Broccoli City Music Fest returns to RFK Stadium grounds after two-year hiatus

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Broccoli City Music Fest (Part 1)

Get ready to dance, gather and inspire the community with a decadelong tradition in D.C.

The Broccoli City Music Fest returns to RFK Stadium this weekend after a two-year hiatus.

“We’ve been cooking, we’ve been doing this thing since 2013,” Co-Founder Brandon McEachern told WTOP. “We know that it’s Mother’s Day … but hey, I know your momma may want to come out … or she may give you a pass if you take her out to eat on Friday.”

He had hoped to return last year, but the announced lineup had to be canceled.

“We had to pull the plug,” McEarhern said. “The COVID numbers in the community were a little high and we didn’t want to be a super spreader or anything of that nature, so we decided to cancel last year. It would have been super exciting, but we take the health of our community very seriously. … We’re super duper excited to be back.”

The three-day festival kicks off Friday with “Black Change Weekend” at Broccoli Con.

“We do our annual Broccoli City Conference, which will be held at The Gathering Spot D.C.,” McEachern said. “We’re focusing on giving young people job opportunities. We have everyone from Indeed to Live Nation out there scouting, Converse, other brands. … It’s for young people to attend, listen to these panel discussions, then throw their resume in.”

The music fires up on Saturday with a lineup of local and national artists.

“On Saturday, we got Joyce Wrice, Larry June, Rico Nasty, which is a D.C. native, we’ve got young Jeezy, which is classic. I’m so hyped to see Jeezy,” McEachern said. “We’ve got Wale & Friends, which is going to be a super dope set, we have Lil Durk, 21 Savage and then ending the night with Ari Lennox, which is another DMV native.”

Sunday brings even more artists to the Broccoli City stage.

“We got Alex Vaughn, who is from D.C., we got Babyface Ray representing Detroit, we got Masego representing Virginia Beach, we got Tems, this will be her first time in Washington D.C., we got Don Toliver from the Cactus Jack Squad, we got Gunna, we have WizKid, then we also have Summer Walker, so an excellent show Sunday,” McEachern said.

The festival will be held in the Lot 8 parking lot outside of RFK Stadium.

“We’ve got the main stage, which is the Broccoli City Stage, then we have the Everything Legendary Stage, which will be focused on D.C. acts, DJs and things of that nature,” McEachern said. “We also have Broccoli World where our Ferris wheel will be, rides and games. … There’s also a solid disco … bars everywhere, a vendor marketplace.”

The North Carolina native founded the festival with friend Marcus Allen in 2013.

“The name started out because me personally I’m from Greensboro, so ‘Green’ is the ‘Broccoli,’ then ‘boro’ is the ‘City,'” McEachern said. “When we decided to bring it to Washington D.C. it made so much sense because D.C. is known as Chocolate City, so it would easily make sense to be Broccoli City in terms of healthy options, community life.”

It’s evolved over the past 10 years in various venues around the D.C. area.

“The evolution of Broccoli City has been a lot,” McEachern said. “We started off doing it in The Bullpen, then we went from The Bullpen to Gateway D.C., then we did one year at the Commanders stadium [FedEx Field], then we have done it at RFK in the past.”

Sponsored by Diageo, the festival aims to provide the biggest bang for your buck.

“We’re not the biggest festival in the world, we’re not Rolling Loud … but if you think about the caliber of acts that Broccoli City gets you in terms of what you’re paying for a ticket, we’re the crème de la crème,” McEachern said. “You’re paying $109 for one day of this festival when you would [otherwise] pay $100 to see one of these acts to perform.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Broccoli City Music Fest (Part 2)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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