Billboard Hot 100 Festival 2016 kicked off Saturday, August 20 at Nikon Theater at Jones Beach.
From star performers like Ariana Grande, Martin Garrix, Wale, Rae Sremmurd, Fetty Wap and Rachel Platten to impressive sets from newcomers like Eryn Allen Kane, the first day of the fest’s second year was full of highlights.
Here’s some of our favorite moments.
12:48 pm: “Billboard! Who’s here to party?” hollered Elephante, the Los Angeles DJ/producer opening the W Hotel’s Next Up stage. Despite the early hour, his query was met with a spirited response that only increased in intensity as he dropped Skrillex’s seminal “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.”
1:11 pm: Toronto triple threat Jahkoy (singer-producer-rapper) heated up the Hot 100 stage by delivering his sweetest love notes like “Still in Love,” “Coldest” and “Hold Your Hand.”
1:35 pm: Hands up!” Prince Fox yelled as the crowd gathered at the W Hotel’s Next Up stage happily complied. The New York DJ/producer kept attendees moving with well-received trap and future bass remixes of pop standards like Ty Dolla $ign’s “Blase,” Drake and Future’s “Big Rings” and Zayn’s “PillowTalk.” He also drew cheers with a surprise remix of Cutting Crew’s “Died in Your Arms Tonight”
2:16 pm: After a few refreshing slices of the retro soul music he’s pursued since U.K. boy band The Wanted split, Nathan Sykes showed the Hot 100 Fest he draws on some new faces for inspiration, too. “Any fans of Shawn Mendes?” the slender vocal powerhouse asked the crowd. “I think he’s a brilliant young artist.” Sykes delivered what he described as a “messed with” version of Hot 100 top 10 hit “Stitches” that ended with a rocked-out coda, demonstrating he’s got some edge to his soul pop style. Funky, danceable closer “Give It Up” got the crowd moving, too.
2:45 pm: Repping Skrillex’ OWSLA label (which he A&Rs) on his black tee, Team EZY delighted his audience by mashing up Desiigner’s “Panda” and Skrillex & Rick Ross’ “Purple Lamborghini.” Energetic drops, booming 808s and machine gun hi-hats marked his mid-day performance. “Yo if you came out here with your best friend today make some fucking noise y’all!” he shouted to a swell of cheers.
2:55 pm: Josiah and the Bonnevilles’ set started a few minutes early and unassumingly enough, with just frontman Josiah Leming and his acoustic guitar gracing the Sun Stage. “I know we don’t have a lot of unz unz unz but we’ll get you to dance if you give us long enough”; this was the promise as his backing band trotted out and sure enough, heads were bobbing and bodies were swaying as the feisty folksters spun world-weary tales of cross-country travels and doomed romance. Leming, an Appalachia native who’s since moved from Vegas to L.A., shouted out an upcoming show at New York’s Mercury Lounge alongside a story about an old relative who’d died from indulging in a strawberry field after years of being told he was allergic. They closed with “Lie With Me,” a song from their recent Cold Blood EP, and promised a new full length was on the way.
3:31 pm: DJ Prostyle’s set on the main stage may have started late, but the Power 105.1 jock kicked things off with probably the best set-opener that hip-hop has ever produced: Jay Z’s iconic “Public Service Announcement” with its opening line, “Allow me to re-introduce myself my name is HOV.” His eclectic set started off with contemporary hits from Drake, French Montana, DJ Khaled, Future and more in 10-15 second snippets before making the crowd pop when he moved into dance cuts from the likes of LMFAO. The crowd, sweating in the sun, was more than happy to oblige when Prostyle said, “If you’re hot right now put your middle finger in the air” before dropping Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck With You.” The DJ even made time for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” before his set was over.
?4:12 pm: Clad in a black bikini top, short shorts and shades, Niykee Heaton brought the seduction and some “Miami feels” to the W Hotel’s Next Up stage, performing her catalog’s steamiest songs including “Woosah,” “Lullaby” and the #squadgoals soundtrack “Dream Team.” The sexy, bad girl anthem “Bad Intentions” was the instant crowd-pleaser, though sadly, collaborator Migos did not make an appearance. She also performed brand new numbers like the come-hither joint “Check On You” and an anthem for people who are “unique as f–k” called “Last of Our Kind.” She also brought out collaborators KydNice and Jake Lord for her recent release “Finer Things.”
4:32 pm: Prince protege and Chance the Rapper collaborator Eryn Allen Kane may not be the biggest name in the world — not yet, at least. But based on her performance at the Sun Stage, that relative anonymity won’t last long. Combining the delicate soul and winking wit of Erykah Badu with the funk-fueled confidence and pure joy of Sharon Jones, Kane showed off her impressive vocal prowess on “Sunday” — with her band a tightly-rehearsed, joyful asset behind her — as well as the intimate ballad “Slipping” and the powerful “Now and Then.” She dedicated part of her set to her late mentor Prince, including an incredible “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” and a fun romp through “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” before bringing things home with the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” Even though she was battling what seemed like a slight cold, Prince would have smiled at this performance.
5:18 pm: Rachel Platten saved her biggest hit for last when she took the Hot 100 stage on Saturday. “This is called ‘Fight Song'” she told the crowd, before playing the tune — which hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 — that got the crowd swaying and singing, despite the heat.
