Credit to Byron Brown
Credit to Byron Brown

Credit to Byron Brown

In celebration of Urban Earth Day, the 2nd Annual Broccoli City Festival took place down the street from the Congress Heights metro station in Southeast Washington, DC on April 19, 2014. As many entered the St. Elizabeths East campus, where the Gateway Pavillion is located, they questioned why the campus was so dead. Were the students not interested in the music festival about to begin on their campus? As it turns out St. Elizabeths is an infamous insane asylum, which ceased operating only in 2008. Throughout the festival, the venue’s history made for great conversations about the imminent gentrification that will soon replace St. Elizabeths, as well as rumors that the campus is haunted.

Luckily, not even a haunted insane asylum could deter such a nice day, not to mention a cool stage and extensive vendor setup. As most independently thrown music festivals, the performances began a bit late. However, the downtime allowed early attendees to make rounds to the food trucks and the various vendors.

Starved Magazine was able to support local vendors such as Orange Cow, a Ward-8 based homemade ice cream truck, owned by an older married couple; and Capitol Hill Crab Cakes who make an amazing Passion Fruit Ice Tea that can be found daily at Eastern Market. Popular vegan restaurant, Woodland’s Vegan Bistro (formerly Everlasting Life Cafe) located on Georgia Avenue, made their presence felt with a seemingly brand new food truck.

The vendor selection was very commendable. Walmart as a vendor was a slight conflict of interest. Newly opened Walmart stores have notoriously been known to contribute to the decrease in revenue and shutting down of surrounding small businesses with similar products. From a business standpoint it makes sense. A Walmart will be opening up about one mile away from the Gateway Pavillion within the next year. Walmart is an official partner of the festival and may [or may not have] contributed resources to ensure that the festival was financed.

Credit to DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio

Credit to DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio

When the music began the stage area fluctuated with crowds for the first few opening acts. Once the music began there wasn’t too much to complain about, aside from thrown-off appearances by Mayor Vincent Gray and Hip Hop Caucus-affiliate Reverend Yearwood.

By the time Future Band hit the stage the audience was fairly thick. Reesa Renee hands down gave the best overall performance of the day and proved to be a true master of ceremonies with her crowd control. Producer/DJ The Melker Project certainly had the most unique set blending Hall & Oates, ABBA and other non-contemporaries with the likes of DMX and various Rap artists. GoldLink definitely showed what his “future bounce” sound was made of with a very hype performance. The legendary Just Blaze received widespread crowd participation spinning classic Roc-A-Fella Records and numerous underground joints that had folks asking “Just Blaze produced THAT!” Just Blaze literally set the stage for Cam’ron to come out and perform his fan favorites to the biggest crowd of the day.

Credit to Byron Brown

Credit to Byron Brown

Credit to DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio

Credit to DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio

Credit to DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio

Credit to DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio

Broccoli City Lifestyle Group set precedence by hosting their festival in the Congress Heights neighborhood. An event of this magnitude had not been held in the Southeast DC area for 15 years. Having already proven that it can be done, wouldn’t it be amazing to see Broccoli City Festival 2015 return to Ward 8 with an even better event for the culture and longtime local residents? I certainly look forward to deeper attention to the interactive components and another great group performers and vendors.

Credit to Byron Brown

Credit to Byron Brown


The views expressed in this article are my own, not necessarily those of Starved Magazine.