Trillectro Music Festival returns for the sixth year better than ever
An electronic hip-hop festival created by three D.C. natives produces the best line-up yet
As I stepped into the 2018 Trillectro Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, my spirits were lifted by young people running around in brightly colored outfits, music blasting in the background and the building anticipation I felt to see so many amazing artists that were to take the stage in the following hours.
The D.C. born festival skyrocketed in attendance as 2018 promised performances from SZA, 2 Chainz, RL Grime, Playboi Carti, Young Thug and The Internet. The venue was packed on Sept. 22 with a high-spirited mix of hip-hop, electronic and R&B music fans. Creators Quinn Coleman, Marcel Marshall and Modi Oyewole have grown the festival since 2012.
“Coachella inspired the creation of our festival in that we saw how music brought people together in a beautiful, unique way,” Oyewole said in an interview with The Eagle. “We put our own spin on it and developed a culture within our hometown.”
Trillectro is an independent music festival created by three DMV locals. The event focuses on bringing in exciting names from the world of hip-hop and electronic music and also incorporates showcasing local, up-and-coming talent. The name, Trillectro, is a portmanteau of “trill,” a word that informally symbolizes the authenticity of hip-hop music, and “electro,” which represents the electronic genre of music. The 2018 lineup featured up-and-coming women like Rico Nasty and Snoh Aalegra. The festival is a single day event and is a guaranteed day well spent.
When asked about possibly expanding to a multiple day festival, the creators admitted that they thought about expanding, but expressed their worry in the fact that multiple day festivals in the past had not done well in D.C., and believe that the single day festival fits their audience best at this moment.
Oyewole said when the team begins to curate the lineup, it is important to book the artists early. He told The Eagle that it isn’t so much the competition that is difficult, but more the conflicting schedules that so many artists have.
When the festival first started, some of Oyewole’s dream lineups/artist performances were N*E*R*D and Kid Cudi. According to Oyewole, in 2016, Cudi headlined their bill and debuted his lead single from his latest album, which was produced by Pharrell.
“Experiencing that felt even better than having that dream lineup, because if you had told us years ago when I stumbled upon Kid Cudi’s ‘Day N Nite’ on MySpace that he’d be headlining a 10K person festival that me and my friends created, I would have laughed in your face,” Oyewole said.
The crowds started to form around 4 p.m. for Young Thug, and the pavilion seats began to fill up as 2 Chainz and The Internet performed. 2 Chainz hyped up the audience, urging people to sing and dance in their seats. The Internet was the calm before the storm as they graced the audience with soft guitars and drums, as well as the lead singer, Syd Tha Kyd’s mellow voice.
I felt light-hearted and happy after The Internet’s set, and walked around the festival grounds seeing friends laying on the grass above the pavilion, or people taking pictures in front of the smaller, more personal Hill Stage, located up the hill from the mainstage.
The pavilion seating was completely filled during Playboi Carti’s concert, where the crowd singing the lyrics in unison were heard all the way at the entrance. After Playboi Carti finished, the second syllable of Trill-ectro was introduced as Carnage and RL Grime played their sets next. Both were DJ sets that made the crowd standing in the Lawn section go crazy. The group of festival-goers in the Lawn were pressed up against the gate facing the stage, eager to jump up and down to the beats the DJs produced.
SZA and her three-piece band closed the show with the most entertaining hour of performances that I have seen in a while. Her following has grown in the past year, and the screams of adoration pouring from the fans were heard loud and clear. SZA spoke to the crowd as if they were close friends.
She even came with a few guest appearances up her sleeve, which is rare for festival performances. Throughout the show, the 27-year-old brought out rappers, fittingly two D.C. natives, Goldlink and Wale. The singer later featured Jay Rock to perform his hit “King’s Dead,” sending the crowd ablaze. After singing her popular hit, “The Weekend,” SZA closed with “20 Something,” a slower song which fit the crowd’s mood as the amazing day came to an end.
Trillectro was a huge success. It is safe to say they accomplished the goal of returning bigger and better than ever. The creators of Trillectro described their goals for this year’s event in the interview.
“Our plan this year was to return with a bigger and better lineup that still infused the right emerging talent, a hallmark of past Trillectro lineups,” Marshall said. “Merriweather Post Pavilion has undergone some major renovations since we were last there, so we knew we could step everything up a notch and provide festival goers with top notch amenities and bigger sponsor activations, as long as we delivered a solid lineup.”