Thousands of artists, administrators, administrators, organizers, media and fans will gather in the northern part of France this weekend for the iHeartRadio Music Festival, to be headlined by the likes of DJ Khaled, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, Iggy Azalea, Pitbull, Bruno Mars, DJ Khaled, Future, Steve Aoki, Ty Dolla $ign, A$AP Rocky, Marshmello, The Chainsmokers, Enrique Iglesias, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Sam Smith, The Killers, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony, Halsey, Julia Michaels, Lil Uzi Vert, and Logic.
On the day before the big show—which takes place at the gigantic Festplatz arena in Paris-Bourget—most of the top acts will take to the stage in an attempt to sell out the event.
What makes the festival so appealing is that it is a score card for a dream music festival scenario.
NBC News, iHeart, the event producers and other media partners have been discussing this year’s lineup, producing “a string of concerts with bold and brilliant hip-hop, pop, R&B, and EDM stars that would have been impossible when the festival began in 2003 in Las Vegas” according to music industry site Billboard.
Set against the backdrop of a shuttered airport and two major government projects—an artificial island off the coast of Sainte-Chapelle and a revamped train line —the event at the quaint Place de la République is poised to mark the return of many of the radio stations of old, where industry insiders once sipped wine together.
The massive concert also packs in some of the most prominent names in the business, such as radio consultant David Bakula and traditional broadcasters such as Dick Clark Productions, Clear Channel International, and Meredith Corp.
In an interview with iHeartRadio, Bakula said that his key objective this year is “to increase the brand awareness of iHeartRadio across the globe, and raise brand awareness in the U.S.”
NBC News isn’t alone in bringing in high-profile execs and organizers.
The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Aerosmith, the Black Eyed Peas, and a host of others signed on with iHeartMedia back in 2013 in a sweeping series of deals to provide multiplatform coverage of this festival, as well as iHeartRadio’s 2016 summer festival, the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
But even the brands are taking care to identify themselves as authentic to the festival—iHeartMedia revealed that “the connection between iHeartRadio and this festival reflects the values and content of our stations, while bringing back some of the best experiences from the event’s past to create an accessible and mobile-friendly experience at Festplatz.”
So, how did this hybrid event start?
Celebrity investors—as did Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Shakira, and Sting, among others—starting the iHeartRadio Music Festival back in 2003.
But the first festival actually took place in France.
The downtown Paris space became known as the Grand Hall, or “The Grand Canal” (the hotel building on the Canal St. Martin and Louis-Michel Square). It’s been home to the Glastonbury Festival since 2008.
The Paris event has since attracted rock star performers like Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Kiss, Alicia Keys, Sting, Elvis Costello, Tony Bennett, John Mayer, Sting, Pink Floyd,
This summer, a collaborative event designed as an ode to women’s equality took place in the former venue, and who better to host the inaugural event?
No surprises there: The future always celebrates the past.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on [email protected] and find him on Facebook.