Sweetlife Festival returns to Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday for yet another daylong blowout of music and excellent outdoor eating. With acts such as headliner Foster the People, Lana Del Rey and Chromeo, Sweetlife reliably appeals to a broad cross-section of musical tastes, enough that the show's tickets were mostly gone within days of going on sale in February.
With Sweetlife now days away, we've got everything you'll want to know if you're Merriweather-bound this weekend, including set times. (The sad news: You may have to choose between gaping awkwardly at Lana Del Rey and bouncing your extremities to 2 Chainz.)
Read on for details on getting there, what you'll be eating and what songs you'll want to brush up on beforehand:
Set times (updated):
Driving to Merriweather takes a certain fortitude, a full gas tank, and, if you're lucky, a good, Type-A friend who packs gummy worms and pre-mixes upbeat Spotify playlists to pass the time as you wait to get into the venue's lots. The best way to ensure you're not stuck in traffic for the entire Bastille set is to get to the venue early. Gates will open at 11 a.m.; get there around then if you're hoping to avoid the bulk of concertgoers, many of whom will arrive around the lunch hour to take advantage of Sweetlife's food offerings.
For the car-averse, Sweetlife has also arranged for shuttles through Rock and Bus, which will dispatch several buses to Dupont Circle, Union Station and Arlington on Saturday morning, then get you home at the end of the festival. Round-trip spots on the buses are $50.
What to eat:
Sweetlife is billed as a music and food festival, and this year's lineup should excite anyone familiar with D.C.'s food scene. More than 20 mostly local food vendors will set up across Merriweather to cook quinoa burgers and tempeh wraps, and destroy your diet with doughnuts and fish tacos. Each vendor will offer three options to Sweetlife-goers, including one that uses local, seasonal ingredients.
Find the whole food lineup here, but here's a sampling of some of what the vendors will be selling (to move along the lines, you'd be wise to bring cash, and plenty of it):
Jose Andres's Pepe: Spanish grilled cheese; local asparagus with romesco.
Pho Wheels: Vietnamese tacos, with choice of soy garlic chicken, five-spice maple-glazed pork belly or mushroom onion tofu, on Malaysian flat bread (roti canai).
Red Apron Butchery: Three kinds of hot dogs, including the Kaiser, a brat dog with bacon-braised kraut and hot mustard.
Roofers Union: Black bean and quinoa burger on a potato roll with avocado, sprouts and tomato.
Pete's Apizza: Vegan pizza with vegan cheese, sauteed spinach, grilled artichokes, cherry tomatoes.
Chaia: Locally sourced vegetarian tacos, including one filled with garlicky kale and pickled red onion.
Spike Gjerde/Maketto Night Market: Roasted pig; ramen; coffee from Vigilante Coffee Co.
Will I have phone/web service during the festival?
If you've been to a music festival, then you know that thousands of flower-crown selfies simultaneously uploading to Instagram is to your cell service what poison was to King Joffrey. But the Sweetlife folks say they're doing what they can to bolster infrastructure. Regardless, you'd be wise to go in with the expectation of making heavy use of the dreaded #latergram, particularly as it gets into the evening hours, and more bodies are in-house for the headliners.
A few songs you should know before you go:
Let's start with the one that's brand new: Lana Del Rey's typically listless, druggy "West Coast," which the singer has been shilling since her performances at Coachella last month. A video is set to be released this week for the song (produced, along with the rest of her forthcoming album, by Black Key Dan Auerbach).
Bombay Bicycle Club's ascent began in 2006; they're re-emerged on the festival circuit, and their new jam, "Feel," might not be particularly indicative of their anthemic indie pop, but the Indian-wedding theme is fun stuff to watch.
British band Bastille had one of the biggest hits in the United Kingdom in 2013 -- trumping Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," if you can imagine it -- with "Pompeii." You've probably heard it, but here's a refresher. Bastille will fill the pop-rock slot that was filled by Fun. a couple of years ago.
Upbeat popsters Fitz and the Tantrums are back for their second Sweetlife run. Their latest aerobics-class-ready jam is "The Walker."