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BROCCOLI CITY FEST 2023: You Just HAD To Be There!

When Broccoli City said they would have us back outside this summer, they meant every word! This past weekend, Broccoli City and their partners delivered a memorable, entertaining, and lit festival weekend to attendees that traveled as far as California to witness the greatness!

According to the official website, Broccoli City is a Black-owned social enterprise that focuses primarily on the people and promotes progress. They foster creativity and growth within the community by building innovative experiences that intersect technology, music, art, and social impact. One of these many experiences includes events like BroccoliCon and the Broccoli City Music Festival. Over the last decade, they have successfully mobilized over 20 million young people through their events and online communities!

This year, Broccoli City’s acclaimed music festival amassed the attendance of tens of thousands from across the nation! Festival goers, performing artists, content creators, and media outlets all gathered at The Fields at RFK Campus in the Washington, D.C. heat simply to indulge in positive vibes and enjoy the festival’s atmosphere.

We found our way to the check-in and will-call lines while Saucy Sanatana was performing his single Bop Bop. All we can say is that everybody meant business about getting checked in and onto the festival grounds because the lines were packed out! After a thirty-minute wait, we were checked in and on our way to be cleared by security. Security was quick, smooth, and thorough! It’s notable to also mention that the patience and helpfulness of the young lady who checked us in and nearby security were very admirable, given how hectic the environment got while guests and additional personnel arrived.

We snagged a golf cart ride from the dedicated Rose Bar Entry Gate to the festival’s main stage, also referred to as the Broccoli Stage. We walked around to get a feel for the vibe and see what was going on while Rema performed.

To top off the afro-beats playing from the Broccoli Stage, we were hit by a plethora of aromas coming from the numerous food trucks and tents. All the food smelled immaculate; it felt like we were at a big family cookout! There were also a wide variety of vendor tents selling Broccoli City merchandise, clothes, accessories, and nearly anything you could think of. Oh, and did we mention that most, if not all, of these vendors represented businesses of color?

We also couldn’t tell you how many Rosebar tents we passed on our way to their HUGE VIP Rosebar tent. Not only was the VIP Rosebar Tent cool, but it also had one of the best views of the main stage. It’s crystal clear that Rosebar DC’s goal was to show out this year, and they did just that! Other notable tents and stands we loved were the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream stand, the bright yellow Starry Soft Drink stand (and their samples), KINLÒ x Loved01’s wellness tent, and DC United’s MLS All-Star Game display.

An hour later, we made it backstage where we found the VIP Lounge, Artists Lounge, Artist Trailers, and Green Room. We also got to meet a number of other media personnel, VIP All-Access personnel, Producers, Broccoli City Founders, Influencers, Content Creators, and a few performing artists! Though we weren’t able to secure any interviews with day one’s performing artists, we were able to chat with a few of the influencers and creators who collaborated with Broccoli City for this year’s festival, including Aliyah, Tony, and Jordyn.

We worked our way back around to the front of the main stage and decided to make a quick stop at the Rosebar marquee. We were immediately welcomed into the shade with open arms! The inside of Rosebar’s marquee was arranged with a few pub tables, a custom "Rosebar DC X Broccoli City" greenery wall, a mini bar in the back, a VIP seating area in the front, and Rosebar employees who brought the space to life! Again, the view from the tent was probably the best one on the field! We hung around to enjoy Chloe's performance from the Rosebar tent as she performed in her bedazzled Broccoli City Green one-piece with her fierce dancers! While enjoying ourselves, we spotted Tony Award-winning Broadway star Myles Frost minding his business. So, of course, we decided to bother him for an interview!

As the day went on, performances were broken up by the amazing festival hosts and stage DJs. During one of the intermissions, we were able to catch some shots of Keke Palmer in her sexy black and bedazzled jumpsuit backstage. Then we rushed back to the front of the stage to watch the Queen serve and eat up her performance! The Motha was definitely in her element on that stage on Saturday! We’re still shouting, "Go Keke, Go Keke, GO KEKE!"

