— 31 October 2022

JBL FEST 2022: A Las Vegas Takeover Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen

— 31 October 2022
John McMahon
John McMahon

The only thing bigger than JBL in the landscape of audio brands might be its sound. It’s a signature sonic pleasure we’ve come to know and love through the recognisable thump of a light-dancing PartyBox, or pound-for-pound excellence in the affordable earphone segment.

But I don’t think even I, as both a fan and a user of JBL products, really appreciated the power of JBL as a global brand until JBL FEST 2022. Last month, as just one of their 500 guests from all corners of the globe, I was flown to Las Vegas for the three-day festival of music, gaming, and sport.

After a couple of weeks to process the sheer logistical insanity, I can confidently say it was the biggest and most impressive brand exercise I had ever seen in my seven years travelling the world with Boss Hunting.

JBL executed an outrageous itinerary, enhanced by activity organised by the JBL Australia team that would bring even the most seasoned reveller to their knees.

The advice upon touchdown was clear as the skies over Las Vegas – lean into it, and give every day 110%. Sound words that had me scrape through to the end on Airplane Mode upon my return to Australia.

I should have known what I was in for when arriving at the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas, which was completely rebranded for JBL FEST; the pools, the halls, even the hotel room keycard, all featured JBL.

It wasn’t until the first evening ahead of Bebe Rexha’s opening performance at the House of JBL, though, that it really slapped me in the face. Rob Gronkowski, right hand man to Tom Brady and all-time NFL great, casually jumped up on stage to introduce the singer and JBL ambassador to a packed crowd of understandably surprised guests. Okay, I thought, so when JBL Australia said this would be big, they meant big.

JBL Fest 2022
Denise Truscello/Getty Images for JBL

In between red carpets and a special warm up set from Kiwi boys Jupiter Project, we ducked off for a night time helicopter flight over the lights of Las Vegas to get ourselves orientated, and finished the evening with the best seat in the house for Nicky Romero at Omnia, one of the premiere clubs in the world.

After dusting ourselves off from the night before, day two saw us dive into a forum on the Metaverse, get hands on with the new JBL Quantum gaming range, and even demo the JBL Tour Pro 2 with a much-hyped screen on the charging case.

As the sun went down, hundreds of regular punters began to line up for miles through the hotel lobby (and even into the carpark) to potentially get a spot in the courtyard which had been transformed into a festival stage for JBL Live! – a free concert with The Kid LAROI and Doja Cat.

We were ushered alongside Tigerlily to a row of VIP cabanas sectioned off especially for all four of their headline talent. Newcomer to the JBL global ambassador lineup, The Kid LAROI, knocked it out of the park for the opening set. Undoubtedly one of the hottest rising artists in the world right now, the home grown Aussie teenager brought an energy that I don’t even think the JBL team were expecting.

His electric performance of his short (but sweet) top 40 bangers were equally matched with a huge ensemble of bouncy tunes from Doja Cat herself. The rest of the evening following JBL Live! was once again turned up to 11 and then quickly morphed into the morning.

At this point, the only way to push through the final day was to get back on the horse with a Tao Beach Club x Hakkasan double header. The former speaks for itself – chilled beach club vibes in the shadow of the towering Venetian Hotel to warm us up for the peak of JBL FEST 2022.

Then came the big guns, what we had been building up to all week. If the scale of JBL FEST wasn’t abundantly obvious thus far, an exclusive JBL takeover of MGM’s Hakkasan – with Tigerlily opening for Martin Garrix – would surely do the trick.

We were ushered in before the doors opened for Tigerlily’s soundcheck, a rather bizarre experience given you could hear a pin drop in a place that is usually pumping sound wall to wall. A row of PartyBox 1000’s lined the platform above the DJ booth, and JBL FEST branding danced across the LED screens.

Following a strong dancefloor tease by Tigerlily, Garrix was ushered in to a full house and proceeded to the blow the doors off with some iconic big room bangers. One hell of a way to close out the week.

Big love to JBL Australia for the hospitality. They promised we’d never have to return to Vegas ever again, and that goal was well and truly smashed after day one.

This article is sponsored by JBL. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

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John McMahon
John McMahon is a founding member of the Boss Hunting team who honed his craft by managing content across website and social. Now, he's the publication's General Manager and specialises in bringing brands to life on the platform.


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