Sadly, summer is coming to an end. But in the Bay Area, particularly among teenagers, the end of the summer is nowhere near over until the annual 99.7 NOW Summer Splash Festival takes place at California’s Great America. This year’s lineup, just like last year’s, did not disappoint. While the crowd seems to have been just slightly smaller (although I’m not entirely sure, so don’t quote me on that), the energy within the amphitheater walls was off the charts.
Los 5, a Latin-pop group based out of Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, kicked off the day. From what I heard, I have to say that the vocalists are very talented. At the same time though, I couldn’t really form an opinion since their set was only about three songs, which is sometimes considered common practice for openers at a concert of this nature. Perhaps next time they come through the Bay Area, I’ll check out their full set to get a better opinion.
Prince Royce was up next, another Latin-pop artist. Royce has three platinum, records under his belt already, as he is a huge star in the Latin American music world. He is currently trying to break into the American scene. His set wasn’t particularly my cup of tea, but the crowd loved it (particularly the girls; I’m pretty sure I went deaf from all of the screaming) and that’s truly what matters at the end of the day. His music wasn’t bad at all; it had a really nice pop flair to it, but it just wasn’t for me. But keep doing your thing, man! Maybe seeing a full set again and listening to some of the tracks on my own can give me a different perspective.
My most anticipated act of the festival did not disappoint. Pop-rockers The Vamps took the stage to what was probably some of the loudest cheering I’d heard all evening. At last year’s Summer Splash, there was one live band as well: MAGIC! As much as I do love “Rude”, they are a reggae band and I feel like they just didn’t fit the atmosphere of the festival. This time, the live band performance was a complete 180. Watching The Vamps is almost like watching someone set off a bottle rocket: it’s full speed ahead, with no signs of slowing down, until the very end. Not a single song wasn’t a hit with the crowd. My favorite track was easily “Can We Dance”. I really hope to see these guys do a headlining tour in the future.
Another act I’d heard a lot about was Tori Kelly, most notably after she was signed to Scooter Braun’s management roster (if you’ve been living under a rock, SB manages Justin Bieber). All I have to say: WOW. She can sing. It was hard to not get lost in her voice while taking photos in the pit. I don’t think she missed a single note in the entire six-song set. Kelly’s voice and stage presence is impressive and to be admired. If she’s not headlining arenas next year, I’m going to be very surprised.
The most SURPRISING act of the night actually came from the artist that I wasn’t looking forward to seeing: Flo Rida. I have to say that my mind has been changed. His set was extremely upbeat and fun. Adorned with three gorgeous dancers at his side, and a hype-man/DJ that wasn’t overly obnoxious like most can be, Flo Rida owned the entire venue. He played hit song after hit song, spanning his entire, incredibly successful career in hip-hop. A great aspect of this as well was seeing that Flo Rida clearly knows his crowd. He is a hip-hop/pop artist, but it was a pop festival. While there were a couple hip-hop songs, like the ever-popular “Low”, the set mainly consisted of hyper-fueled pop tracks that made the crowd roar every step of the way.
What was billed as a performance actually turned into something a bit more exciting than that. When I saw Austin Mahone’s name added to the bill, I think everyone had assumed he was going to play a full set. Well, he didn’t exactly. But he did play one song and announce that he would be coming back to play the MASSIVE 99.7 Triple Ho Show at the SAP Center this December featuring a lineup that would make any pop music fan faint with joy (click here to see the lineup if you don’t believe me). Based on the screams of excitement I heard behind me, I’d say that the crowd was rather accepting of this news.
Our night came to an end with a lovely performance by the ladies in British-pop group Little Mix. I had seen Fifth Harmony earlier this week, so I was happy to finally have a chance to see the other female-pop group that’s been dominating the charts and the scene. It was wonderful. While their production wasn’t at the same level as 5H’s (this was, after all, a one-off show, so I didn’t expect it to be anything crazy), their voices were immaculate. Perfect. Flawless. Beautiful. Any other descriptive word with a positive connotation that you can think of sums up Little Mix’s performance. All four ladies (consisting of vocalists Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall) were full of confidence and seemed to be having fun every second of the show. Their sense of humor and genuine appreciation for being onstage was very clear, as they cracked little jokes in between songs and made it a point to read all of the signs that the fans were holding up and had made for them.
In all honesty, every track was a hit in their set. “Black Magic” was the crowd favorite, and the perfect way to close out another successful Summer Splash festival. Looking forward to next year’s show! Until then, see you all at the Triple Ho Show in December!
I'd like to give a huge thank you to Carlos Pedraza at 99.7 NOW. Without his help, this review would never have been possible. 99.7 always puts on incredible events, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next one. Thanks for having me out again!
This has been another Shameless Promotion.