The torrential downpour that drenched fans of Foster the People wasn’t enough to send them running for shelter.
When the rain began, concertgoers lucky enough to be inside Merriweather Post Pavilion turned their attention from the band to watch in awe as fans with lawn seat tickets began stomping in the mud and dancing in the rain.
“Shout out to all the people in the rain,” said lead singer Mark Foster at Saturday’s concert. “I see you up there. You guys are giving me a lot of energy.”
Foster the People, Lana Del Rey, 2 Chainz and Bastille were among the 19 performers at Sweetlife, a music and food festival in Columbia, Md., founded by restaurant chain Sweetgreen. Sets began with the band Gems at 12:30 p.m. and concluded with Foster at 9 p.m.
The lineup for food included Sweetgreen salads, Shake Shack, lobster rolls and food trucks serving up everything from vegetarian tacos to grilled cheese.
The executives of Sweetgreen, a restaurant founded by three college students in 2007 that specializes in salads and sustainability, installed solar panels on the main stage’s roof to counteract energy the concert used.
Vendors gave customers compostable utensils and concertgoers traded in bottles and cups for items like sunglasses and posters.
“They did a good job promoting their green initiative,” said audience member Jonathan Shaham, 21, of Columbia, Md. “There was a lot of delicious food all over the place.”
Lana Del Rey, famous for her songs “Young and Beautiful” and “Summertime Sadness,” ended her set by taking selfies with audience members in the front row. Dressed in a T-shirt, denim short shorts and cowboy boots, she signed autographs and hugged screaming fans as she wrapped up.
Abbey Weit, a junior communications major at the university, is Sweetlife’s public relations and logistics coordinator. Her team of 11 began preparing for the concert in August by deciding on performers to invite and reaching out to food vendors.
“It was amazing to see the festival come alive yesterday,” Weit said. “We had approximately 25,000 attendees, and it was truly an experience I won’t forget.”
The festival allowed for performers to interact with audience members, said Jessica Thurnes, 18, of Woodbine, Md. “[The] Capital Cities’ drummer signed and kissed my hand,” she said. “My sister touched Lana Del Rey’s hand. It was a very eventful festival.”
Before the band’s set ended, Foster encouraged young members of the audience to actively pursue their dreams but not to expect success to come easily.
“It’s not going to be handed to you guys,” he said to a cheering audience. “There’s so much available to you guys, more than ever before. You have the opportunity to be the best generation ever.”