The Infatuation's Debut EEEEEATSCON Is a 'Music Festival Catered Towards Food'

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"The food vendors feel like they’re the marquee talent," Infatuation co-founder Andrew Steinthal tells Billboard.

Women, cocaine and art used to be the main interests revered talent manager Shep Gordon used to handle back in the day. "It’s sex, drugs, rock & roll and food now,” Gordon said last week, adding dining to the classic trilogy of rock-star debauchery.

As a guest speaker at restaurant recommendation site The Infatuation’s first annual EEEEEATSCON food festival in Santa Monica, California, Gordon -- who has handled artists as varied as Teddy Pendergrass and Alice Cooper -- spoke to a captivated audience about synergy between musicians and chefs.

“[Chefs] have the same lives an Alice Cooper or a Mick Jagger were living,” Gordon said. “Singerss have to do their hits [when they perform]; same thing with chefs. But they also want to create new things."

Gordon spoke about his time under mentor Roger Verge, a French chef and restaurateur. The talk highlighted just how much foodies intermingle with those in the entertainment and lifestyle biz. The connection is exactly why Infatuation co-founders Andrew Steinthal (former VP of PR at Warner Bros. Records) and Chris Stang (former VP of Marketing at Atlantic Records) decided to start their business. 

As someone whose career in the music business heavily encompassed schmoozing at some of the best restaurants New York City had to offer, Steinthal wanted to "build a place that would function as a cool discovery platform," he told Billboard at EEEEEATSCON. “Music really led us to the food thing. Food festivals are usually super boring. We wanted to do something that would attract a young crowd. This is more like a music festival that’s catered towards food. The food vendors feel like they’re the marquee talent.”

And the talent did not disappoint a bit. Gold 3D-molded passionfruit and pineapple popsicles were served at the American Express Gold lounge. Pasquale Jones’ delightful wood-fired pizzas, NoMad’s juicy chicken burgers, and Eataly’s cannoli filled up many bellies.

By the time night came, attendees were anxious to dance off the food they’d consumed. Rhymer and singer Lizzo helped.

After she ran through “Worship" (wearing a revealing black two-piece with a sheer cover-up), she said, “I will be here next year even if I'm not rapping singing and twerking” -- a hilarious testament to her love of food and just how many tents she hit up. Another one of her tracks fittingly featured an outdo that goes "Ooh, goo, cookies, cream…”

“Lizzo’s the best,” Steinthal said. “Her Instagram [handle] is LizzoBeEating. She’s such a natural fit.”

Duo The Knocks closed EEEEEATSCON out with stars twinkling behind them, highlighted by their 2016 jam “Comfortable.”

Steinthal aims to host several iterations of EEEEEATSCON next year, excited about the success of its debut. Earlier, Shep Gordon was asked how he helped calm rock stars when they were upset. "If someone is having a horrible day,” he began with a smile, “I like to start with Matzo ball soup.”


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