Anyone who knows me, knows I love music. I love it a lot. Some may say, too much but who cares about them? As a lover of music, I've grown to love concerts too. Very few things rarely match or beat seeing an artist performing your favorite song by them, surrounded by strangers, your new temporary friends, who love them just as much as you do. So, when I got the chance to work for the Landmark Festival, I was elated. I got to support a great cause while seeing some of my favorite artists for free.
What is Landmark Festival? Landmark Festival is a music event brought to the District by C3. They also host Lollapalooza and other festivals all over the country. Landmark was all about raising awareness on preserving the landmarks in D.C. As someone who has grown up a 25 minutes drive from D.C., these landmarks mean something to me, if nothing more than for nostalgic reasons.
Bringing in their inaugural event this past weekend, with the Washington Monument as its backdrop, Landmark has shaped into something that may have potential, but potential for what?
Let's take a look at what they did right and what they can improve on:
Cleanliness. Can I take a moment to congratulate Landmark for being the cleanest festival...no, cleanest music event, I have EVER been to? It was incredible. Ignore the fact that I worked with the Rock & Recycle group, but dude, that shit was clean. Nearly spotless. Here's the deal: people would come to the tent and get a green trash bag that they were to fill with only recyclables (cans, bottles, plastic cups) and when it was full, they could bring it back for a free shirt. Couple the fact that the bags were huge and people love free shit, whoa buddy. S P O T L E S S. Made in America had a similar program but their bags were small and that place was still a shit show the entire time. So kudos to Landmark.
Artist selection left more to be desired. Let me tell you right now, I love all genres of music. I will jam out to a huge range, from country to classical to metal core to indie rock. I'm all for it. HOWEVER, my heart and soul is tied to hip hop...so, when there are only 3 hip hop acts in a group of over 40 artists, my hip hop heart was not hopping with the hip (I'm sorry, that was a really bad joke). I completely understand and applaud the diversity of acts (I mean Wale and Dr. John and the Nite Trippers on one lineup???) but it left a certain demographic alienated. Add the fact that the two bigger names of the hip hop selection, Wale and Drake, were on one day, it kind of leaves the people of this demographic to only come one day. Most of the acts felt catered to another certain demographic when a festival of this caliber should encompass multiple, which brings me to my next point...
There were people from every age group here. From strollers to canes and hearing aids, the age gap was huge. Now, this is something different from the drug-filled, drunken, ragefest that most festivals are like, and a part of me missed that feel, but this could shape up to be a nice family event. The National Mall is already the destination of families and tourists from all over the world, so having an atmosphere that promotes this family-friendliness was cool to see. Sometimes, you miss a little weed smoke though. Damn you, federal property.
Lines. I am accustomed to lines as an avid concert goer but, this shit was ridiculous. Food lines = long. Bathroom lines = long. Bar lines = long. Line lines = long. THE LINES WERE LONG. Hordes of people standing in line for hours only to find out they ran out of beer or that the food was sold out is insane. It shouldn't happen, especially from a company that only hosts festivals. Even though they made some adjustments, like adding more portable toilets and increasing bar stations, the food man, THE FOOD. You need multiple stations for food. You're already making people pay $8 for a small sandwich, you could at least make the experience bearable.
It was D.C. as shit. Corporate, gentrified D.C., but D.C. as fuck. Bringing on acts known to be from the DMV area like Ace Cosgrove and Wale (Why was Wale was blabbing about a Walepalooza during his set? *rolls eyes*) and showcasing food from D.C. restaurants shows the emphasis Landmark had on confirming it wants to be a D.C. staple. Partnering up with Events D.C. and soliciting the help of D.C. chef, Chef Jose Andres, to curate the food stations (crab cake sandwich from Old Ebbitt Grill was like Maryland sex in my mouth) Landmark strove to paint itself as something the District would want to have come back.
Obviously, this festival has a lot of kinks to work out but the potential for something great is definitely there. I will definitely be coming back next year because this could become something awesome.
Plus Drake was there....helloooooo?
Also, I have no clue what Maryland sex is. Maybe it has to do with sprinkling Old Bay on.... you know what? Never mind.