’s solely for the festival attendee looking to simply have a damn good time, sans the foolery.