Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival 2017
As we arrived on the scene of The 2017 Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival the crowd and the energy were DEFINITELY felt even before we entered the theatre. The weather was beautiful and to top it off the show was fully sold out. Up to 15,000 fans attended the Northwell Health Theater at Jones Beach on both days of the festival to see performances from some of their favorite chart topping artists. Artists like Major Lazer, Marshmello, Camila Cabello, Cash Cash, Young Thug, Lil Yachty and more all rocked the stages at Jones beach. In the two days of the festivities, nearly 30,000 packed the festival grounds as Big Sean, Zedd, Gucci Mane, Demi Lovato, Ty Dolla $ign and Rick Ross among others took the stage.
The festival, now in its third year with DOPENESS in attendance thanks to Billboard and LiveNation, has proven to be a major draw for fans in the New York area having brought massive artists to stage in the past years including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, The Weeknd, The Chainsmokers and many more; since its inception in 2015.
We would love to share our experience of the festival through our lenses and the lenses of the other photographers in attendance; have a peek below
Billboard in the past 3 years has brought acts like The Chainsmokers, Justin Bieber, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, J. Cole, and The Weeknd to the East Coast New York Area. The festival hosted acts from all across the musical spectrum from pop and alternative to EDM and Hip-Hop giving festival goers and taste of everything they wanted to hear and even introducing them to new up and coming artist. This year they didn’t disappoint bringing, even more, star power to their two-day jam-packed schedule.
Hot 100 Day 1 Performances
“We’ve been thrilled with the growth of the festival over the past few years…To see a sold-out crowd for this festival in its third year proves that there is a need for a different kind of music festival in this area. We couldn’t have done it without a partner like Live Nation and we look forward to bringing the festival back year and year.” said John Amato, President, The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group.
John Amato was also caught jamming out to Cash Cash on the Herbal Essence Beach Stage on Day 2 receiving a shout out from the group for organizing one of best and most popular music festivals on the East Coast. The crowd, of course, responded with yells and cheers showing their admiration and appreciation for his efforts. “It’s great I didn’t even ask for them to do that…Guess that means I must be doing something right. Right?” laughed Amato while talking to DOPENESS
Across four different stages, the festival hosted performances from Blackbear. Phoebe Ryan, Lauv, Zedd, A$AP Ferg, Marshmello, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Major Lazer, Camila Cabello, Gucci Mane, Demi Lovato and Rick Ross to name a few were all brought out for fans to enjoy. Guest appearances from Colombian hit maker, J Balvin. The Cool Kids, Fat Joe, FatBoy SSE were also on stages with fellow artist.
Bella Thorne Poses for DOPENESS
“I didn’t think the crowd would get that rowdy,” said Cherub, The alternative duo from Tennessee who performed a nine song setlist including their fan favorite tracks “Chocolate Strawberries” and “Doses and Mimosas”. Artist such as UglyGod, Kodie Shane, Carter Reeves, Young Bombs and T-Pain showed up echoing the same sentiment, it was all about the music and hyping the fans from the start of day one to the close of day two.
Cherub stole the show at Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival on Day 1 at the Herbal Essence Beach Stage. The Columbia Records group showcased their flash and flair on stage bring the empty venue alive once the music started playing through the speakers. People flocked to the stage and once the empty patches of grass turned into screaming fans begging for more music once the set was finished. Female and male fans alike echoed waves of “I love you” and admiration for the two-man band from Nashville.
I personally never heard of Cherub till I had met Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber who I struck up a conversation with before setup. After befriending the group, we discussed our fascination with tattoos and started to compare. From tattoos on Jordan’s right knee of a stick figure getting its face blown away with a gun sporting the saying “Fuck You Die Bitch” to Huber’s Giant Ode to Watermelon on his shoulder one caught my eye that stood out. Half of a broken heart with a simple fine red outline wrapped around a line of cursive reading “Prom 2k17”. “This was from the time we actually played at my high school prom,” said Huber about a matching tattoo the duo shares as a reminder from the experience. “I went to a catholic high school and with our lyrical content it was pretty surprising they let us perform.” The pair looked at each other after and laughed as if they were twins sharing the same thought only they would understand.
Shortly after UglyGod performed the two prepared to leave their trailer. Huber making the final decision on his hat selection between a normal black snapback and a funny looking sailors hat. You should just take both and switch halfway through I said half-jokingly not thinking he would listen. “Great Idea!” Huber said through a bright smile and black sunglasses too dark to see his eyes behind.
As Cherub approached the stage I stood silently watching them joke calmly right before the start of their set. There was no hype, no nerves, just the sheer excitement of performing and doing what they love. Right before they walked onto stage Kelley stands next to me slipping of his thin Columbian slippers he picked up from one of his previous shows on the tour. “I hate wearing shoes while performing. Being barefoot makes me feel free.” I laughed thinking he was crazy for doing so but eventually began to understand what he meant.
Rocking With Cherub
As the music started the two men seemed to connect as one. Feeding off the energy of one another almost as if something cosmic was taking place right before my eyes. They both showcased not only their vocal skills and their ability to shred a guitar to pieces but completely dominate a show. I watched in awe as fans didn’t want to take their eyes off the stage afraid they might miss what would happen next. At one point, I feared Huber would electrocute himself as he fell to his knees to kill a guitar solo at the end of a song not noticing the beer on the amp had spilled soaking his guitar. Unbothered and focused on the moment he continued to strum cord after cord eyes sealed shut before quickly turn to the crowd letting out a triumphant battle cry to end. Shortly after he turned as smiled It was magical. The Electro-Alternative band from Nashville had impressed me not only with their music but the aura they produced.
