Sweetlife proves there’s more to festivals than just music!
This festival started out about the music for me….but it ended up being very different!
May 10th started off rather sunny, with excitement and energy in the air. The music lineup was excellent, Bastille, Capital Cities, Fitz and the Tantrums. But as the clock struck twelve and gates opened, I realized that Sweetlife was more than just music- Sweetlife was about having fun, making friends, and trying new things.
I started my day out on the Merriweather lawn, listening to Nicky Blitz. His energetic music became a sort of soundtrack as I wandered through the grounds. I stopped by a giant game of Twister, watched as a trio of poets wrote haikus on typewriters, and even made a few friends along the way. We danced along to Bastille before I split to take pictures of Capital Cities. That’s when I paused to look at the crowd instead of the performers. There were couples swing dancing and slow dancing, friends holding hands and screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs. That’s when I realized that it’s not necessarily who you go to see, but who you take with you. As I surveyed the crowd, I decided to make friends with everyone. I turned to the guy next to me and introduced myself. He turned out to be a bassist for Spirit Animal, and we discussed doppelgangers and bassists before we parted ways.
While I walked away, the singer for Spirit Animal appeared and wanted me to take a picture of him, So here it is ——>
After getting the most delicious ramen in the world from Toki Underground, I went back to the tent to figure out what to do next. Sweetlife had so many interesting and unique opportunities, it was impossible to ever be bored! From yoga in the forest to creating your own salad, Sweetlife had anything you could ever want to do at a festival. It was there that I met Case Colina, tour manager for the rising stars ASTR. We talked about life as a tour manager, and our goals and ambitions.
I wandered between food trucks and food tents and came across a booth with a stack of hay bales and a chalkboard. In the spirit of the festival, I wrote down what matters to me, and (plot twist) they took a picture of it! Next up was Fitz and the Tantrums on the main stage. I gathered my new friends and we went to see them play. They were great! With the storm starting, we chose to go hide under a tent and play Cards Against Humanity until it stopped. Fitz closed with my favorite song, The Walker, so we all had a spontaneous dance party.
2 Chainz was on next, so we stayed in the tent. The exhaustion was starting to set in. Suddenly, we saw a strange phenomenon. Droves of flower children were running from the forest towards the main stage. Baffled, everyone ruffled through schedules, trying to figure this out. We realized that Lana Del Rey was about to take the stage. One of the girls I had befriended absolutely HAD to see her perform, so we shimmied through the maze of fans to nearly the front row. It didn’t matter if I liked Lana or not, what mattered was the pure joy on my new friend’s face when Lana started singing. Of course, she sang “Summertime Sadness,” the one song I do know, and afterwards we clamored back up the hill, now sweaty, bruised, and triumphant.
With concerts, you usually know at least one band and you’re there for them. The food is from the bar, there’s nowhere to sit down, and you leave after the band you liked has played. But Sweetlife wasn’t just a concert, it was an experience. You walked in with an open mind. There was a schedule of bands playing, but it didn’t mean you were going to see them. This was about positive vibes, making friends, and eating good food. And yes, there was a live soundtrack to the day. And I have the pictures to prove it!
Images © 2014 Kati Mayers
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|July 29||'The Handmade Quarterly' Vol. III feat. Higher Hands, Bumpin Uglies, Pressing Strings and Skribe|
|July 30||Damon Fowler & Jason Ricci|
|July 31||Howie Day: CD Release Party|
|August 1||Delbert McClinton|
|August 2||Walter Trout|
|August 3||Gin Blossoms (6pm Show)|