This past weekend on Long Island, NY, Billboard hosted its first annual Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival at the picturesque Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Having grown up on Long Island myself, Jones Beach is a staple venue with the perfect beach backdrop. This venue is no newbie to holding festival crowds but with this being my first festival at Jones Beach I was a little skeptical going into it.
It is not often you see Nicki Minaj and The Faint on the same lineup but that juxtaposition is exactly what drew me to this festival. Billboard was able to please the top 40 radio listening masses with acts Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, Lil Wayne and Fetty Wap while catering to a festival crowd with headliner The Weeknd, Skrillex, Axwell /\ Ingrosso and Cold War Kids while still maintaining festival credibility with acts like Ryn Weaver, Holy Ghost! and X Ambassadors.
The crowd was like no other festival crowd I have been a part of before but I knew that going into it. It was odd seeing hoards of 14-year-old girls rocking Xo gear (do you even know what that means?) but at the same time I couldn’t help but applaud those same girls for recognizing and appreciating The Weeknd. I swear, MJ was resurrected during his Cant Feel My Face performance; it was chillingly good. A record setting 23,000 tween concoction attended on Sunday for the highly anticipated, apparently long overdue, Biebs performance. It. Was. Mayhem.
Being a festival veteran I knew that Billboard Hot 100 was going to be different then what I was used to, and it was. I got to photograph and experience a lot of pop performances I normally wouldn’t while simultaneously revisiting indie favorites that deserve the wide-reaching commercial recognition that Billboard brings. Ryn Weaver was hands down my favorite set but the highlight was Justin Bieber closing out the weekend by bringing Skrillex on stage for the Jack Ü summer banger, Where Are Ü Now. Well done Billboard, well done.
See the full album below. All photographs © Dana Pacifico for FestivalSnobs.com