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Billboard Hot 100 Festival 2018: Best Moments From Day One
The fourth annual Billboard Hot 100 Festival kicked off Saturday (Aug. 18) at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater.
With headlining performances on the way from superstars Halsey and Rae Sremmurd, the day got off to a strong start with performances from rising DJs, rappers and alt-pop artists -- as well as one band who just cracked the Hot 100 for the first time in the past month -- and just continued on through triumphant sets from EDM hitmakers and hip-hop heartthrobs.
See our recap of Day One's highlights so far below, and check back throughout the day for more memorable moments as they happen.
12:18 p.m. Billboard Dance founder, DJ and producer Matt Medved opened up the Hot 100 mainstage to sunny skies with rumbling pop-fueled house beats. As attendees rolled in, it wasn’t long until they started grooving to clubby reworks of Zedd’s “The Middle” and Avicii’s “Without You.” -- DAVID RISHTY
1:08 p.m. As dance fans head toward the Beach Stage to catch Bad Royale, they’re greeted by a filthy trap rendition of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.” The group is laced in black from head to toe. Phones away, trap arms out: It’s time to rage. -- D.R.
1:11 p.m. Electro-pop artist LIIV made sure to keep up the high energy on the main stage. The Honolulu native has been co-signed by Bruno Mars, and uses her 30-minute set to prove why. At just 17 years old, the singer-guitarist — dresses in and Avril Lavigne-inspired look with a silver belt chain and heavy red eyeshadow — delivers pitch perfect alt-pop tracks that captivate the small but dedicated crowd that includes her mom and friends. -- LYNDSEY HAVENS
1:39 P.M. There's time for one last song in lovelytheband's side stage set and frontman Mitchy Collins gives their breakthrough single its proper due. "This song changed our whole world.... It's become a beacon and an anthem for anyone who feels a little less than perfect." Of course, it's "Broken" -- the sad sack alt-pop earworm that recently broke into the Hot 100 after an extended stay on alternative radio. For its climactic final chorus, Collins jumps the barricade and joins the crowd for one last singalong. -- CHRIS PAYNE
1:58 p.m. Frank Walker keeps the energy up with vibrant cuts like Loud Luxury’s “Body” and Galantis’ “Spaceship.” The crowd is dancing in sync to Walker’s motions onstage, and soon singer BAYLi who performs her new single “Out For Love.” -- D.R.
2:08 p.m. Sheppard bring indie-pop vibes to the Hot 100 stage straight from their native Brisbane, with frontman George Sheppard telling the crowd it took “30 hours” of travel to make it to New York. There’s no sign of jet-lag here: The band, of which three members are siblings, rip through “Hometown,” Keep Me Crazy,” “Halfway to Hell” and more before closing off with their 2015 smash “Geronimo,” for which Amy Sheppard has one request: “Let’s get crazy.” -- TATIANA CIRISANO
2:43 p.m. Lil Xan walks backstage as a herd of young girls screamed for him to come back. Meanwhile, on the Sun Stage, gnash asks the crowd, “Are you ready to have the best day of your life or what?” Surrounded by greenery on stage, the drum kit and mic stands, he then dives into his breakout hit “I Hate U I Love U,” with help from fellow Hot 100 performer Olivia O’Brien as LIIV -- who played the main stage earlier in the day -- takes videos from the crowd. Halfway through, he gives an appropriate shoutout to those watching him rock the Sun Stage: “If you’re standing in this heat to watch my show, I love you a lot a lot.” -- L.H.
3:27 p.m. After throwing off his t-shirt (“I’ve been at the gym, ya dig?”), Taylor Bennett takes a break from his energetic Beach Stage set for a moment of social awareness: “The day before I turned 21 last year, I came out as openly bisexual,” the hip-hop artist (and Chance the Rapper’s little bro) recalls, prompting high-pitched cheers from concert-goers. “Never let anybody stop you from showing your true colors.” His mini-motivational speech provides the perfect intro to his mood-boosting “Favorite Colors” — and the set’s positive vibe doesn’t stop there, with Bennett also running through “Be Yourself” off last month’s EP of the same title and bringing out surprise guest Bianca Shaw for their breezy duet “So High.” -- T.C.
4:21 p.m. "I performed this one a little earlier -- with gnash, who's fucking amazing," introduces Olivia O'Brien midway through her solo set. "But this is my solo version." She then goes on to play "Hate U Love U," her Hot 100 top 10 duet with the aforementioned Gnash -- much to the delight of the crowd, who belt along to every word. "I always love performing that song -- even it gets a little old," she says. "'Coz y'all know the words, and it is fucking beautiful to watch." -- ANDREW UNTERBERGER
4:52 p.m. Matt Medved returns to the decks at the Hot 100 mainstage for a beautiful two-hour set that includes a tribute to Aretha Franklin, featuring modern remakes of her classics, “A Deeper Love” and “Respect” -- D.R.
