From boy bands and Britney to flannels and Converse sneakers, nothing beats the pop culture rage that swept us into this new millennium like the 90s did. It was a time where TV shows like Boy Meets World and Hey Arnold! had charm and MTV actually played music.
This past Saturday, Brooklyn played host to the 90s Fest, a music festival sponsored by more than twenty companies, most notably Nickelodeon. Held at 50 Kent Ave in Williamsburg, the festival began at 1 p.m. and continued well into the night. With Two Boots Pizza to munch on and Bud Light to sip on, the nostalgia was euphoric and completely skyrocketed when the music started. This year’s lineup featured memorable Grammy winners and nominees from the 90s.
Alongside the musical entertainment in attendance were comedian Pauly Shore who hosted the entire event, and Instagram celebrities Aleen Kuperman and Elliot Tebele. Kuperman is the founder of the popular account Betches while Elliot Tebele is the founder of FuckJerry.
This is life before the f*cking internet
– Pauly Shore, 90s Fest Host
Here are some of the 90s bands and musicians that showed up.
The Bayside Tigers got things started with covers of all the favs including Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” and Hootie’s “Only Wanna Be with You.” Good old Blind Melon, Tonic, and Smash Mouth brought the alternative rock to the stage, while Coolio, Naughty by Nature, and Salt-N-Pepa took us back in time and made us feel like we were re-witnessing the birth of hip hop culture.
Tonic, an American Rock band formed in 1993 by Emerson Hart and Jeff Russo, rocked the house. Throughout their career they collected two Grammy nominations. They are best known for their alternative rock and post grunge style. Their single “If you could only see” reached No. 11 on the Billboard Airplay Hot 100.
Coolio, also known as Artis Leon Ivey Jr, is an American rapper and musician and is best known for his Grammy winning single “Gangsta’s Paradise” which he won for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1996. His genres include West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, and G-funk.
Lisa Loeb is a contemporary folk/rock artist who launched her career with her single “Stay (I missed you)” in 1994. When the song hit number one on the charts, Loeb became the first artist to top the Hot 100 without signing to any record label. Her 1997 album, Firecracker was also nominated for a Grammy.
Blind Melon is an American Rock band formed in 1990 in Los Angeles, California. Best remembered for their 1993 single “No Rain,” Blind Melon enjoyed critical success for their neo-psychedelic take on alternative rock. Shannon Hoon was the lead vocalist until his death from a cocaine overdose in 1995.
Naughty by Nature, the Grammy award winning hip hop group from East Orange, New Jersey had their first nomination back in 1991 for their hit “O.P.P.” from their self-titled track. In 1996 they won for Best Rap Album for Poverty in Paradise.
The rain which had held off for most of the day finally arrived early in the evening. Party-goers were forced to trade in their flannels for rain ponchos, but that didn’t stop them from enjoying the ongoing festivities. Luckily the quick shower dissipated into a light on-and-off drizzle.
We grew up in the best decade ever. We had a unique voice. We knew culture.
– Random concert-goer
Smash Mouth is an American Rock Band from San Jose, California. The group was formed in 1994 by Steve Harwell who was formerly in a rap group called Freedom of Speech. They are best known for their ska punk style of music which is best seen in their first major single, “Walkin on the sun.” Their second album Astro Lounge was released in 1999 and had a change of direction – featuring more of a pop sound. The album received critical acclaim and was lead by the hit single “Allstar” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
When asked which genre they identify with, Smash Mouth answered, “There’s big stock in ska punk but we are definitely a pop band.” On his official Instagram account, Steve Harwell commented “I used to be a respectable man until my life was ruined by the 2001 hit, “Shrek.” The band elaborated on this comment stating, “Every kid grew up on Shrek: whether that song [Allstar] is hip or not it’s hip to them.”
Salt-N-Pepa is an American hip hop trio from Queens, New York. The group was formed in 1985 by Cheryl James, Sandra Danton, and Latoya Hanson, who was replaced by Deidra Roper in 1986. In 1994, Salt-N-Pepa collected three Video Music Awards; Best Electronic Dance, Best Choreography, and Best R&B Video.