Monday, September 10, 2012

MixTape Festival Recap

I know I'm super late on this review, but better late than never! I definitely wanted to share my experiences at MixTape Festival. I think I can best describe the event as an emotional roller coaster, which seems very fitting since we were just a few hundred yards away from Hershey Park and its crazy coasters. In all, I was super frustrated for a lot more of the weekend than I would've like to have been, but for the most part the Backstreet Boys and other artists at the event made up for it.


So after months of anticipation, the fun started off with a drive up to Hershey Park. Luckily we didn't hit traffic and made pretty decent time. I found it so overwhelming when I first arrived. We needed to check-in to the hotel, check-in for the VIP, meet up with friends, change, and grab some much needed lunch. Somehow we managed to get this all done, but not without a few hiccups. Any of you other attendees who did the VIP know what hiccups I'm referring to. But for those who did not, let's just say it was quite the cluster trying to check-in. They had 2 people checking in probably 2,000 people. People waited HOURS, to the extent where they had to miss the opening acts. Completely unacceptable for "VIP" treatment. But I was able to quickly put that behind me and kick the festival off with a bang.

Aaron Carter was the first to open up the set. Right before he came on, the sky opened up and it poured cats and dogs. Unfortunately his set got cut short; he only did 3 songs. This made me kinda mad because they had a DJ on after him. C'mon guys, cut the DJ short, not Aaron! I probably hadn't seen Aaron in 10+ years, so even though it was short-lived, it was a treat to see him. The whole time he was on stage I just couldn't get over how much he looked like his brother. Even the mannerisms were spot-on.

I can't be the only one who think he looks just like Nick.
In efforts to stay dry as much as I could, I decided to forgo my spot in front of the stage and hang out in the VIP tent. Word on the street was that Andrea Barber, or you may better know her as Kimmie Gibler, was wondering around and taking pictures. I didn't have any luck, so I decided to do my "free" massage. Very delightful 7 minutes indeed. Nothing horribly exciting happened the rest of the day. The New Kids kept popping into the VIP tent randomly. But never for more than 30 seconds at any given time. Just enough to get everyone screaming and then they'd leave.

Donnie saying hi in the VIP tent
By this point in the day, there were no artists I was particularly excited to see. Meanwhile the blockheads were already setting up camp, filling up the area in front of the stage. I pretty much just wandered around, trying to keep dry and wait for NKOTB and Kelly Clarkson. As the sky got darker, The Fray took the stage. I enjoyed their set, though overall it wasn't as lively and upbeat as I was hoping.

Me, Sara, and Ash looking oh so fashionable while trying to stay dry
Finally the New Kids on the Block were ready to come out. I noticed at the stage further from where they were supposed to perform, about 30 security guards huddled in 1 spot near backstage. Well if all my experiences have taught me nothing in life, where ever there are security guards there are musicians not too far away. My hunch proved to be right. The New Kids made a spectacular entrance and drove across the stadium. So at least I had a good view for a portion of the show.

The set was pretty much exactly the same as the set they do on NKOTBSB, even with all the remixes and stuff. The only difference was that they had a different opening song. I truthfully didnt mind the redundant set because I knew all the words, though it certainly would've been nice to see something at least a little different. Oh well. Had a great spot when the guys were in the middle.

My fave part of the show- Joey and his son singing Tonight

After New Kids, it was time for Kelly Clarkson. Thus I left the New Kids set a song or 2 early and this proved to be a great decision because I was able to get front row for Kelly. This is also thanks to Ash and Cort. Thanks girls! Her set was great. I love how humble and down-to-earth she is. I felt slightly bad because there didn't seem to be too many people who watched her. Once again, I think all the blockheads were waiting to see the New Kids at the after party. However, in the middle of her set, Joey came out and did a song with her. That was pretty neat. But I still think my favorite part of her set was Breakaway. I just love that song.

Front row for Kelly Clarkson
So after Kelly was the after party. I wasnt sure what to expect, but by the time I got there the place was a zoo. I pretty much just stayed long enough to see the New Kids say 'hi' and then left. The problem was I couldn't really see or hear them, so I felt there was no point in staying there any longer, especially considering I knew I needed my rest for Saturday.


