Last year, DC-based music blog All Things Go went bigger with the Fall Classic, their day-long music festival, by moving from Union Market to Yards Park and booking well-known talent like Sylvan Esso and Empire of the Sun. (Of course, the incessant rain caused some major mud pits and annoyances, but that’s beside the point and beyond their control.) But with the exception of local rapper Ace Cosgrove, the day was a synth-pop-heavy affair. This year, though, the organizers expanded the event to three days, and more interestingly, aimed to curate a more diverse lineup by day, which meant bringing in some diverse tastemakers from around town. With some know-how from electronic/dance tastemakers Nu Androids (who regularly host dance parties at spaces like Flash and Soundcheck) for Friday’s lineup and hip-hop/R&B-focused Broccoli City (who throw a DC music festival of their own in the spring) for Saturday, the All Things Go crew brought the music back to Union Market in the hopes of bringing the various music scenes together for one weekend.
Union Market is an ideal place to put on a festival in comparison to Yards Park - the former truck docks provided a great vantage point for those that don’t want to get deep into the crowd of rabid fans. And, of course, the asphalt festival grounds assured a mud-free weekend for attendees. As for the music, The Knocks were an obvious fit for Friday - having DJed at U Street Music Hall and performed at 9:30 Club countless times over the past few years, their combination of live instrumentation, vocals, production, and lasers were reliable party-starters for the night’s headliners. The Swedish duo Galantis proved to be as energetic and entertaining as fans were hoping for a Friday night by bringing together the best of house and pop music for an hour. They brought all the smoke machines and beat drops that you’d want from an EDM set.
Broccoli City’s curation on Saturday was also spot-on - from start to finish, every performer brought an intense level of energy, from DC’s Innanet James and offbeat electronic producer Cashmere Cat all the way through to Young Thug (who showed up an hour late, causing the back half of the crowd to dissipate by the time he made it on stage). Vince Staples was the true standout that day, though - his silhouetted performance and take-no-prisoners cadence made the case for him to be the real headliner that day.
Sunday’s lineup was classic All Things Go, featuring some of the best synth-pop and general pop talent out today. The highlights of the day included the keytar solos and dance moves of Great Good Fine Ok, an arena pop-like performance from Betty Who and her backup dancers, and an especially Springsteen-esque, reach-for-the-skies pop music from Jack Antonoff of Bleachers. Foster the People closed out the weekend with songs that drew from their three albums as well as some covers, like The Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The band didn’t play their biggest hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” likely in light of the Las Vegas shooting, and after explaining their sentiments of the political and social climate of today, they played a cover of John Lennon’s “Love.” But in a day that featured some great music and (unfortunately) very humid weather, one of the most memorable moments came during “Coming of Age” as the rain started to fall. The combination of the song with the refreshing rain and the coming end of a long weekend at Union Market brought the crowd’s spirits even higher. Unlike last year, this rainfall was a lot more welcome.
It remains to be seen if All Things Go will continue to follow through with this unique three-day, multi-genre format, but with the 10,000 people that came and went this weekend, all things hopefully point to likely.