Last weekend (9/21) I had the chance to attend Virgin Mobile‘s annual FreeFest, a huge outdoor festival with some of the hottest music acts around on three stages, all helping to raise awareness and money to combat youth homelessness via VM’s Re*Generation program. It all took place over in Columbia, MD at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, and although it did rain the majority of the day, everyone still had a (wet) blast. This year I brought my trusty pal Joey along for the ride, we flew into D.C. on Friday night, spent the entire day at FreeFest on Saturday, then flew back to Los Angeles on Sunday. A whirlwind of a trip that I seriously needed, a small break from LA is always a good thing.
Before the rain set in, we were able to catch two acts that I was dying to see, the first was Chvrches, and I thought they were incredible live. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry is fantastically adorable, and she sounded great live. The Scottish synthpop band is definitely a new obsession of mine, for sure check out their latest album, The Bones of What You Believe (iTunes) released earlier this past week.
The second act was Swedish duo Icona Pop who whipped the crowd up into a frenzy just as the rain started ending their set of course with the smash hit, “I Love It.” I was so happy to see both Chvrches and Icona Pop (who bartended after their performance, see below) before the grassy field at the West Stage became a complete muddy mess. Once Icona Pop was finished, we made our way back to the Pavilion Stage where we were able to seek some shelter from the rain and caught a bunch of acts including: City and Colour, MGMT, The Avett Brothers and Vampire Weekend.
I was a little bummed out that we had to miss Robin Thicke (yes, he’s a bit cheesy and overexposed but he’s so cute) and Pretty Lights (who I heard put on an incredible show) but there was simply no way that I was going to walk through rain and mud in the dark, once we found a dry spot with seats, both Joey and I knew we had to stay put. Of course FreeFest would have been better with sunny blue skies but no one can control the weather, so we managed to have fun regardless of the moisture. Many thanks goes out to the folks at Virgin Mobile for having PopBytes at FreeFest again, this was our third year in a row, hopefully we’ll be back again next year, with clear skies!
Virgin Mobile FreeFest has always been about giving back. For the past four years, we’ve wanted to lighten things up in the face of a rough economy while drawing more attention to youth homelessness. And thanks to you, we’ve raised nearly $800,000, generated more than 75,000 hours of volunteer time and created over 25,000 outreach kits.
Your support over the last two Festival years has been outstanding! 2011 & 2012 donations helped build the Virgin Mobile RE*Generation House, a transitional living facility for homeless youth in Washington, D.C.
Icona Pop duo Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo guest bartend at Virgin Mobile’s 2013 FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD. All proceeds from the bar went to Virgin Mobile’s RE*Generation program to combat youth homelessness.
Disclosure: In accordance with FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I am part of the Virgin Mobile 12, a sponsored program by Virgin Mobile. All editorial content has been created by me and reflects my personal opinions.