As the set came to a close, they made their way to the wings of the stage drenched in sweat. As the stage crew began to breakdown for the next act I couldn’t help but let them know they gained a fan with their performance. We all laughed and took off to backstage after they greeted their fans and family that were in attendance. “I didn’t think the crowd would get that rowdy, I loved it and it was awesome.” said, Jordan Kelley when talking about the atmosphere during his time on stage. In my mind, I thought how could you expect anything less? The humble un-rock star like the group from Nashville had shown me they were nothing less than true artists. It was rare to see a group that was truly all about the passion and love of their music. From start to finish they never took the foot off the gas turning up every song to nothing less than 100. Out of all this, they made sure I walked away with one key thing about the reason they perform the way they do. “It’s just fun. We love it.”
Later into the afternoon, once the blistering sun cooled into gentle swaying ocean breeze, fans witnessed the intense stage presence from Lil Yatchy and his Sailing Team. Donning the signature braids with red beads he calmly rode on the back of the staff golf cart waving at fans in the crowd.
“If you ever had someone tell you that you can’t do something say FUCK YOU” – Lil Yatchy
“FUCK YOU!” the crowd echoed in waves at the Billboard Hot 100 Sun Stage.
Performing signature tracks like Kyle’s iSpy, Minnesota, and Peek-a-Boo. He was dead set on getting the crowd hyped into a frenzy. “Can I get Mosh Pit?” Yelled the Sailing Team frontman before swirling pits of bodies expanded through the crowd. Other members of the Sailing Team showed face as well.
Kodie Shane announced the release date for her next project on August 25th.
“I just want to make my music and get it out there.” Said, Shane, when asked about her new project and taking the next step as an artist. She also talked about her 2016 hit single “Sad” featuring Lil Yatchy. which garnered her major popularity from her Zero Gravity EP.
Deeper into the set the “Hood Pope” himself A$AP Ferg made a surprise guest appearance gliding from the wings of the stage. Opening with the hit single “Plain Jane” from his new album Still Striving; Ferg amped the crowd with his hype track lifting people from their feet to their apex screaming lyrics. Backstage he talked to T-Pain and DOPENESS about how he’s planned on hitting the studio later in the night. A$AP Mob’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 is set to hit the public August 25th, 2017. There has been no word on a release date change and one shouldn’t be anticipated.
All in all, the combination of The Swim Team and A$AP Ferg killed their Day 2 set on the Sun Stage at Billboard.
Lil Yatchy performs with A$AP Ferg
After performing on the Heatseekers Stage Carter Reeves took time out to talk to DOPENESS chronicling his rise in the music industry as well as his time moving from Boston to Manhattan and finally making the transition to Los Angeles. On his late March EP release Fresh Fruit, Reeves talks about how he was looking for a different sound. He combined his love for jazz and funk fusion with “New York was great for me, it helped me mature and learn a drive for my music. Everyone in New York is always non-stop and I took that work ethic, that grind, and put it into my music.” While laid up backstage we also talk about the tattoo he sports on his right forearm written in French. He told us that it was his reminder to always go all in on your dreams. “It’s hard touring and being away from your family but this is what I want to do it’s my dream. This is all my eggs in one basket so to speak.”
Lauv caught up with DOPENESS and let us check out their soundcheck earlier in the day during setup. Fine tuning levels and making sure everything worked they jumped right into performing their hit single “I Like Me Better” which now boasts over 100 million streams on Spotify. The soundcheck sounded impeccable and the vocals and drumming was more than solid, to say the least. Once performance time rolled around they debuted new unreleased music for fans to digest leaving them clamoring for more. Lauv didn’t hold anything back during his performance dropping to his knees beautifully conveying every emotional feeling behind his songs. “It was dope, I loved the fan and their energy,” said Ari Lauv on his time on stage at the festival.
Actress and Social Media superstar Bella Thorne was also in attendance and caught up with us talking about her outfit combination. “I wanted to do something different,” sporting a bathing suit top and bottom wearing Jamaican-style fishnet pants. “I use a lot glitter I love glitter but this time I went half and half all over. Half of my eyebrow then half on my face and stomach.” The look worked for as her as we went to the side stage to greet fans as they screamed once she appeared from the V.I.P. section to watch her boyfriend Blackbear perform. Blackbear killed his set on the Beach Stage, drawing one of the biggest crowds I saw during my time viewing performances at that venue. Backed by a live band, Blackbear performed popular hits “IDFC” and “Do Re Mi” which not only threw Bella Thorne into a party frenzy but the entire crowd. He also performed alongside Phoebe Ryan with their new get-over-your-ex hit “Forgetting All About You”.
Hot 100 Day 2 Performances
The most memorable performance came from the party man “Trap Gawd” himself Waka Flocka Flame. From drenching the fans in gallons of water to crowd surfing he did it all. Waka is the epitome of a party animal and can get any crowd off their feet and head banging like they his dreads. At one point during his set, he left the stage and walked directly into the crowd performing hit songs like “Hard In Da Paint” and “Grove Street Party” it was hard to resist the urge to jam out and lose your mind. Just when the fans thought it couldn’t get any crazier he brought out social media sensation and funny man FatBoy SSE. Together the duo created the ultimate festival party scene that no other artist I saw did while on stage. “No one better drop anyone crowd surfing and keep em away from security.” Commanded of the crowd. Who is going to tell Waka no? The crowd surfing and mosh pits ensued through almost his entire time on stage. It was for a lack of a better term “lit”. The Billboard Hot 100 Festival was a giant music fueled party from start to finish. Not one act that I witnessed from the start of it was out of place. It was an experience that I doubt fans will ever forget and people are already talking about how they will follow it up next year.
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