At first glance, it would seem that Hanson, A$AP Rocky, Shawn Mendes and Lindsey Stirling have precisely nothing in common, aside from being successful musical acts under the age of 30 (Zac Hanson is still 29). Last night in Philadelphia, it became clear that they shared a bit more.
These four acts came together yesterday to co-headline the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit Music Festival, a free ticketed concert for people who take action to help end extreme poverty around the world in partnership with Global Citizen. They all showed their commitment to the cause by foregoing their usual five- and six-figure performance fees, playing instead for travel and lodging–and a chance to give back.
The show began at dusk on Live Nation’s Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, a 7,500-plus capacity outdoor venue in the shadow of Philadelphia’s iconic Ben Franklin Bridge. The line wrapped around the block before doors opened, as scalpers tried to hawk tickets and bootleg t-shirts.
Prior to the show, 17-year-old singer-songwriter Mendes met rap fashionista Rocky and collaborated on an improvised song. Then NBC reporter Ronan Farrow–the night’s emcee–introduced him to the packed house, and Mendes kicked off the festival with a rollicking set that included a smattering of his own hits as well as Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”
Next up was Hanson, and the Oklahoma-born trio did not disappoint. Before the concert, the group polled fans on Twitter to see if they’d prefer to hear a cover of The Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back” or Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
The latter won out, and Hanson mixed it in with the band’s own deep catalogue of funky pop-rock. The three brothers closed their set with the obligatory and sublimely enjoyable “Mmmbop” and an energetic Led Zeppelin cover.
Dancing dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling went third, whirling across the stage as she played a string of her most popular songs including “Shatter Me.” Backstage, Hanson looked on from the wings with great interest.
Then Mixed By Ali, a Grammy award-winning DJ who tours with Kendrick Lamar, played a thumping hip-hop set before giving way to A$SAP Rocky. The charismatic Harlem rapper closed out the night by treating fans to a handful of favorites including A$AP Ferg’s “Shabba” and his own “Goldie.”
As Rocky brought his set to an end, he condensed the opinion of many of the summit’s attendees to five words: “This shit is f—ing inspirational!”