PHOTOS + WORDS by Aysia Marotta
C3 PRESENTS brings big names to Washington D.C.
Surrounded by extravagant monuments of some of the United States of America’s greatest leaders, lay the Potomac River-view site of the first ever Landmark Music Festival. As eager concert-goers walked through the National Mall’s pathway, sights of the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial intertwined with the sounds of festival newcomers – Philadelphia artist Son Little and hometown honies, Ex Hex. The great thing about Landmark Fest was that the festival was curated with the goal of raising money and awareness towards the restoration of the National Mall. With headliners like Drake and The Strokes, the festival’s organizers expected at least 30,000 people each day.
Saturday had its fair share of issues -- From the shortage of toilet tissue and manic beer and food lines, to the unexpected downpour right before Drake’s headlining set. However, that didn’t stop Day One of Landmark from being a success. With the help of the StateFarm: Good Neighbor Hangout tent providing thousands of attendees with free ponchos, to the many available tents for people to seek shelter, it wasn’t long before people were back to dancing and chanting stage-side for the main event. C3 Presents did a spectacular job at making sure there were safe grounds for the thousands of people in attendance.
Landmark Festival weekend tickets sold for $150, which is probably the best deal you’d get for a festival featuring the artist bill that they had. Not to mention, their neat little wristbands allowed guests re-entry into the festival up to 3 times each day. The same wristbands are expected to be featured at this year’s Austin City Limits, with no word yet if there will be re-entry allowed.
While Saturday’s lineup brought out the crowds, Sunday was a bit calmer -- especially in regards to the weather. While the National Mall appeared to be able to accommodate the five-stage setup comfortably, there were a few sets between the two days where conflicting set schedules resulted in sound bleeding.
There were a couple of unique and interesting aspects to this new festival venture, one of them being that Landmark only sold festival branded merchandise, as opposed to also featuring artist merchandise. Another was the festival organizer’s decision to have all artists play roughly a one-hour set. Overheard were many twenty-something’s who were disheartened to hear they weren’t getting the full 2 hour Drake experience. Little did they know they were going to be greeted with an intense set by October’s Very Own, parading energetically around the pyrotechnic and firework filled stage.
Sunday’s super-sets were undoubtedly from CHVRCHES, who are fresh off the release of Every Open Eye, as well as New York’s Funk Lordz CHROMEO, and Welsh trio The Joy Formidable. The weekend concluded with an electrifyingly beautiful set from UK folk-stepper’s Alt-J, and the much-anticipated performance by The Strokes. Julian Casablancas and crew emerged from backstage to a screaming crowd. Casablancas was also kind enough to let the crowd in on a not-so-little secret: The Strokes are back in the studio recording their next album.
It’s fantastic to see music bring people together for a great cause, especially one like the National Park’s restoration. After the success of the inaugural 2015 Landmark Festival, it seems very likely that we’ll all be gathering again at the National Mall next year.