HERSHEY, Pennsylvania — The first-ever MixTape Festival at Hershey Stadium had something for every music lover.
Hitting the stage early on Saturday were British-Irish boy band the Wanted, who got the crowd ready to party with energetic renditions of their hits “Chasing the Sun” and “Glad You Came.” The group also paid tribute to one of their favorite groups, Coldplay, with a mash-up that showed off the band’s instrumental skills.
“We run about the stage, we jump around a lot,” the Wanted’s Nathan Sykes teased to MTV News before the show. “We’ve got our American band with us who are super, [but] we play as well; I think [the fans] will be surprised a bit by that. We pick instruments up ourselves and play them. We just get everyone rocking, really, which is pretty cool.”
Next up to the stage was Justin Bieber’s protégé, Carly Rae Jepsen. The “Call Me Maybe” singer, whose first U.S. LP, Kiss, hits stores next month, treated her fans, of course, to her smash single, but she also gave them a preview of what they can expect from her upcoming album.
“I’m pumped, I have the best band in the world, so I’m going to have a ball,” Jepsen told MTV News. “We’re doing a song called ’Guitar String Wedding Ring,’ which is a newbie for sure. It’s about the idea of not being quite ready for marriage and being laissez-faire about wearing a guitar-string wedding ring.”
LL Cool J brought some hip-hop flavor to the fest before 98 Degrees rocked the crowd, performing an entire concert for the first time in more than a decade. The quartet got the nerves out of their systems before singing “The Hardest Thing,” “I Do” and “All Because of You.”
“We haven’t done this in 11 years, and you don’t know how the fans are going to respond. Are people still going to be there?” Nick Lachey told MTV News moments after the group’s performance. “When the curtain dropped and you saw the crowd and you can hear the screams and you knew they were there with you, it was special.”
The final performance of the night, however, really wowed concertgoers. NKOTBSB (a.k.a. New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys) made their first (and final) North American appearance of the year, performing songs that highlighted over two decades of chart-topping singles.
The Backstreet Boys (sans Kevin Richardson, who recently returned to the group) had the entire stadium singing along to classic tracks like “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” “As Long as You Love Me,” and “I Want It That Way.”
New Kids on the Block, who worked double duty this weekend by performing the also first night of the festival, sang several of their hits, including “Step By Step,” “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “Summertime.” But they surprised everyone during their set when the Wanted joined them onstage in a performance of “Glad You Came.” Then NKOTBSB pulled out another surprise when they brought out the recently reunited 98 Degrees to greet the crowd and celebrate their big comeback, marking the first time all the boy bands shared a stage.
Before the night came to an end, NKOTBSB had a special announcement for their fans, revealing that this would be the last time they would see NKOTBSB … for now. “Let’s just say all is well in the boy-band universe,” Donnie Wahlberg announced. “But make no mistake that the state of this union started with NKOTBSB.”
To end the night, the supergroup sang their single “Don’t Turn Out the Lights,” before going into a mash-up of “Hangin’ Tough” and “Everybody’s (Backstreet’s Back).” Fans didn’t want the night the end and it seemed the guys didn’t either, as they huddled together saying their goodbyes to the thousands of festivalgoers — and each other.
What do you think of all these boy bands sharing a stage? Tell us in the comments!