When work and play make the best day
July 27, 2015
By Jamal Chatman
At 22 years young, I’ve had a handful of enjoyable experiences I’ve prematurely dubbed as “the best time of my life.” None of those previous experiences prepared me for the epic event which Hampton Road residents know as Shaggfest, which happened Sat., July 25. However, up until last summer, Shaggfest wasn’t on my radar.
Last year, I attended Shaggfest as a casual concert goer. This year became the come-up as myself and nine others contributed to the overall success of Shaggfest as Z104 promotional assistants. On our end, promoting meant plastering “Z” banners all over Farm Bureau Live.
Around 3 p.m., Farm Bureau event staff opened the floodgates to let the crowd inside. The promo team and I had a “Z” table and tent stationed near the front entrance. We were tasked with greeting people as they walked in, and also snapping photos of fans with a life-sized Trey Songz cardboard cutout.
The cutout seemed so realistic that one woman nearly had an out-of-body experience when she thought Trey was that easily accessible. Once she realized the cutout wasn’t Songz in the flesh, she halfheartedly took the photo despite “Mr. Steal Your Girl” not physically being in front of her. This was only the beginning. As the Shaggfest crowd dramatically increased, I witnessed a flock of single women gesture themselves in the most provocative yet funniest of poses…all for a cardboard cutout!
Now imagine what would have happened if Trey was standing between us and the entrance of the venue. Not only would my team and I have been viciously mauled by the Trey’s Angels fan base, but Songz himself would have to fight off the countless women ready to throw themselves at him…and I thought I had the best job in the world!
Super-producer Timbaland and his protégé Tink, rapper-actor Rotimi from the series Power, Ma$e, and the “Classic Man” himself Jidenna all had powerhouse performances. Timbaland kept the crowd rocking when he performed his greatest hits with various artists from Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot and late R&B starlet Aaliyah.
Time has flown and by the time Timbaland finishes his set, it’s a little after 9:30. Before “The Prince of VA” graced his presence on stage, Z104’s Shaggy himself laid down some rapping skills to some classic ‘90s hip-hop hits while DJ Babey Drew provided the music. Shaggy killed it! Who knows? Maybe one year, Shaggy could headline his own music festival.
Finally. The music is dramatically cut down. Only a slew of stage lights remain lit. The Jumbotron screen facing the upstage center wall blares out a random visual pattern. The time is 9:56 p.m. Screams and shrieks erupt from fans from the pit area to the lawn seats. Trey opens up with his most recent radio hit “Slow Motion.”
He did songs reaching as far back as his debut album I Gotta Make It to his most recent Trigga: Reloaded. Originally, I was reluctant to enjoy a male R&B artist whom caters his songs mainly to women. My main focus was on his all-female backup dancers. My mind changed when I heard some of my favorite Trigga cuts “Can’t Be Friends” and “I Invented Sex.” Eventually, I loosened up and sang along to all the songs I knew. Forget Coachella and Bonnaroo, Shaggfest is where I want to be every summer!