How does the Broccoli City lineup ultimately come together? Boardroom sits down with the masterminds behind the festival to find out.
The 2023 Broccoli City Festival is moving to the summer. The prominent brand is celebrating a decade in DC, and has already announced a star-studded lineup for July 15-16.
The festival typically happens in May, but if you’ve ever been, you know rain has been a frequent curse. Lil Uzi Vert and Jazmine Sullivan will headline the 2023 festival’s first day, and Brent Faiyaz will headline the finale. Popular acts like Glorilla, Asake, Chlöe, and Kodak Black are also slated to take the stage. General admission and VIP tickets went on sale on March 3.
Boardroom recently spoke with Broccoli City founders Brandon McEachern and Marcus Allen about how they built up the DC staple that has become far more than an annual music festival. Broccoli City has also launched initiatives to invest in and support Black communities in DC over the years. The festival is always Broccoli City’s biggest event, and the pair told Boardroom that pulling the lineup together is a challenge.
The founders said their bigger partnership with Live Nation came about when preparing for the ultimately cancelled 2020 festival. The 2020 lineup included DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, Megan Thee Stallion, Ari Lennox, Burna Boy, Doja Cat, Lucky Daye, and more. These big-name artists headline their concerts, so getting them on one lineup was a big deal for McEachern and Allen.
“Regarding the larger deal with Live Nation, that came about in 2020 because 2020 was special. If that festival happened, the landscape of the whole shit is different,” Allen said. “If you go back and look at that lineup, ain’t nobody fucking with that lineup.”
Allen talked about how curating the festival lineup starts early. For the 2020 lineup, Broccoli City had been working on it since the early fall of 2019. The 2020 Broccoli City Festival would have been the biggest one McEachern and Allen pulled off, and they had the ticket sales to prove it. When pulling these lineups together, McEachern and Allen always consider which artists will rise to prominence next and how their sounds will mesh into the schedule next to other musical acts. McEachern specifically called out Doja Cat, who dropped her widely popular album “Hot Pink” in 2019 ahead of the festival.
“Our  poster right now is in the Live Nation office next to Oprah, which means a lot inside these corporate offices,” Allen said.
Each day of the festival runs from 2 to 10 p.m., making 16 hours of programming to fill. Broccoli City hosts Little Bacon Bear and Mouse Jones will keep the show running this year, with DJ sets from DJ Flow, Everything Nice, and Jae Murphy on the schedule.
“This year’s lineup continues our tradition of celebrating culture in the DMV, both nationally and locally. We want to continue highlighting those who continue to play a role in driving progress in Black communities,” McEachern said in a statement. “Our goal is to always create a dope cultural experience and highlight a diverse group of artists who are taking Black music to new heights, and I’m proud of how it’s come together.”
The Broccoli City Festival will take over DC’s RFK Stadium Festival Grounds in July, but not before the brand kicks off a new event called the Tamarindo Festival with Adobo DMV on May 6. The Afro-Latin music festival will feature Afrobeats, reggaeton, dancehall, and more.
For more from McEachern and Allen on how they’ve grown the Broccoli City brand, check out their feature published as part of our Black History Month Playmakers series.
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