Saturday was the day with literally everything going on! I knew it would be an exhausting day, and boy was it. First on the agenda was supposed to be our meet & greet with New Kids on the Block. Or so we thought. And so we were told. But clearly I had too much faith in the organizers. I should've known better. After waiting probably about an hour, being escorted into the tent where the New Kids were taking their pictures, all the VIP Bs were escorted out of line and told to go back later. Ugh, are you kidding me? Not only did this now mean we had a conflict with the BBQ, but they specifically told us we would be "fast-passed" And it meant our pain-staking efforts of finding a group with 2 Danny girls was all for nothing. I think that it what made me cry the most.


Well, after the crew and even my friends had to practically drag me out of line without our M&G, we headed off to the BSBBQ. Which was also a cluster of disorganization that I wont even get into or it will make me upset. Before I get into the fun stuff, my only other complaint was the location because everyone in the stadium could see what was going on, as well as all the folks waiting to take their picture with New Kids. I realize I'm getting nit picky in an otherwise great event, but those were my few negatives on this. But as someone who paid $250, I expect a bit more organization from GroundCtrl and I would've liked to see it held in a bit more of a private location.

Anyway, the Backstreet Boys showed up about an hour late, which was pretty good for them. Before they showed up- I spent 5 minutes of that time enjoying my hotdog. The rest of the time I frantically tried to find 3 other people to complete our NK picture group, that was messed up earlier. I felt like a lawyer as I negotiated between everyone. "Okay, if she stands next to Danny would you be willing next to stand next to Jon? Well, let me check with my group and I'll get back to you with a counter offer." I think I ran back and forth like 5 times, but we were eventually able to close the deal and miraculously found 2 Danny girls. I think I deserve a medal for that one.

Once the Backstreet Boys showed up, they didn't have mics so it was a little tough to hear them. But they gave a quick little intro on their loudspeakers and said they'd be coming by to mingle and play games with us. As most of the girls swarmed the tables where they were, I decided to hang back a bit with my friends and see if being patient and not a crazy person might pay off. Unfortunately it did not pay off. Major bummer. I'm a little regretful and wish I was a bit more proactive, because it seems most other people who attended the BBQ had really great stories. But alas, I cant be everywhere at once.

I found the event almost too overwhelming to process. You had each of the 4 guys scattered around the lawn, so I was torn on where to go! AJ was serving food, but I had already eaten so I didnt feel the need to go get more food. Nick was swarmed. Or at least he appeared to be. Howie was also going from table to table. And Brian was doing Wylee pre-orders. I didn't buy anything, but my friend Jessica did and was so gracious as to let me hop in the picture with her.

Me, Brian, and Jessica at the BBQ
After I got my pic with Brian, they started the games. They played cornhole and horseshoes with some fans. This was fun to watch. Each of the boys selected 3 fans to play with. So I felt like you could get a front row watching any one of them. I hopped around a bit to see each guy play.

Comical Video of Nick and AJ at the BBQ

AJ playing horseshoes
Nick trying to fix the horseshoe pole
After some of the games, I also snagged a picture with Howie. I was pretty pleased with how it came out. I was also pleased with just the overall event. I thought all the guys were in great spirits. Even Nick. They all took a bunch of pictures, really chatted with the fans, and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I really hope they decide to do more events like this in the future.

Me, Howie, and Kristen
After the fun and games, they did the meet & greet picture. Our group proved to be super disorganized. They were supposed to be in groups of 10, which we did. But we had no game plan and thus our picture turned out a bit chaotic. At least its a good representation of MixTape overall.

When I met the guys, they all commented on our shirts. Even though I cant take credit for making them, I do take credit for wearing it with pride.

New Kids on the Block Meet & Greet

After the BSB meet & greet, we hightailed it over to the New Kids meet & greet for take 2. I was so proud of myself for organizing our group after it was messed up earlier. However those efforts also proved to be in vain, because one fan who was leaving the event told us that the groups were all off sync and they were just taking the next 10 girls in line. Not the preorganized groups. Are you F-ing kidding me MixTape?? I'm not sure these people realize how much effort goes into these picture groups. I personally don't really care, but a lot of girls do.

