Every year, the Billboard Hot 100 teams up with Live Nation to host an epic music festival, which features some of the biggest and best artists of this generation.
Some of the headlining artists from this year were: Ariana Grande, Fetty Wap, J.Cole, Martin Garrix, and Calvin Harris. There were a myriad of styles each artist specialized in, including pop, hip-hop, R&B, rap, and electronic music.
This year, on Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st, we had the luxury of attending this prestigious event.
If you look up the Nikon Jones Beach Theatre, it looks pretty challenging to get to by public transport, but the organizers at the Billboard Hot 100 came to the rescue. There was a free shuttle bus provided at Wantagh train station, which ran to and from the festival all day. Not only did it make getting to the concert venue exponentially easier, but also the buses were extremely comfortable, and the drivers were incredibly friendly.
Once you got to the venue, there were four separate check in areas for: the general admission ticket holders, VIP ticket holders, media/press check in, and a check in for artists, managers, and their guests. The areas you could access at Nikon depended on what type of ticket you had. There was a special yacht that only artists, VIP, and All Access holders were allowed to use. VIP and Mastercard ticket holders were able to access the pit, and the seating areas closest to the main stage. There were also exclusive VIP and Mastercard seating areas and viewing areas at each performance area. If you were 21+ years old, then you were able to go to the bar area, where drinks were available for you to purchase. The areas that were open to everybody were the main ground area, where there was food and drink vendors, the standing area at the two smaller stages, and access to the nosebleed seating at the main stage.
As bags were not allowed into the premises of the festival, there was a complementary bag check that attendees were able to use. If you decide to go to the Billboard Hot 100 Festival, make sure you are prepared for a long day in the sun: acts started playing at 12:30pm, and the day did not end until 11:00pm. Comfortable shoes, and plenty of water are a must if you want to last the whole day.
Day 1 was glorious, with a clear sky, and a sun that shone as brightly as the stars performing on the stages. There were three separate stage areas at the event: the W Hotels Next Up Stage (for up-and-coming artists), the Sun Stage (which had some of the more established artists), and the Hot 100 Stage (which had the biggest artists). Each day, a total of roughly 25 artists would perform, providing the attendees with plenty of performers to choose between.
The graphics at each stage were incredible; even the smaller acts had phenomenal graphic displays, so props to whoever was responsible for that. For example, Elephante had a moving elephant animation on the projector during his set, and Marshmello had numerous different marshmallow related animations, such as a marshmallow humorously riding a bike with no hands. The graphics elevated each set, and gave the people really far back something to look at, especially if they were too far away to get a good view of the artists on stage.
The Billboard Hot 100 Festival is pretty renowned for having a fairly young crowd, and this year was no exception. I would say the average age was probably about 14-16, but there were certainly people of all ages present, including babies and grandparents.
Every act we saw was absolutely incredible, but there were certainly a few standout performances. For Day 1, the acts that blew us away were: Elephante, Cheat Codes, Madeon, and Martin Garrix. Please bare in mind that we were obviously limited in the number of performers we could see, so if they are not on our list, it may be because we did not see them.
Two of those artists gave a world-class performance, and their sets were some of the best I have ever had the honor of seeing. Elephante’s set was exceptional, he read the crowd perfectly, his transitions were on point, and his remixes were mind blowing. Martin Garrix, as one would expect, was also unbelievable, and he had the benefit of being on the main stage. His songs were fantastic, and his performance was quite the spectacle – it was extremely elaborate, with fire and smoke exploding at the perfect time when the beat dropped. The main stage acts had that advantage; the stage was more elaborate, and they had the luxury of fire, dancers, confetti, smoke, and extravagant lighting while they were performing, which gave their sets that extra wow-factor.
The second day of the festival was just as incredible as the first day. In the evening, it did unfortunately rain, but for us that added to the experience. It began pouring when Galantis took to the stage, and because his sets are so experiential and hard hitting, it was rather fitting that the rain was beating down on us.
The Day 2 standouts were Ryos, Seeb, Galantis, Marshmello, and Calvin Harris – all of whom did an outstanding job at showcasing their superior musical capabilities. Seeing Calvin Harris live was especially exciting for me, and although it shouldn’t shock me that he was incredible, it did. As Calvin Harris is so commercially successful, it can be easy to overlook the incredible producing he does, and purely focus on the well-known melody and lyrics. Although his songs are catchy, and very well put together, seeing him live put him in a whole new light. Yes, he played his classics, but he also mixed together new and exciting beats, which reminded me of what a talented DJ and producer that he is, and I had to chastise myself for often overlooking that.
Something that struck me about all of the artists at the Billboard Hot 100 was how humble they were, and supportive they were towards their fellow musicians. For example, Gryffin – who is a musical genius that has mastered so many different instruments – brought a violinist and a singer on stage. Quinn XCII also brought out a fellow artist for one song, who was a trumpet player, and he got the opportunity to show the audience what he was made of. It was truly inspiring how much each artist was willing to support true talent, even if they were not well known.
A couple of the many exemplary aspects of the Billboard Hot 100 Festival were the organization and staff. Everybody working there knew exactly what they were doing, and they were so helpful if we ever needed to know anything. Each member of security had a sheet informing them of which passes were allowed into their area, so there were no mistakes in that respect. Furthermore, they were extremely cautious of everybody’s safety, to the extent that they would pour water into the crowd’s mouths, so that they would not become dehydrated and pass out.
Now, here is a very important message for anyone who wants to attend a festival of this magnitude. Make sure you keep your belongings with you at all times, even if your belongings are in closed off areas, such as the VIP or media compound.
Special thanks to Live Nation for the tickets, we had such a blast! And another special thanks for the free pizza; it truly was the cherry on top of an incredible event.
See you next year![slideshow]