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Mace & Crown | July 26, 2017

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Shaggfest Sets the Summer Off Right

Richard Gabrintina | Staff Writer

Hampton Roads has a reputation for its notable contributions to music. From artists like Missy Elliot, The Neptunes, Clipse, D.R.A.M and more, there’s no shortage of entertainment. When it comes to putting together an amazing show, there’s Shaggy from local radio station Z104. On July 1, the Veterans United Home Loan Amphitheater was packed for the 2017 Summer Shaggfest.

The outdoor event has been successful ever since its 2011 debut and continues to grow with each passing year. In addition to diligently working to bring together popular headliners, Shaggfest creator Shaggy aims to boost exposure for emerging local talent.

Long lines formed at the entrance of the venue immediately after the doors opened. Upon entering, a small stage showcased local artists seeking a breakthrough. More established artists—including Alex Zier, Chloe, Alando and J Simmons and Rachel—warmed the main stage prior to the headlining acts. From their start in Chesapeake to global recognition, indie outfit The Last Bison charged the crowd with electrifying riffs and infectious energy.

The headlining performers consisted of Aaron Carter, Aminé, Kyle, Ashanti, ASAP Ferg and Fetty Wap. Throughout the event, Z104’s very own Joe Fu and DJ Babey Drew kept everyone entertained in between sets.

The audience erupted in laughter as a bikini-clad Nick, Shaggy’s co-host on the Z Morning Zoo radio show, appeared on stage. Nick adorned pink swimwear and a wig after losing a bet with Shaggy—Nick promised to dress up in a bikini and even introduce Carter on stage if Shaggy was able to book him for Shaggfest.

After Nick awkwardly flaunted the stage like a runway model, Carter ran across the stage as he sang over self-produced EDM instrumentals. From fans screaming as he jumped into the pit putting on a lively performance, the former child popstar established his return to the music industry. In addition to his comeback single, “Fool’s Gold,” Carter surprised the crowd with an updated version of longtime fan-favorite “I Want Candy.”

Following up, the Z104 crew challenged the crowd to a scavenger hunt. The objective was to track down Nick and tell him the secret word, “snausages,” in exchange for a prize of $104.

Portland rapper Aminé was the next performer, opening up his set with “Red Mercedes.” The “Caroline” crooner performed tracks off his forthcoming debut album “Good For You” and a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Novacane.” Aminé continuously complimented the crowd by saying, “Virginia Beach, you’re beautiful.” The set ended with a stripped down version of “Caroline” that picked back up in power as everyone in attendance danced and roared the chorus in unison.

Colorful, beach-inspired visuals projected on the stage’s screen as Kyle came on stage. The California rapper’s performance included “Doubt It,” “Really? Yeah!” and “Nothing 2 Lose.” Despite mistakenly referring to the audience as Norfolk, King Wavy redeemed himself with his energetic showmanship and ability to convince the crowd to create waves. Kyle closed off with the Lil Yachty-assisted “iSpy.”

As the sun began to settle behind the clouds, Ashanti commanded the stage along with two backup dancers. As the Grammy Award-winning songstress performed throwback songs like “So Into You,” “Always On Time,” “Rock Wit U” and “Foolish,” everyone was on their feet swaying and singing from the top of their lungs throughout the entire set.

Nick and DJ Babey Drew put on a competition between the different sections of the crowd to see who the loudest was before ASAP Ferg came on stage. Despite flight concerns, the Trap Lord arrived wearing all red and thanked Shaggy for bringing him to Virginia. Ferg took time out of his set to commemorate the late ASAP Yams. “I wouldn’t be where I am without ASAP Yams,” Ferg said.

The final act was the highly anticipated Fetty Wap. Concertgoers explosively jumped in excitement as he performed favorites such as “679” and “My Way.” Fetty Wap closed his set with “Trap Queen,” the single that launched him to mainstream attention.

Despite the intense heat and threat of inclement weather, the 20,000-seat venue was filled. Shaggfest offered meet-and-greets and even brought out surprise guest Michael Vick. Judging from everyone’s reaction and the pictures tagged with #Shaggfest, attendees were more than happy to be at the event.