Hearing hooves pounding on the grass, cheers and jeers coming from the Grandstands, and heavy bass thumping from the infield can only mean one thing, Infieldfest at the 144th Preakness Stakes is charging out of the gate!
That’s right, no longer is it required to have big white hats or even an appreciation for horse racing to have a good time at a Triple Crown event, thanks to The Stronach Group hosting their 11th annual music festival on the infield of Pimlico Race Course. It’s a great way for younger fans to get an up close and personal experience of Preakness without all the frills and stuffiness that can accompany it. Betting booths were set up within the festival grounds as well as jumbo screens and an open viewing area of the track. Not listed on the lineup were two Baltimore-based openers (XIVER and Rhyatt) whom, thanks to fan voting, got the chance of a lifetime to perform on a massive stage to a home crowd of over 20,000 fans, and they both took full advantage of it. Frank Walker officially got the party started (no small task at 11:15 AM) by playing his hits like “Leave the Light On”, “Heartbreak Back”, and his remix of Marshmello & Bastille’s song “Happier”. Following him (and a slight delay) Billboard Music Awards Top New Artist, Juice WRLD, took to the stage spitting his raps “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same” among others.
Australian born producer Fischer was next up, bringing his laid back surfer vibe to the dub/trance style of EDM he plays, perfectly encapsulated in his smash hit from 2018 “Losing It”. Norwegian superstar Kygo kept the chill vibes going for another hour with a loaded playlist kicked off by “Stole the Show” and included “Remind Me to Forget” and “Stargazing”, for which Justin Jesso made a surprise appearance to perform his vocals for the chart topping track. Kygo also performed “Carry On”, one of his newest collaborations with Rita Ora that was featured in the recent film “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu”. Oddly enough, the next performer was in that movie, and he made quite the Hollywood appearance Saturday.
After the U.S. Navy’s parachuting team, the Leap Frogs, came down from the skies, world renowned DJ Diplo also parachuted onto the racetrack, running over and taking to the stage still in his jumpsuit. Even players from the Redskins and Ravens strayed away from the races to witness his set that featured “To U”, “Electricity” and, befitting of the event, his remix of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus. Typically either of those two would close out a festival, but being a hometown hero (especially in Baltimore) can rightfully trump them. Therefore it was Logic who finished things off in his old backyard, demanding the crowd to get hype for some hip-hop while performing some of his bigger hits like “Keanu Reeves” and “1-800-273-8255”. From start to finish InfieldFest 2019 was an absolute blast and a unique backdrop to a Triple Crown race that can only be experienced during the Preakness Stakes.