Chipotle Cultivate Festival
By Sally A. Schwartz

 Spring is here and festivals are starting to kick off in all their glory and the finest food, music and drink is able to be found if you just know where to look. Looking for me wasn’t hard on April 18th  when Chipotle Mexican Bar & Grill hosted the free Cultivate Festival at Westworld, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Chipotle's idea is that eating fast food doesn’t have to be a "fast food experience" and eating fresh is a good start to that experience. This is a concept that was started by Chipotle's founder and co-CEO Steve Ellis. The first doors opened in 1993 and as the company gained in popularity for its food, it also became known for selecting produce and supplies that are grown and raised responsibly. Currently the restaurant chain owns and operates nearly 1,800 establishments with more than 15 Chipotle restaurants outside of the United States.

Chipotle teamed up with other sponsors such as: IZZE Sparkling Juice, Tabasco, Naked Juice, Organic Valley and Tree Top Apple Juice for the festival, which featured cooking demonstations by chefs such as: Amanda Freitag, Joshua Hebert, Charleen Badman, Richard Blais and Christopher Schlattman. Local food artisans were also on hand offering samples and vending products. There was a Kids Zone too.

A festival wouldn’t be complete without music and, if you were there early enough, you were lucky to listen to DJ Christopher Golub and the bands: Jared & the Mill and Magic Man. If you were like me and got caught up in the traffic, you may have been able to catch the performances of: MS MR, Bleachers and Twenty One Pilots. I was very impressed with the bands that I was able to catch in performance. Theyl interacted with the audience and. IZZE did a fantastic job of keeping everything running on time. 

As a photographer down in front, you sometimes have the luxury to look behind you to see a wall of fans waiting patiently for the bands to take the stage. Many festival fans stood in front of the stage for a long time not wanting to move for fear of  losing their spot, so I was very happy to see that free water was being passed out from stagehands to the crowd. 

It was the first time that Arizona hosted the Chipotle Cultivate Festival and it was a success. However, I would like to make some suggestions for the nexty one-- the traffic was insane and I think that it could have been handled in a much more organized way. I also think that a second water station should have been provided. The line to refill water bottles was over an hour and a half wait by the afternoon hours. 

As a reminder to everyone heading out to summer festivals,  the sun is not your friend when you are out in it all day. Take a hat, sunblock and some form of container of and for water.  The other thing is remember where you have parked your car. If necessary take a photo of where you parked so that when you leave you can find your car more easily. 

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