Hosted by Nickelodeon and held at Columbus Commons, the ‘90s Fest on Friday night embraced some of the biggest personalities of the ‘90s, including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Vertical Horizon, Sisqo, and Sister Hazel.
Pauly Shore, a ‘90s actor and one of the aforementioned personalities, was on stage to introduce the artists and bring the best out of the crowd. He wore a wild 90’s-themed outfit and was hilariously ripping jokes about audience members. He made sure to embrace Columbus and said how much he enjoyed the Short North.
Aside from listening to the musical acts, other activities were available for attendees. ‘90s-style portraits, a carousel, giveaways, food trucks, a ‘90s apparel contest and a silent disco were among the many attractions.
Of the headliners, the first to come on was Vertical Horizon, an alternative rock band from Washington D.C. that peaked in the ‘90s. They took the stage with high energy even though they played a short set. Their lead singer did a good job getting the crowd involved, and the band looked overjoyed. People didn’t seem to take to them as well as the other headliners, but they still put on a good performance. Their final song, “Everything You Want,” got the strongest reaction since everyone in the crowd knew it.
Shortly after was hip-hop and R&B artist Sisqo. He payed homage to Michael Jackson by performing the late singer’s hit “Billie Jean.” Sisqo and his dance crew did a ton of dancing on stage to accompany his singing. The crowd really took to Sisqo’s upbeat, hip-hop aura. As the night continued, the crowd quickly grew and were drawn closer to the stage with each new act.
After a lengthy intermission, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony finally came on the stage for their set. They were easily the highlight of the festival out of all the artists, judging by the audience’s ecstatic applause. They hail from Cleveland, so of course the group expressed their excitement to be in Columbus and their home state. The hip-hop group played their biggest hits like “1st of tha Month,” “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “Foe Tha Love Of $.” Everyone knew the words and fervently sang along with the group members. It was nice hearing all my favorites of theirs live.
Next came Sister Hazel. It started raining right before and during Sister Hazel’s set, so quite a few people started leaving. However, the alternative-rock band played a smooth set that the crowd could relax and swing to. A lot of its songs sounded the same, and I found the singer’s whiny crooning unappealing. I definitely liked Sister Hazel the least of the bunch, even though I tend to love this style of music.
So was the show worth the $55 admission fee? Not a chance.
The turnout for the show was very light, probably because of the obscene price of the festival. It was clear as day these artists were past their prime and didn’t perform at the level they used to. I know that these artists are aging, but It wasn’t the quality performance I was looking forward to, with the exception of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Overall, the crowd energy just wasn’t there, and the artists were overhyped. For the $55 ticket, or $90 if I wanted VIP, I could have went to three different shows or done something more productive.