Arts Desk

Summer Festivals, Brought to You By…

Decades from now, highly selective business schools will devote whole semesters to the flawless understanding of cross-platform brand synergy that is this year’s Sweetlife Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilillion, put on by local eco-friendly salad chain Sweetgreen. Never mind that fans will have to guzzle gas driving to Columbia, Md., for the show: It’s a sustainability-minded daylong event with an on-site farmers’ market and 10 acts (The Strokes, Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles) that belong in iPod commercials. Sweetgreen is, after all, the closest salad ever gets to being an Apple store.

In these build-your-own-rock-festival times, it probably won’t be long before other local chains get in on the action. As a public service, we’ve done the grunt work and curated some headliners.

Taylor Gourmet
The Roots
Taylor’s sandwiches have drawn raves since the Philadelphia-themed establishment opened up in D.C.—even after it was forced to admit that bread supposedly sourced from a Philly deli was in fact not from the City of Brotherly Love at all. Likewise, fans at the festival should see for themselves whether the main attraction is actually the Philly-bred Roots, or merely a cover band.

Georgetown Cupcake
Hannah Montana
Thanks to a TV show, out-of-towners line up for hours to buy sugary creations in Georgetown. The same basic mechanism launched the career of this festival’s star. Warning: No advance tickets will be sold, forcing fans to begin queuing at least four days before gates open.

Five Guys
Guns N’ Roses (classic lineup)
Because these days, the band has eight guys (including one guy called DJ Ashba). But bring back together Axl, Izzy, Steven, Duff, and Slash and it could guarantee some serious consumer goodwill. Then again, with its hundreds of locations nationwide, the burger joint may not need the help—in which case, the five guys in Journey are probably a much cheaper booking.

Busboys and Poets
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Sure, Busboys and Poets only opened in the past decade—but it taps into the long history of U Street NW as a cultural hub for black D.C. as part of its appeal. Likewise, Sharon Jones put out her first retro-funk album on Daptone Records in 2002—but it sounds like it was recorded in 1968. Journey back in time for Simulacrum Fest 2011!

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