Billboard Hot 100 Festival had just wrapped and I found myself in a Friday’s getting a turkey burger at last call, recalling the day. An all-day festival will take the wind out of you if you let it, but Billboard was unique in its structure. I didn’t realize that Jones Beach Theater could get so packed (a caveat that would later rear its ugly head on day two), but we made it out alive. Day two was probably my favorite day of all. It was the most eclectic and was parsed with bands and acts I hadn’t seen before. X Ambassadors is one of the most passionate performing band out there, even overcoming some technical difficulties playing cuts off their recent breakout album, VHS.
Somehow I knew Fetty Wap was going to be crazy. Even showing up about 15 minutes before his set seemed to not be early enough. The Beach stage was packed and I’m not even doing it justice with any iteration of how I can say it. It got to the point where fans couldn’t get in to the outdoor stage anymore. You would have to be living under a rock to have not heard any of Fetty’s current hits. Fans sang “Trap Queen” and “My Way” like a chorus who had practiced at sound check. The Maine are always a good time and it’s great to see them get such a warm reception at a big festival. The band that impressed me that day with their energy and zeal was Misterwives. I’m a bad person for not seeing them sooner, but it made the hot sun beaming down at the main stage worth it. I knew that this band was destined for big things, but I imagine with every performance they prove it over and over again.
Remember that caveat that I mentioned back in the beginning? Well, that affected the three top acts of the day. Due to fire marshall regulations, only a limited amount of photographers were allowed to shoot Skrillex and Justin Bieber. After watching a few minutes of Nicki Minaj, I got to see some very talented artists in tow: Tori Kelly, Lindsay Stirling and Ryn Weaver – the holy trinity of awesome. Each artist brought their unique talents with their own flavor to the stage. Kelly is one of the best singers I’ve seen live, Stirling is a ball of energy that is a maestro with her violin, and Weaver put on one of the craziest and most entertaining sets of the evenr. All in all, if you were a fan, you got your money’s worth. There are definitely kinks to be worked out, most notably finding a bigger space to have the actual festival if it comes back next year. But for its first year, Billboard should come back and stay awhile.