The Sept. 26 Landmark Music Festival, hosted by the Trust for the National Mall, proved that good headliners can save a festival, even from rainy weather.
Drake, Miguel and Nate Ruess headlined the show. Throughout the day, several other acts performed on smaller stages, but their sets and crowds did not compare to those of the headliners. With dazzling pyrotechnics, amazing light design, energetic band members and adrenaline-filled performances, the headliners proved their worth, despite the gloomy weather.
Nate Ruess and Miguel took the stage first, which forced festival goers to choose between the two performers. Ruess, who performed without his band, fun., played “Carry On,” “Nothing Without Love” and other songs from his new album, “Grand Romantic.” Though some people may not like his uniquely sharp voice, it’s undeniable that Ruess is an engaging artist with a dynamic stage presence. By dancing all over the stage with his band, jumping off pianos and getting the crowd to sing along, Ruess proved to be a charismatic bundle of energy.
After Ruess, Miguel calmed the crowd, reassuring listeners they were all deserving of love and attention. With smooth, soulful vocals—similar to those of John Legend and Usher—Miguel brought a sensual, yet calming set that nobody could resist dancing to, including him. Miguel jumped and moved across the stage with rhythm and concluded his performance singing his hits “Coffee” and “Adorn,” shirtless.
After an hour break, Drake took the main “Jefferson Stage” and brought the crowd rushing to reserve spots on the Mall. A rainstorm passed over the festival grounds just before Drake came on, but crowds still accumulated by the stage in anticipation of the highly-acclaimed artist. Despite being soaking wet, fans still stood their ground at “Jefferson Stage” and waited for the rain to stop. Drake served as the sole performer from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and single-handled captivated the crowd during his set.
When the lights dimmed and the entrance music started playing, the ground vibrated with the crowd’s screams. Drake took the stage wearing a sweatshirt with a single bolded word, “October.” The rapper, born in October, also named his record label OVO (October’s Very Own) Sound. Performing hits such as “The Motto," “Started From The Bottom," “Just Hold On, We’re Going Home" and “Hotline Bling," Drake managed to keep the crowd engaged and dancing throughout his whole set as he personalized every song to mention the District.
With arguably the best pyrotechnics used at the music festival, one-of-a-kind light design and powerful stage presence, Drake was by far the best act of the night. He easily proved why he was the headliner of the festival, as well as one of the most sought after and wealthy musicians today. Ending his show with fireworks that could be seen all across D.C., Drake made sure his performance was one to remember.
Though the lesser-known artists at the festival drew crowds had great performances, Drake and the other headlining performers stood out distinctively from the others. The headliners were indisputably the best acts of the night. Through all these artists the Trust for the National Mall put on a great show that will surely leave its mark.