Tactics. Trends. Best Practices.
Play “Freebird”! Blissed- out fans rush the stage at he Sweetlife Festival.
Hey, kids: Let’s
put on a show!
What a music
festival can do for
Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza… Sweetlife?
The latter may lack the cred of other popular music festivals, but
that hardly mattered to the 15,000 or so fans who rocked out to the
Strokes, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles, the Cold War Kids, and six
more acts at the Sweetlife Festival in May in Maryland.
The concert was the brainchild of Sweetgreen, a Washington,
D.C.–based restaurant chain; it’s also the centerpiece of the
company’s marketing efforts. Founded in 2007 by college
friends Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru,
all 26, Sweetgreen aims to offer an organic, locally sourced,
and inexpensive alternative to the usual fast-food joints. It has
10 locations (eight in the D.C. area and two in Philadelphia),
250 employees, and annual revenue of about $15 million.
Music has been front and center for the chain since its earliest
days, when the struggling founders boosted traffic by setting
up a DJ booth on the sidewalk outside its first shop, in D.C.’s
Dupont Circle neighborhood. The company also has its own
Pandora station and considers Coachella a company holiday. In
2009, it held its first live-music event—a mini block party in the
store’s parking lot—with local indie rock bands.
The block party helped bump sales 20 percent over the previ-
november 2011 | INC. | 111