I think it’s safe to say that here in the United States, the music festival market is incredibly over-saturated, and that may be an understatement. That being said, from a fan’s perspective, summertime here is pretty much a musical smorgasbord, with numerous festivals to pick from within any region of the country. Earlier this summer, music media mogul Billboard decided it’s their turn to throw their hat into the ring, throwing the first Billboard Hot 100 Festival at Jones Beach Amphitheater next weekend on August 22nd and 23rd.

I’m really digging this lineup and idea behind it. Billboard as most know, have made their mark with their array of charts based on popularity of whose songs and albums are selling and being listened to most, a musical popularity magazine if you will. So it’s great to see they’re staying within what they know best, getting the names who are on the top of the Hot 100 charts to play the festival. Simple and effective.

So with the who’s who of pop stars we all know and love from listening to Z100 or TMZ, the two-day festival also offers a chance for some of the rising pop artists to make a statement at the event. Being said, he’s a breakdown of who we think are the sets you cannot miss next weekend as some of the biggest pop recording artists in the world take on Jones Beach! Don’t worry, we’ve automatically assumed Skrillex, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, and The Beibs were unanimous no-brainers.



ZZ Ward – One of our most recent Whiskey Session performers, ZZ adds a bit of soul and power pop influences into her style, rather than trying to sound like every other rising female in this industry. You hear edgier influences like Amy Winehouse, Adele, or Gin Wigmore in her pop sound.


Halsey – Along with Ryn Weaver and Betty Who, Halsey has the potential to be the biggest breakout artist going from summer into the end of 2015 and into festival season 2016. Her recent EP, Room 93 has a more Lorde/Lana Del Ray darkness to it, which makes her debut full length due out at the end of the month worth salivating over. The real question is, how will she perform live?


Cruisr – Another indie-rock/pop band with their debut EP out late last year, their super catchy style of pop and rock blend makes them a very popular choice for summer playlists. Think of them as a more Americanized version of The 1975.


Betty Who – Arguably the hottest breakout artist of 2015 so far, Betty’s been building momentum all summer long with killer performances at Bonnaroo and Firefly. An edgier version of Katy Perry musically, Betty focuses less on weird stage landscapes like Perry, and brings an 80s retro sound to her fresh style.



Zella Day – One of the many talented edgier female pop artists coming out, Zella’s debut album Kicker is full of energy-driven electro pop and rock sounds that put her in good company with authentic contemporaries like Elle King, Meg Myers, Banks, and Meg Myers as a new generation of female artists; pushing the boundaries on how badass female pop can go. Of course, we had a blast watching her Whiskey Session last fall during CMJ.


Lindsey Stirling – Whoever said the violin was an instrument made for classical music and southern hoedowns, clearly forgot to send Lindsey Stirling the memo. Lindsey’s electronic-musical style blends elements of classical, hip-hop, and dub-step into her one-of-a-kind sound – that got the former missionary noticed in season one of America’s Got Talent.


X Ambassadors – Brooklyn indie-rockers have caught fire since they’ve hit the festival circuit throughout the spring and summer. They’ve got jams in car commercials and hit songs in “Jungle” and “Renegades,” which are, of course, a must have on most summer party playlists. Hopefully you caught their free show at Rough Trade lately, because they wont be playing too many of those in the future.


American Authors – Another local Brooklyn band that caught fire in 2014 with songs like “Best Day of My Life.” They’re a bit more folk based and family friendly than X Ambassadors, but still just as catchy and fun to listen to outside in the summer.


Ryn Weaver – We caught the “Octahate” songstress at Bonnaroo, Firefly, and of course her sold out Bowery Ballroom show a few weeks ago and she’s getting better and better with every show. Currently on tour supporting her first full length release The Fool, Ryn’s musical presence and maturity goes well beyond her years. She’s one of the real talents bringing powerful songwriting into the world of female pop.


Misterwives – One of the acts breaking out of the fold in 2015 with their debut album, Our Own House released this past winter, Misterwives pulls the disco sounds of the 70s and the SoCal beach reggae rock of the 90s into a pop sound that mixes perfectly into 2015.


Article: Tom Shackleford



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