5:20 pm: Fetty Wap arrived backstage at the Hot 100 and the crowd erupted as he made his way through the artist village. Scores of teens chased him to the entrance, trying to follow him backstage while taking pics and SnapChatting.
5:35 pm: Classically trained pianist and guitarist Gryffin brought out his go-to instruments while providing fans at the W Hotel’s Next Up Stage a blend of high-energy tunes. Before playing his remix of “Talking Body” by Tove Love, the USC alumnus played his new single, which he teased on Twitter two days prior.
6:08 pm: Fetty Wap exploded onto the Hot 100 stage, equipped with a stash of crowd-pleasers including “My Way,” “Again,” “679” and his smash hit “Trap Queen.” Zoo Wap also gave his RGF Productions signee and frequent collaborator Monty shine as he performed his own set.
6:20 pm: DJ/producer Paper Diamond started his set at the W Hotel’s Stage off by blending trap and reggae beats before transitioning to more progressive sounds and then back to hip-hop remixes including “Feeling Myself” and “Day N Night.” “Are you ready for brand new Paper Diamond?” he asked the crowd. Much to the delight of a young girl’s father, he dropped the upcoming release and the father excitedly jumped up and down to the bass while rocking “dad shoes.” The artist’s parting message was that he’s releasing a new album at the end of the year.
6:51 pm: Sleigh Bells played their first show in over a year at the Hot 100 Fest’s Sun Stage. The crowd was sparse at first, but the passion of frontwoman Alexis Krauss and the band’s dual-guitar attack pulled onlookers in.
7:24 pm: “We have some new music coming,” Sleigh Bells singer Alexis Krauss announced. “I can’t tell you when, but it’s on its way.” She got the crowd frenzied about new releases, then pulled them in with an old Sleigh Bells favorite. “Infinity Guitars” blared, and she hopped the barricade, pushed to the middle of the crowd, and joined the fervor.
7:30 pm: As the sun sets in Jones Beach, tropical house founder Thomas Jack was the perfect act to help transition the crowd-goers from Paper-Diamond’s lively set into a seaside state of mind. Dressed in all white, the curly-haired Aussie played an updated blend of hits along with a surprising remix of Missy Elliott’s 2003 hit “Pass the Dutch.” As Jack’s set comes to a close, a young boy yelled out, “oh no, I only saw 10 minutes” and eagerly awaited another round of tropical house sounds.
7:51 pm: Skizzy Mars, accompanied by a guitarist and drummer, hit the stage with an energetic “Weekend Millionaires” to open his set, combining hip-hop and rock aesthetics to great effect. “Alcoholics” and “Come Down” both got the crowd moving, while his bandmates on stage gave him more of a collaborative feel than he would have enjoyed with just a DJ behind him. His brand of catchy music and universally relatable lyrics make him the perfect artist to put on at a party, and his set delivered just that feel.
8:43 pm: After baptizing the crowd with bottled water, Sacramento dance DJ duo Hippie Sabotage tore up the W Hotel’s Next Up stage with an electrifying set of heart-pumping beats. Kevin, one half of the sibling tandem, shared a blunt with the crowd.
9:00 pm: Martin Garrix dropped his new collaboration with Bebe Rexha, “In the Name of Love,” which he will perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday (Aug. 22), keeping his crowd moving while pyrotechnics flared at the Hot 100 Stage’s front. “New York I f–king love you!” he declared as his set drew to a close.
9:25 pm: By the time Rae Sremmurd performed the penultimate song “No Type,” they had the audience in the palm of their hands. Closing with their latest single “Black Beatles” was the icing on the cake: the final line on the hook, “They lose it when the DJ drops the needle,” providing their thesis statement. Rae Sremmurd know how to party, and have proven that they can bring everyone with them along the way.
9:50 pm: Main stage headliner Ariana Grande opened with “Bang Bang,” and hardly anyone cared that her co-stars from the 2014 mega hit weren’t also at the Jones Beach Theater.
10:00 pm: Ariana Grande’s set was just under an hour of pure pop power. It was all killer, no filler, just one hit after another. Her vocal runs were judiciously delivered, and the old-school fly backup dancers could have won a gold medal for synchronized swimming (had they been in water). When she launched into “Into You,” that sensuous punch of dance-pop pleasure had the rabid crowd of fans flipping their shit, alternating between dancing and trying to Snap the moment. The dancing won out.
10:17 pm: While performing her breakthrough hit “The Way,” Ariana Grande was joined by the song’s original guest star, Mac Miller, who came out for an unexpected appearance to rap his part.
10:05 pm: Wale issued two rules for his set: “Don’t do extra shit” and “don’t clog the middle.” The Maybach Music Group MC mingled into several mosh pits, performing jams like “Girls On Drugs,” “Slight Work” and “Chillin’.” He also previewed a new collaboration with Travis Scott tentatively called “Fish & Grits” and an unnamed track with Lil Wayne.
10:50 pm: Closing out day one at the Sun Stage was France’s Madeon, who played fellow countrymen Daft Punk’s classic “All Around The World” while about a dozen ravers did the wave in the back row. “You guys are awesome. How you feeling?” The crowd erupts and he insists that we “keep going.” The 22-year-old’s set was filled with uptempo beats and his accompanying light show felt like we were speeding through an information highway straight out of Tron: Legacy. As the night came to a close, Madeon continued to captivate the audience’s attention by strategically intensifying the lighting and playing a high-energy blend of throwbacks including his mash-up song “Pop Culture” and breakout remix of deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon.”