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Landmark Music Festival: Day One

By Lindsay Maizland | 9/27/15 12:56pm | Updated 9/27/15 12:57pm

Rebirth Brass Band

Jaclyn Merica /

The first day of the National Mall’s first ever music festival included many interesting characters, food catered by some of D.C.’s most popular restaurants and music from local artists and big-names like Drake.

Landmark Music Festival opened its gates to excited guests Saturday morning. The two-day long festival is the first event in a national campaign to bring awareness and funds to the National Mall’s degradation . The Mall hasn’t been majorly renovated for 39 years and desperately needs attention.

London Souls

London Souls

Photo by: Jaclyn Merica

On Saturday morning, tickets were still available, but there were big crowds throughout the West Potomac Park. The Festival brought out many interesting characters: a young man wearing a kangaroo costume, a group of people who held up a cartoon cat head on a stick wherever they went, lots of AU students, the list goes on and on. Everyone danced and enjoyed the music at five different stages.

While Drake performed at 8:30 p.m., there were many notable performers during the day. The Empresarios , a local band with a “tropicaliente” sound, asked the crowd to hit the dance floor and let go. Even the security guards bobbed their heads along with the music, a unique blend of salsa, reggae, cumbia, dub and house sounds.

The London Souls , a rock-and-roll duo from New York City, pumped the crowd up with an incredibly passionate and lively performance. Their music is influenced by artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to The Beatles and has a contemporary sound.

On the same stage later in the night, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band drew a huge crowd even as it started to rain. People of all ages joined the massive dance party and enjoyed the brass band’s interesting funk and hip-hop inspired interpretation.

While taking a break from dancing, guests could enjoy a meal at the DC Eats food court. In hopes of supporting local restaurants, all food available at the Festival was catered by D.C.’s very own. Amsterdam Falafelshop served their classic falafel sandwich; after waiting in a huge line (obviously well worth the wait), customers could add their own toppings including fresh tomato and cucumber and baba ghanoush. Toki Underground and Maketto provided Taiwanese cuisine-inspired pork and vegetable steamed bao. Duke’s Grocery , from the heart of Dupont Circle, offered delicious burgers topped with locally-grown arugula and other ingredients. Visitors could satisfy their sweet tooth at Pitango Gelato .

Other staples at any D.C. festival were present: great views of the Washington Monument, volunteers encouraging festival-goers to register to vote and an abundance of recycling bins. Visitors were also asked to bring their own water bottles to fill up at water stations around the park. They were also asked to leave their weed at home; smoking at a national park is a federal crime.Landmark’s first day seemed to be a success; we’ll see how the second day compares.