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Lorde jokes that she’s now a ‘radioactive creature’ after Potomac swim

The singer told a D.C. audience in August she had taken a swim in the Potomac River. At a Maryland music festival this weekend, she laughed it off.

Lorde performs in June at Glastonbury Festival in England. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Pop singer Lorde returned to a controversial subject during her set at the All Things Go festival Saturday at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion: Did she or didn’t she take a dip this summer in the Potomac River, a ghastly thought for Washington-area locals? All signs point to yes.

In August, the singer told a shocked crowd at the Anthem in D.C. that she had spent time “lying in the Potomac River.” “I love getting to swim in the water where I’m playing, it makes me feel like I know you a bit better, somehow,” she said. While Lorde may have been trying to relate to her local audience, most area residents know that swimming in the river has been illegal since 1971.

No, Lorde will not grow a third eye because she swam in the Potomac

Jokes soon erupted on Twitter about the state of the star’s health after venturing into the water and news organizations jumped onto the story, turning Lorde’s misadventure into an internet phenomenon. Speaking with fans later Lorde, seemingly unfazed, said that she was “happy to be a D.C. meme.”

On Saturday, she addressed the controversy in a more public arena — to almost 20,000 fans at the sold-out festival. Perched on a giant spinning staircase, Lorde discussed her last journey to the DMV. “I was in the D.C. area recently. I had a lovely swim in the Potomac.”

The festival, full of soggy and emotionally drained fans who had spent the past few hours listening to the songs of indie artists Lucy Dacus and Mitski while battling the final waves of Hurricane Ian, erupted into laughter.

“We were on the Maryland side, which is much cleaner right?” she continued. “But I said it in my show and I heard this rumble of chatter and I was like, ‘What did I say?’ And then I trended on Twitter. But it’s kinda cool, I feel like I’m a radioactive creature now. Nothing can kill me.” Questions had been raised about whether the singer had actually swum in the river; her comments Saturday appeared to confirm it.

Depending on where she enjoyed her swim, the water may be considered swimmable. The Potomac Riverkeeper Network released the Swimmable Potomac Report in 2022, which looked at locations in the Potomac to investigate bacteria in the water and found that the “sites passed state bacteria standards 76% of the time, with sixteen of our twenty sites passing more than 50% of the time, and five of our sites passing more than 90% of the time — indicating safe overall bacteria levels in our sampling region.”

The artist then launched into “Liability,” off her 2017 album “Melodrama,” which drowned out any remaining laughs.