The District of Columbia is holding it’s annual concert, Chili Cook Off, this saturday, May 12th. The concert is sponsored by D.C.’s number one alternative music station, DC 101.
Well, what is Chili Cook off? The festival itself has two parts. The first being, what the event’s name suggests, a chili cooking competition. Chefs, amateur and professional alike, flock from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas to show off their skills. And the chili types are numerous. There are pots made with habanero peppers, beans, rice, chicken, beef, and even chocolate. All patrons are encouraged to visit the stands in the morning and try free samples. Once the samples are tried, concert-goers can vote for their favorite brew. Every year the competition gets more intense because the number of competitors has grown rapidly, as well as the event’s notoriety.
The second part of the festival is the one that draws real crowds, the concert itself. Past performers have included Neon Trees, Alice in Chains, Middle Class Rut, and even Weezer. The headliners at Chili Cook Off have brought upwards of seventy thousand people to RFK stadium, where the concert is held. And with such large crowds, things can get somewhat violent. Frequent Chili Cook Off goers participate in mosh pits, crowd surfing, and drinking contests. UMBC student Jessica King had this to say about the concert, “I go every year. The food is good, but the music is the real reason we go…My favorite performance was most definitely Stone Temple Pilots in 2010…I was in the very front and there were hundreds of people trying to jump on the stage…pure insanity.” But it would appear it is the insanity that makes Chili Cook Off the event of the summer in the nation’s capital.
This year’s lineup include Incubus, Neon Trees, Civil Twilight, and AWOLNATION among others. The reigning chili competition champions will be returning and promise to wow with their new recipe. Only time will tell what this year’s Chili Cook Off will bring.