The 2021 iHeartRadio music festival
The 2021 iHeartRadio music festival
Why all music fans would love to be there
Talia Rueda ’23
2021 has been a huge year for music.
Is it because there is a flow of albums from the most iconic artists of our generation? Or because of several expected world tours? While both are true, that’s also not why this year has been so important for music.
Music is nothing without the kicks, screams, and punches that come with a live performance, especially at the No. 1 Radio Company’s Festival in the United States. After a torturous year of listening to our favorite artists alone in our bedrooms, iHeartRadio has come back to reclaim its place in our lives as the world of live music returns.
The iHeartRadio Music Festival returned to Las Vegas on the weekend of September 17 with programming that enticed all music lovers who weren’t in attendance to scour the internet for every full performance. Line-up ranged from pop sisters (Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Olivia Rodrigo) to hip-hop legends Lil Baby and J Cole, not to mention country boys Sam Hunt and Darius Rucker.
The audience’s excitement to see the live performances of these pop sensations was palpable. Newcomer Olivia Rodrigo received the best welcome on stage all weekend. This is not surprising, as his rise to fame not only came at a rapid pace, but seemed inevitable as well. Rodrigo had all the tools and talents to be successful, and the quality of her first live performance in front of an audience was a testament to the natural greatness she continues to demonstrate.
Indeed, her professionalism at such an early stage in her career came true when her set didn’t start with one of the first singles that made her famous, like “driver’s license” or “deja vu”. », But rather with« brutal », an alt-rock anthem that left the crowd inebriated with excitement. With her set iHeartRadio, one of her first live performances, Rodrigo let everyone know that she is more than a lyric poet, and rather a true artist who knows how to evoke in a crowd exactly what she aspires to be. throughout a difficult year. without live music.
That being said, it’s impossible to forget Billie Eilish’s heartbreaking yet thrilling ensemble, and more specifically, her first live performance of “Happier Than Ever”. There wasn’t a single member of the audience who didn’t sing along with the line, “you make me hate this town.” Even those in happy relationships were sure to cry with this one.
Now, a music festival wouldn’t be complete without the electric and spirited sounds of hip-hop and rap. This turned out to be correct when the setting for Lil Baby reworked the scene and the audience’s energy, with tactics similar to Rodrigo’s.
The main purpose of a music festival is to draw an extreme impatience from the crowd throughout the ensemble, and Lil Baby has done just that. He not only performed one of the most famous verses of 2021, his unparalleled “Wants and Needs” from his feature film with Drake, but also brought in special guests.
Lil Baby hosted several background dancers to perform the TikTok song, “Woah”, spreading a dance exuberance through the crowd. As trite as it may sound, learning the Tik Tok dances was something many have bonded with throughout the pandemic. The emulation of these dances in a public setting proves that Lil Baby and other performers wanted to not only excite the crowd but bring people together.
It’s moments like these, the feelings of animation and emotion of Lil Baby’s beloved verse and Eilish’s deep self-reflection, that make live music what it is. Indeed, these moments are more than listening to music. Verse like Lil Baby’s allowed us to celebrate a year of sadness, while many of Eilish’s tracks represent the inner thinking we all went through during the pandemic. Hearing these iconic and deeply meaningful songs in person for the first time, it’s clear how relieved music lovers are to find each other again.
That’s what makes iHeartRadio Music Festival special: it’s not just a live concert, but also a celebration of how people come together to show how much they love to listen to their favorite artists.
This is evident in the fact that iHeartRadio produced several events before and after the festival. For example, they air a two-night special on the CW network on the weekend of October 2 so the fun doesn’t end. Needless to say, their brand name is very precise: we love radio.