Trillectro, D.C.’s rapidly growing hip-hop-meets-electronic-music festival, is jetting for bigger digs.
Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia will be the new home of the festival when it returns Aug. 29, nearly doubling the capacity the debut event had at the Fairgrounds in Southeast, and at the RFK. Stadium grounds last year. The bill will feature Chance the Rapper and electronic-music up-and-comer RL Grime, Cashmere Cat, Kehlani,
Mesego Masego and about a half-dozen other acts to watch. Tickets for the fest, priced from $58 to $135, go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.
We should have known that Trillectro was bound for a bigger stage when its crowd swelled last summer to 8,000 music fans. But after three years, it always managed to maintain its blacktop block-party vibe, in part because it was Metro-accessible and has had a knack for snagging acts still in their formative years, long before they would go on to fill arenas. (Trillectro alumns include Rae Sremmurd, Migos and Schoolboy Q.)
Modi Oyewole, Marcel Marshall and Quinn Coleman launched Trillectro -- a mashup of the words “trill” and “electro” -- after returning from their first Coachella festival in 2012. Feeling like the District, their hometown, was its own kind of desert when it came to eclectic festivals, the budding music promoters launched Trillectro the same year. The first two editions of the festival were held at the Fairgrounds, near Nationals Park; last year it decamped for the more roomy, 10,000-capacity RFK grounds and amped up its hip-hop base with performers such as Big Sean.
In a call from Los Angeles, where he and Coleman now live, Marshall says that this year, “We’re trying to get back to the center, to electronic and alternative,” which the founders love as much as they love hip-hop.
The trio, Marshall says, got their first big taste of hip-hop promoting when they presented then-rising West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar at I.M.P.’s 9:30 Club in 2011; moving Trillectro to Merriweather, which is operated by the mega-promoter, he says “completed the circle. I.M.P. gave us our start.”
But the guys, who once boasted that access to their festival required only a ticket and a Metro card, would be lying if they said the move to the 'burbs didn’t give them pause. There were pros and cons, Marshall admits, but they were impressed by the venue’s success rounding up music fans with car and shuttle-bus service for festivals such as Sweetlife. They're also not worried about undermining the festival’s D.C. cred, Marshall says: “We are definitely D.C. guys through and through.”