Time truly does fly when you’re having fun, so it was hard to believe that it was starting to get a little dark ALREADY. But it turned out that storm clouds were slowly rolling in. We made another trip to City Stage to catch a bit of Cookie Kawaii’s performance. On our way, we heard Ice Spice perform fan favorites like In Ha Mood, Princess Diana, and Bikini Bottom. Ice Spice fans were rushing to the Broccoli Stage from the festival grounds entrance to catch her set in time.

By the time we finally got to City Stage, Cookie Kawaii’s set was coming to an end; however, we enjoyed her performance of Pretty Girl and how lit the dancers and ASL interpreters were! Their energy was clearly radiating into the audience, as we witnessed a number of Cookie Kawaii fans vibing HEAVILY to her upbeat single.

Unfortunately, day one came to a premature end after the City Girls performed due to an incoming thunderstorm. Broccoli City clearly valued the safety of their Broccoli City family and decided to make a very tough call Saturday night. Via their official Instagram account, the Broccoli City team announced that they would be starting day two a bit later than day one and that they would be coming back better!

Thankfully, Sunday was a bit cooler than Saturday, but it was definitely still hot. Upon arriving on-site, we noticed that the check-in and will-call lines were more orderly. It was clear that the Broccoli City team made intentional observations and went back to the drawing board to implement solutions and improvements in real-time. We wanted to get the Broccoli City Festival experience from various perspectives, so we decided to walk into the festival grounds with fellow festivalgoers on Sunday. We arrived at the very beginning of Asake’s astounding set! That man DID NOT come to play! The energy was high, and it was certainly overpowering the influence of the heat!

In addition to implementing extra safety precautions at the will-call and check-in lines, security was tighter Sunday as well. Though this made it a bit more difficult to get backstage for coverage, we understood and admired Broccoli City’s commitment to safety and keeping their festival as orderly as possible! Thankfully, Broccoli City's Co-founder and Public Relations Coordinator, Jermon, was kind enough to escort us backstage to further our coverage for day two!

Backstage, we were able to enjoy some air conditioning in the artist's lounge before heading back out and running into day two's performing artist, Ryan Trey! While backstage, we began to hear the sound of a familiar songbird. Mariah the Scientist lured us out from backstage with her angelic vocals. She performed Note to Self, 2 You, Spread Thin, and Stone Cold. Her bubbly and goofy character, in addition to her cherry red two-piece, gave her performance such a cool and refreshing vibe!

We decided to head back to City Stage to see what the artists were serving over there. Coincidentally enough, we made it just in time for Ryan Trey’s performance, which included hit singles like Rollin, Selfish, and his newest single, Ain’t Even Friends with Maraih the Scientist.

Glorilla came out after an intermission and showed D.C. exactly why she’s called Big Glo! Her set consisted of hits such as Get That Money, On Wat U On, F.N.F., and Tomorrow. Mid-performance, Glorilla called the crowd out because she wasn’t feeling any energy. Of course, the audience drank some water, tightened up, and turned up with Glo right after.

Kodak graced the stage with his performance before DMV native headliner Brent Faiyaz came to bring the night to an end! Unfortunately, we had to call our night shorter than expected and leave before we got a chance to see Brent Faiyaz. *cries in Spanish*

Despite the heat, rain, and difficulties, Broccoli City Fest was an absolute success! The diligent Broccoli City team did not fail to deliver an amazing festival to the people this year! To join us on our two-day journey around the festival grounds as we enjoyed live performances, VIP perks, and the chance to chop it up with some performers, creators, and special guests, you can click the video below and check out our visual recap!

A special thank you to Broccoli City, Broccoli City Press, and Jermon Williams for the opportunity and unforgettable experience!


Written by Torera of XBlaze Magazine Original and Intellectual Property of XBlaze Magazine, All Rights Reserved ©

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