Well, we finally made our way up to the front of the line. I was kinda nervous to meet them, since Ive never met them before. I don't know them nearly as well as I do the Backstreet Boys, nor do I honestly care as much.  Though all the chaos seemed to help keep me distracted. I was just so busy trying to arrange our groups such that everyone was as happy as possible.

However as we inched closer and closer to the front of the line, I could see the New Kids and to be frank, how miserable they looked. I think we must've been the 1200th or people they met that day, and it showed on their face. But despite how tired they were, they all very super pleasant to meet. I was impressed. Despite all the madness, our picture came out great.

Is it bad to say I was just happy I didn't have to stand next to Danny?
The Remainder of Saturday

The rest of the day was filled with lots of great artists and fun. The Wanted. LL Cool J. Carly Rae Jepsen. I found myself to be rather antsy that day and bounced around from either stage, the Wylee Party, and the VIP tent. Just trying to keep cool amid all the acts. Plus I was trying to spend a little bit of time with all my friends and fam.

Me and Kristen

Me and my bro
I tried multiple times to see Brian at the Wylee party. It probably took a good 3-4 hours before the crowds finally died down and I could actually make my way up front. He was so gracious doing autographs for everyone. I was actually able to chat with him for a hot second. I just told him how great the bbq event was and that we'd love to see more of those types of events in the future. In typical Brian fashion, he just made a joke about he was really hoping to be grilling at the event and was disappointed to see that it was catered.

Brian at the Wylee Party
Another highlight of the day for me was seeing 98` reunite. I had never seen them before, but I had their CDs back in the day so it was a lot of fun to see them perform. The great thing about seeing them was that I think 90% of the crowds were camped out on the other stage by that point. So I was able to walk up last minute and get a pretty decent view. See pic below.

Then was the main event. NKOTBSB! Another fantastic performance by both groups. It didnt really occur to me until we were at the concert that this would be THE last time NKOTBSB would be performing, for well...indefinitely. That made it really special. My friend Ash also pointed out either during IWITW or SMTMOBL that this would be the last performance by the Backstreet Boys without Kevin. And as a Howie girl, she was rather upset this would be the last time Howie sung Kev's verses. I never thought of that either! So it was a bitter sweet moment. I was just happy to be a part of it.

The show was pretty much what you're used to seeing. They had a few fun/unique moments though. I loved when Brian and AJ came out during Please Don't Go Girl. Clearly AJ sings that much better than Joey. The Wanted also came out at one point and they sang Im Glad You Came. So definitely a fun show!

After the concert, they had the after party in the VIP tent. It was a bit more lively that night because the New Kids and even some Backstreet Boys showed up. Sadly the one thing I got out of this experience was just how much more interactive the New Kids are. It pains me to admit it, but just in the hour or so I was there that night, I could see how the New Kids cruise would be a lot more fun. I see Donnie and Joey working the crowd while Howie is standing there with his beer watching them. I wanted to run up to Howie and yell, "Do something!" But hey, at least Howie showed up. And surprisingly Brian showed up for a bit as well.

The gang at the after party

Softball Game

This was a fun event! Nick didn't show up, and I think Team Backstreet definitely needed him. Though Im not sure it would've helped. We ended up losing 4 to 9. But we sure put in a solid effort. I think I'll let the pictures/videos speak for themselves on this portion, as this post is running a lot longer than intended.

The New Kids celebrating One Out
Brian trying to get the ball from Donnie's dog
Donnie enjoying what I can only imagine to be a beer at 10am

Howie at bat

Jon didn't play. But was quite entertaining to watch in the dugout with Joey's son
AJ playing in the field


  1. thats so funny that we both posted about mix tape at the same time a month later!!...haha!!

    i will take partial crdit for the bsbbq shirts...i came up with the slogan but i think kristen came up with a lot of the design for this one...

    you did an amazing job brokering the deal to get up some danny girls!...i know all of you hard work went out the window but we still got to stand next to joey!!

    i think that the amount of fun we had made up for all the disorganization...and look at it this way, it makes for a good story!

    my final still a little emotional about howie never singing the kevin parts that bad?!

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