Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2013 created a seamlessly communal experience, giving fans a chance to see their favorite acts at an incredible location. The event continues to raise funds for the Sasha Bruce Re*Generation House, a transitional home for homeless youth in Washington, D.C. Last year, the event was able to raise enough funds to actually build the homeless shelter. This year, the proceeds from FreeFest will go to maintain the facilities.
The Merriweather Post Pavilion once again was set up like a musical playground, with stages spread out to avoid any sound bleed but with plenty of things to do, see, eat and drink along the way.
The Dance Forest mimicked being inside a tent while avoiding the claustrophobic and sweaty scene as revelers checked out acts like Washed Out, Congorock and Madeon. The West Stage featured some of the most buzzed acts such as Icona Pop drawing a huge early crowd and those crowds stuck around to watch Kaskade, Robin Thicke and Pretty Lights despite the steady rain.
Inside the Pavilion, MGMT was a psychedelic treat and The Avett Brothers drew the loudest crowd of the festival. Vampire Weekend was the perfect way to close out the large stage and Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2013.
The highlights of the festival were Icona Pop, The Avett Brothers and Vampire Weekend. The Avett Brothers were the best surprise of FreeFest, drawing in newbies and passionate fans with their diverse set.
Vampire Weekend’s headlining set was built off the strength of their catalog. Just three albums in, the band continues to mine new genres to create some great pop music. Drawing heavily from “Modern Vampires of the City,” their latest album, Vampire Weekend included plenty of older hits including “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” “Boston (Ladies of Cambridge),” “A-Punk” and set closer “Walcott.”
The rain cast a dreary note for the second half of the festival but that did not ruin the mood for the thousands of fans that stayed until the end. While getting something for free could mean taking it for granted, FreeFest attendees did no such thing, making for one a special event.
With a great lineup, location and price (free), if you couldn’t guess by the name, Virgin Mobile FreeFest has carved out a nice niche for itself in the crowded world of American music festivals, while at the same time giving back to the community.