Yahoo is streaming the first ever Landmark Music Festival, live from Washington D.C. The lineup this year includes names like The Strokes, Drake, Miguel, Chromeo, TV On The Radio, and Twin Shadow. It starts Saturday, Sept. 26, and you can watch all weekend long at Yahoo.com/LandmarkFest.
Chef Jose Andrés Photo: AP
By Jackie Strause
Music festivals used to be synonymous with summer, but the season has officially out-grown its three-month limit. The fall months are now just as stacked with stellar lineups — and we’re not just talking about the music.
This weekend, the inaugural Landmark Music Festival is set to takeover Washington, D.C., and the two-day event essentially has three headliners: Drake, The Strokes, and Chef José Andrés.
The local celebrity chef was tapped to curate the festival’s food court DC Eats, which will feature 17 vendors — including Andrés’s own PEPE, Beefsteak, and Oyamel. With a hoard of local dining establishments, cookbooks, TV shows, and awards attached to his name, Andrés was the perfect choice to serve as the face of the festival’s tasty offerings. Over the course of a two-month application process, his task was to help select a menu that fully encapsulates D.C.’s eclectic melting pot of cuisine.
“We always look for a well-known chef that has connections in that area where we’re doing the festival,” says Kevin Noonan, the vendor operations manager at C3 Presents, which is the production company that also puts on music-festival staples Lollapalooza (with curator Chef Graham Elliot) and Austin City Limits (with curator Chef Tim Love). With Andrés’s name behind it, Landmark dove head first into the festival foodie scene that has slowly but surely taken the country by storm.
Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
When 25,000 hungry festival-goers invade West Potomac Park on Day 1, they won’t be snacking on hot dogs or generic BBQ. They’ll be devouring slow-smoked brisket sandwiches and slices of locally sourced pizza. They’ll be slurping up hybrid Taiwanese-style ramen from another local celebrity chef, Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto.
Noonan says it’s quality over quantity. “We don’t serve the typical festival fare. We want that local representation that you sometimes can’t get anywhere else.”
You wouldn’t know Landmark is new from its music lineup. The 40 performers who will be taking the five stages range from indie-rock (alt-J, The War on Drugs) to electro- and blues-pop (Chvrches, Chromeo, George Ezra, Nate Ruess) to R&B (Miguel, Wale) hit-makers. There’s a little something for everyone if you scroll through the list and pick out your favorite names. So why shouldn’t the same go for the food?
“Foodie nation is blowing up,” explains Noonan, who says they now “release” the food lineup similarly to how they announce the music. “There are so many TV shows, for example on the Food Network, which is why these chefs have become household names. People have seen Andrés on TV so they look forward to seeing what he’s picked out and what he’s going to serve. It’s an added extra.”
Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
Collaborating with a famous foodie like Andrés ups the ante when it comes to fan furor. His restaurants are well known and they embody the trifecta of criteria that goes into the selection process: local, diverse, and trendy festival items. Three signature sandwiches and tacos are on the menu from his food truck PEPE and Mexican restaurant Oyamel, respectively, and then there’s his Beefsteak Burger, which Noonan calls the ultimate crowd-pleaser. “It’s not your stereotypical burger.”
If you check out the full food lineup, you’ll notice that not every vendor is local — national chain Shake Shack made the list (not that anyone will be complaining) — but it’s the inclusion of long-standing establishments, like Old Ebbitt Grill and the Hamilton, that are sure to lure D.C. natives. “Each city kind of comes with its specialty items and we definitely go for the items that these restaurants are known for,” says Noonan, citing famed Ben’s Chili Bowl as another example. “They’re serving what you could think of as festival fare, chili or a chili dog, but they’ve won awards for their Jumbo Beef Dog. It’s a high-quality item, even though it’s still a hot dog.”
If all this talk is already making you hungry for a visit to the nation’s capital, then Andrés and C3 Presents should consider their job well done. Because this weekend isn’t just about creating another landmark festival — it’s also about saving a D.C. landmark. The festival benefits the restoration of the National Mall, which hasn’t seen a renovation in 30 years. So celebrating D.C.’s flavor tastes even sweeter for Noonan and his team. “I would love to see it continue for years to come.”