By now, the Billboard Hot 100 needs no introduction. Dating back to the late 1950’s, the chart has been the definitive record of the most played songs in America. And since 2015, Billboard has been pursuing its logical extension — a multi-day music festival filled with all the biggest chart-toppers of the year.
Ever since the Hot 100 Festival started, it has hosted some of the most successful and popular artists across all genres at Jones Beach Theater in NYC: Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, J. Cole and Nicki Minaj, Skrillex and Calvin Harris. With such heavyweights as part of the event’s DNA, fans have plenty of incentive to figure out their August plans even if they haven’t been paying attention to the radio or streaming charts.
Both Future and Rae Sremmurd have been demanding an audience with their distinct brands of hip-hop for a while now, for instance, and these two acts lead the first wave of 2018 headliners. Familiar faces from classic emo crooner Andrew McMahon to pop heavyweight Halsey will take the stage in support, too. But the beauty of the Top 100 is that it extends beyond established artists dominating week-after-week and also captures what’s new, unexpected, and breaking through right now. For this edition of the Hot 100 Festival, that means up-and-comers like Shoreline Mafia, graffiti artists turned catchy trap rappers from California, Kehlani, an in-demand R&B crooner who’s been featured on some of the biggest hits of the year and Band Yvng Svnt, a crowd favorite DJ who helped get the party started in 2017.
Given the high profile, the hype for Hot 100 starts early. For those in the city ahead year-round, Billboard hosts lead-up events, like a DJ-centric Derby Party in the spring. For those coming just for the weekend, however, prepare accordingly. Jones Beach is one of the nature-oriented gems around the city, and Hot 100 takes full advantage of its setting. Performers get flanked by green reeds rising from the water and some picturesque marsh lands. And the stages themselves qualify as top of the line — the theater has been going through a million dollar renovation plan, including energy efficient LED lighting, larger concourses for less crowding, and more. In a city with virtually endless concert venues, it may not get better from a fan experience.
So with the plethora of acts on top of multiple stages, beer gardens, gaming areas, and installations that run the gamut (last year included a hair braiding bar), Hot 100 Festival tends to live up to its name year-in and year-out — whether you’ve been keeping up with the radio or not.