How Sweet It Is

Now in its third year, Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Festival expands to two stages this time around. This means twice the acts to choose from while you wander the Merriweather grounds (where the fest is back for a second year) and sample local and sustainable food. To help you navigate, we’ve rounded up the best acts into categories that should make planning simple — and even sweet.

Indie Royalty (The Shins)
Every fest needs a band of beloved, reunited indie rockers from the aughts. The Shins, above, roll into Sweetlife on the strength of “Port of Morrow,” the group’s first new disc since 2007, and a new lineup. Both have seemed to rejuvenate vocalist James Mercer, who spent the last few years hanging with Danger Mouse and making some of his most experimental music to date with Broken Bells.

Ravers (Avicii, Bluebrain, Ben Browning, the Knocks)
It’s a testament to the hold that electronic dance music has on America’s youth that 22-year-old wunderkind DJ Avicii is the top-billed artist at this year’s fest. Fans will break out the glow sticks for the Swedish house and dubstep DJ — much like when Deadmau5 headlined a stage at Virgin Mobile FreeFest last fall. Earlier in the day, D.C. experimental duo (and app-makers) Bluebrain will DJ on the second “Treehouse” stage, along with Cut Copy’s Ben Browning and the Knocks.

Rappers (Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky)
Kid Cudi , left, who gave introspective stoners everywhere a theme song with “Day ’n’ Nite,” may be the biggest hip-hop name at Sweetlife, but A$AP Rocky comes with the biggest buzz. His syrup-coated rhymes and undeniable swagger earned the New York-based MC, 23, widespread acclaim for last year’s mixtape, “LiveLoveA$AP.” At Sweetlife, Rocky will likely sample from his forthcoming major label debut, “LongLiveA$AP.”


Rising Stars (US Royalty, Delta Spirit, Twin Shadow)
Local rockers US Royalty make their third appearance at the fest. They’ll be alongside Delta Spirit, whose groovy California sound earned them a sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club earlier this spring, and Twin Shadow, left, whose ’80s-infused rock taps into a nostalgia that makes for a perfect summer soundtrack.

Dance Rockers (Fitz and the Tantrums, Fun.)
Festivalgoers wanna dance, and both Fitz and the Tantrums, above, and Fun. bring the party. The former trades in retro-soul revival, while the latter is currently blowing up the airwaves with its anthemic “We Are Young.” If your butt is in a seat during either set, you’re not living the Sweetlife right.

Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, Md.; Sat., 12 p.m., $75; 410-715-5550.
Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Kristen Page-Kirby · April 26, 2012