Chipotle Cultivate Festival Wins a Critic Over

06/08/2014

We’re over saturated with brands trying to get our attention. At bus stops, commercials before movie previews, advertisements in bathroom stalls, billboard after billboard, between tweets or Facebook posts, flashing banners on webpages–we’re inundated with brands saying “Look at me!” And so, when Chipotle decides to organize a music festival the skeptic in me can only think “More marketing, yeesh!” But there’s something different about Chipotle’s Cultivate, which took place yesterday at Golden Gate Park.

Thousands of people came to get a taste of festival’s offering which included: 1) local restaurant providers like 4505 Meats, Ritual Coffee, Three Babes Bakeshop 2) Unique Chipotle dishes like kale salads and gorditas 3) Performances from Charli XCX, Neon Trees, and more 4) Celebrity chefs like Graham Elliot talking about cooking. Unlike most festivals with exorbitant ticketing fees, Cultivate is free. And yes, that free ticket means you have to endure a marketing booth featuring the latest, best juicing blender, or an arcade where you can role play the “scarecrow” from Chipotle’s popular advertisement–but it’s not over the top. My skepticism faded, as I imbibed in a local beer from Magnolia Brewery, sitting comfortably on a warm (for San Francisco) Saturday afternoon in Golden Gate–feeling good that a corporation was providing artists, of all likes and sizes, a chance to shine. I appreciate that Chipotle is trying to educate people about eating local, while also supporting local vendors, and you won’t see me thinking twice about attending next year.