5:10 p.m.: So far, Andrew McMahon has crowd-surfed in an inflatable pool duck (while singing!) and kumbaya'd with the audience beneath a giant rainbow-colored parachute, but the spellbinding set from the one time-Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin bandleader is drawing to a close. He ends it with his biggest hit as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness -- the sun-kissed alt pop single he wrote for his young daughter, "Cecilia and the Satellite." Forty-five minutes with the L.A. piano maestro and he's got Long Island California dreamin'. --C.P.
Andrew McMahon incoming pic.twitter.com/KFmfliaWHM— chris payne (@cpayneonaplane) August 18, 2018
5:31 p.m. After performing their SiriusXM smash “Pulling Me In,” live electronic duo Phantoms break out the keys, drum pads and more to premiere their highly-anticipated single with Vanessa Hudgens coming out later this year. Swap the fist-bumping for some serious vibing and head bobbing. The best is seeing Phantoms fully entrench themselves in the music, while their crowd is cruising on the same wavelength. -- D.R.
5:59 p.m. Cheat Codes are in the building! The dance-pop trio proceed to shred Hot 100 mainstage with pyro, CO2, streamers and some absolute dance-pop bangers. The group’s performance includes a handful of special guests, including, Adrian Grenier who belts “Mr. Brightside” and Fetty Wap who had the crowd roaring for “Feels Good.” - D.R.
6:25 p.m. After a high-energy set of irrepressible synth-pop, Kim Petras gets her biggest response of the night by taking a seat, cross-legged at center stage, for an intimate, emotional performance of her closing number, "Can't Do Better." After she says her goodbyes and leaves the stage, half the crowd rushes to the side barrier to try to get a glimpse of the rising star as she leaves the premises. -- A.U.
6:35 p.m. “Put your Xs in the air!” demands one of two hype men, both wearing Xanarchy jerseys, ahead of Lil Xan’s set. The 21-year-old delivers a tripped out show that casts a metaphorical fog over the crowd -- a hazy, slowly-spoken women’s voice whispers “Xanarchy” repeatedly in between tracks. The Calif. native, born Diego Leanos, draws one of the largest crowds of the day, that includes Taylor Bennett, to the Sun Stage. Throughout the set, emphatic and frequent “Xanarchy” chants fuel the sad-rap star, who traded the silver ski mask he was wearing earlier in the day for a green beanie. And despite his druggy demeanor while addressing the crowd, when he performs he transforms -- Lil Xan earns his title of leader in the sad-rap tradition, and also pays respect to late stars of the genre like Lil Peep and XXXTentacion, saying of the latter: “We gonna keep his music alive for the next infinity generations.” -- L.H.
8:18 p.m. Feel the thunderous bass rumbling your eardrums? That’s Rae Sremmurd, the brotherly hip-hop duo who just broke into their smash “Black Beatles” on the main stage. As a shirtless Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee hop across the platform, no fewer than a dozen brave fans toss their iPhones onstage, to which the rappers respond by happily snapping quick selfies before tossing the rogue cell phones back -- and at one point, jumping into the crowd themselves. (“Y’all are throwing a lot of phones...We gon’ get all the selfies we can!” promises Swae Lee.) Before long, it’s a full-on party in the pit, with fans obeying the rappers’ instructions to put their “middle fingers up,” and arms around each other as the bros run through “Guatemala,” “Buckets” and more SR3MM favorites. -- T.C.
9:12 p.m. Well, it’s pouring. Despite the heavy rain, though, the fans are living for it at Matoma’s epic Beach Stage party. Yes, “Levels” by Avicii is played and the crowd goes insane. While it may be a shame that the clear skies collapsed by nighttime, it’s clear that everyone in the audience will remember Matoma’s chock-full-of-love performance for a long time. So much rain, so much fun. -- D.R.
9:20 p.m. Relentless rainfall can not dissuade the crowd of Krewella faithful, who've gathered for the duo’s spirited DJ set on the Sun Stage. The sisters drive through their catalogue of crowd pleasers, drawing ovations for fan favorites like “Alive” and “Team,” as well as remixes of hits by Migos, Daft Punk and Calvin Harris. -- MATT MEDVED
10:25 p.m. Halfway through her exultant Day One headlining set, Halsey slows things down for a mini-set, while seated in the middle of her mid-stage staircase. She says the fans might know the song she's about to play: Safe bet, considering that the song ends up being a version of "Closer" with just piano as accompaniment. After the audience singalong, she shouts out the song's status as the 13th biggest song in Hot 100 history -- accurate, by the way -- though she bemoans how the song was so popular even Uber drivers were complaining about it to her. ("I can walk from here..." she remembers responding.) -- A.U.