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Can you stand the Rain? Broccoli City Festival

Broccoli City Festival by Caitlin Leggett
Broccoli City Festival by Caitlin Leggett

Broccoli City hosted its 12th music festival in Washington, D.C.

Broccoli City hosted its 10th festival in Washington, D.C. on Saturday July 15th and Sunday July 16th. The boy band New Edition once asked a question that summed up the whole festival— can you stand the rain?

Broccoli City Festival has been occurring in Washington, D.C., since 2013. Broccoli City is a Black-owned social enterprise that focuses on people and progress. They aim to foster creativity and community growth by building innovative experiences that intersect technology, music, art, and social impact. From their music festivals to their community events, they look to advance the lives of the people around them.

Broccoli City Festival by Caitlin Leggett
Caitlin Leggett
Broccoli City Festival

In my initial conversation with the founder of Broccoli City Brandon McEachern, he talked about providing positivity and opportunity for the Black community. From DC legends like the Backyard Band to local vendors like Jerk@Night and Po Boy Jim’s Bar & Grill and more, the Broccoli City’s commitment to community empowerment was clear.

Day one of the festival presented many challenges, starting with delays due to the weather. Warnings of rain and heavy clouds pushed the original 2PM start time back an hour and 30 minutes. However, once the doors were open to the general admission, the show moved quickly.

The Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in D.C. where the festival was held was utilized in its entirety for two performance stages, a podcast stage, food trucks, vendors, photo booths, and most importantly, fans.

North Carolina was well represented with recognizable faces like NCCU alumni Brandon McEachern, and NC A&T alumni and podcast hosts Christian Kornegay(CDK) and Horatio Douglas. They two hosted their joint podcast CDK & Horatio podcast live from the festival.

Winston-Salem native Tia Corine performed at the Starry Stage, giving the crowd a taste of her music which included her hit song “Freaky T.” Afrobeats artist Rema also rocked the stage, closing out his performance with his radio hit song ”Calm.”

Ice Spice hyped the crowd with the crowd's favorite Tiktok songs like “Munch,” “In Ha Mood,” and “Princess Diana.” The rap group the “City Girls” graced the Broccoli Stage to put on an energetic performance full of twerking and choreography.

During the City Girls' set, lightning struck and a severe weather warning was issued throughout the park, cutting their set short. Although the rain held off, the festival was forced to shut down for safety reasons. The festival issued out 50% refunds due to the shutdown.

Day two started right on time and even had performances starting earlier than scheduled to try and avoid the rain. CoCo Jones performed a medley of songs, which included her rendition of Rain by SWV, and like a paid actor, the rain poured down from the sky.

As the sun came back out and the rain cleared up, artists like GloRilla and Kodak Black brought the heat with fire performances. With performances running an hour ahead of schedule, the crowd stayed engaged throughout the day.

Brent Faiyaz performing "All Mine" at Broccoli City Festival 2023.
Caitlin Leggett
Brent Faiyaz performing "All Mine" at Broccoli City Festival 2023.

The end of Kodak’s set, cleansed the crowds pallet for the highly anticipated headliner, Brent Fayiaz. With visuals from his newest album “Wasteland Chopped Not Slopped,” and a smoked-out stage, he closed the festival out with an hour-long performance. The crowd sounded like a chorus as they sang along.

Other performances for the entire weekend included Kodak Black, KeKe Palmer, Saucy Santana, Rema, Asake, Glorilla, Chloe Bailey, Mariah the Scientist, and more.

Caitlin Leggett was WUNC's News Administrative Intern & Youth Reporting Mentor.
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