iHeartRadio Takes Vegas: A recap of the music festival’s events

Blake Shelton performs at day 2 of the 2015 iHeartRadio music festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 in Las Vegas. AP Photo
Blake Shelton performs at day 2 of the 2015 iHeartRadio music festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 in Las Vegas. Photo by AP

BY Alexa Bianchi

Staff Reporter

On Sept. 23 and 24, iHeartRadio held their sixth annual, sold-out, iHeartRadio Music Festival at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The iHeartRadio Music Festival is a weekend-long concert where some of the biggest artists in the world come together to perform their music. Performances included Britney Spears, Sam Hunt, Billy Idol, Usher, Ariana Grande, Zedd, Drake and more.

“The iHeartRadio Music Festival is the most diverse music festival in the world,” said Z100’s afternoon radio host, Mo’ Bounce. “It includes all genres, all artists and all different tastes. Artists agree to be a part of this mainly because it is so diverse.”

T-Mobile was a partner of the event this year. Being that Mo’ Bounce is a New York ambassador for T-Mobile, he was invited to Las Vegas to experience the action for himself.

“I had a couple roles at the festival,” said Mo’ Bounce. “I did a ton of branding for T-Mobile, I talked to the artists on the magenta carpet and I posted a bunch on social media for iHeartRadio and Z100.”

Aside from the scheduled performers, there were several surprise guests. Three different artists accompanied Zedd during his set. Nasri, from the group Magic!, came on stage to sing a remix of his hit song “Rude,” Aloe Blacc joined him to sing their remake of “Candyman” and Hailee Steinfeld and Grey surprised the crowd by singing their current single, “Starving.”

If that wasn’t enough, Usher performed his throwback song “Yeah!” with special guests Ludacris and Lil’ Jon.

Mo’ Bounce described Billy Idol bringing Miley Cyrus on stage to perform as a big moment for him.

“Of course I know who Billy is, but younger people aren’t really familiar with him,” said Mo’ Bounce. “All in all, to have two artists from two different generations come out and sing together was a very cool experience.”

Britney Spears opened night two of the festival with six throwback songs, such as “Toxic” and “You Drive Me Crazy,” along with tracks from her new album “Glory.”

“My favorite part of the iHeartRadio Music Festival this year was the throwbacks to Britney’s past hits,” said junior Juliana Fetherman. “It was fun to watch her perform with the same energy she had years ago and be able to sing along to every word.”

After announcing their headlining Las Vegas residency, “Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life,” on Sept. 23, the Backstreet Boys made an appearance and sang “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” with Florida Georgia Line as their special guest. The boys also surprised the crowd with their own set including three of their greatest hits, “I Want It That Way,” “As Long As You Love Me” and “Larger Than Life.”

“The Backstreet Boys were the highlight of the night for me,” said junior Emily LoCascio. “They sang all the songs from my childhood and brought back a bunch of memories. Their performance was so unexpected, but it just made it that much better.”

For those who could not be in attendance at the two-night concert, there was a live broadcast on iHeartMedia radio stations all over the country. Also, both nights were available to live stream on CWTV.com or The CW app.

“I was live streaming the first night of the festival on CWTV.com patiently waiting for Drake, but the stream ended before he came on,” said junior Alyssa Liszewski. “Luckily, my best friend was actually at the concert and FaceTimed me during his performance. He sounded exactly the same as the studio version. He was very energetic and humble.”

The festivities didn’t just happen at nighttime. On Saturday afternoon, the iHeartRadio Music Festival Daytime Village was held at the Las Vegas Village across from the Luxor Hotel and Casino. This concert included performances from DNCE, Alessia Cara, Troye Sivan, The Chainsmokers, Daya, Tinashe and many more.

“The daytime village is different from the shows at night because in a way, it is more raw,” said Mo’ Bounce. “It’s an outdoor concert with no seats and it gives you that festival feeling. You are in the heat, rocking out and it feels more relaxed. You just throw on a t-shirt and some deodorant and head out there for a good time.”

Mo’ Bounce explained how talking about the show this time around is different than past years.

“All the DJs under iHeartRadio are urged to talk about the festival, but the best way to talk about it and actually mean what you say is to experience it firsthand. This was my first time going and I couldn’t have had a better time,” said Mo’ Bounce.

Staff reporter Alexa Bianchi is currently working as an intern at Z-100, the sponsor of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. 

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