Willie Nelson and Jackson Browne headlined Merriweather Post Pavilion’s 50th birthday party Saturday night.
Charm City Cakes — the Baltimore establishment founded by celebrity Food Network baker Duff Goldman — provided the cake.
The 3-foot-by-4-foot lemon-flavored cake was shaped like the nationally renowned Columbia concert venue, which is in the process of a wide-ranging, $55 million renovation.
Small figures of Nelson, Browne, as well as Grace Potter and Father John Misty, who also performed, stood under a white pavilion looking out on the green buttercream-frosted lawn, dotted with trees and bushes.
The Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, which owns the venue, ordered the cake a month and a half in advance, said Ian Kennedy, the executive director.
(He said he remembered the exact date, May 30, because he spent so long excitedly looking at the rendering on the order form.)
The wait paid off Saturday, when Kennedy tasted both the lawn and the pavilion. His review: “Amazing.”
The venue posted a photo of the cake on its Instagram page, with the caption: “Wouldn’t be much of a birthday without cake, now would it?”
“It was a nice summer flavor,” Kennedy said. “It was a hot afternoon and the thought was that lemon would be refreshing.”
The quirky truck-in-tree art installation toward the back of the lawn was also depicted — Kennedy’s favorite part of the cake.
“It’s a cool thing that’s uniquely Merriweather,” he said. “We had to have the barns, too. Obviously, that’s a signature piece.”
The cake was heavy, Kennedy said, although he didn’t know the exact weight, and the finished product was dazzling.
“It seems like they can kinda just do anything,” he said. “This is Charm City Cakes. If there are pros at this, it’s them.”
The bakery was closed Sunday and couldn’t be reached for comment.
The 50th anniversary show itself was special because of the history Nelson and Browne have at Merriweather, Kennedy said.
Both musicians have performed there countless times; Nelson sang “Georgia on My Mind” onstage with President Jimmy Carter; and Browne recorded his 1977 hit “Running on Empty” live at the pavilion.
“It felt like it had little bit of a different vibe,” he said. “Part of it is the crowd. The biggest thing was that a lot of people there were there 40 years ago when Jackson Browne recorded ‘Running on Empty.’”