The Facts of Sweetlife

The homegrown music and food festival is bigger than ever. Our A-to-Z guide will help you take it all in.

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It’s hard to believe that just four years ago, Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife festival was basically a Dupont Circle block party. Now, the homegrown restaurant’s music-and-food festival has ballooned into an expansive event that’s about even more than beats and eats. Here’s our A-to-Z guide to the festivities. (Visit Sweetlifefestival.com for a full schedule and lineup).

A is for alcohol. Local craft brewers DC Brau, Flying Dog, Mountain State Brewing Co. and Chocolate City Beer will be pouring drinks alongside Maryland winery Boordy Vineyards.

B is for the Big Cheese, one of several food trucks stationed on Sweetlife’s grounds.

C is for carbon-neutral. Sweetlife purchases renewable energy certificates to offset its footprint and has installed solar panels on the main stage’s roof.

D is for DC Farm to School Network, the chief charity partner of Sweetgreen. It helps educate District children about healthy eating.

E is for early, as in arrive early. Gates open at noon and lines will be long during peak hours.

F is for Foxygen, the winners of Express’ award for best/worst band name at this year’s Sweetlife.

G is for Gary Clark Jr., the best blues-rock revivalist to hit the main stage.

H is for Haerts, a relatively new band that has released only one song: the ambient, Fleetwood Mac-sounding single “Wings.”

I is for Instagram, which everyone will be using instead of paying attention to the music.

J is for Jose Andres’ Pepe truck, which, with its pricey sandwiches, is for the more affluent festival attendee.

K is for Knowles, as in Solange Knowles, sister to that other Knowles from Houston. (Alternately, K works for rapper Kendrick Lamar; both are on the main stage.)

L is for Lindsey Stirling, a YouTube star and violinist who dwells at the crossroads of classic music and dubstep — especially with her song “Crystallize.”

M is for May 11, Merriweather Post Pavilion and Maryland: Sweetlife’s date, venue and locale.

N is for 9:32, the 9:30 Club’s bar and lounge on the Merriweather grounds, which will host DJ sets from John Thornley (US Royalty) and Nancy Whang (ex-LCD Soundsystem).

O is for Onomonomedia, which will have six photo booths around the festival grounds, so you can snap keepsakes with floral and farm backgrounds.

P is for Phoenix and Passion Pit, two headliners who could also be filed under E, for electro-dance-pop.

Q is for quinoa, the main ingredient in a salad from vegan sweets-and-eats shop Sticky Fingers, which will be selling dairy- and animal-free treats in the Sweetlife market.

R is for Rock and Bus, which — for those without cars, or friends with cars, or the ability to befriend someone for their car — will pick you up in Dupont Circle, Arlington or Union Station and take you to Merriweather (and back) for $50.

S is for sunscreen. Don’t get burned! (Alas, it’s looking like it might be cloudy.)

is for the Treehouse stage, the second stage, where you can see Holy Ghost, Youth Lagoon, Foxygen, Haerts, Robert Delong, Ms Mr, Twenty One Pilots, Shark Week, Nicky Blitz and Knocked Up Kids.

U is for using your head. Drink water, don’t take the brown acid and drive safely.

V is for VIP tickets, which (at $150) grant you all the free filtered water you can guzzle as well as the following: dedicated viewing areas, covered cabana lounges and exclusive food and drink offerings curated by Rogue 24’s RJ Cooper and Toki Underground’s Erik Bruner-Yang.

W is for the Wharf, where you can nosh on seafood from Hammer & Claws, Luke’s Lobster and Rappahannock Oyster Co.

X is for xylophones, faintly audible at the beginning of Passion Pit’s smash single “Take a Walk.”

Y is for Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Yeah?

Z is for Zzzzzs, which you should get plenty of the night before Sweetlife.

Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, Md.; Sat., noon, $75-$150; 410-715-5550.
Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Rudi Greenberg · May 9, 2013