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iHeartRadio Music Festival, a two-night crush of superstars, is returning to MGM Grand

Green Day frontman and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and his band perform at the 2012 iHeart Radio Music Festival in MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012.
Photo: Denise Truscello/WireImage/

2012 iHeartRadio: Night 1 at MGM Grand

2012 iHeartRadio: Night 2 at MGM Grand

The iHeartRadio Music Festival, a happy glut of live performances featuring many of the top international artists in the music industry, is heading back to MGM Grand Garden Arena for a third consecutive year.

The iHeart Festival is set for Sept. 20-21 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Officials from Clear Channel, which sponsors the shows as a way to promote the iHeart radio website and application, made the announcement official this morning.

Yet to be made public is the list of performers at the 2013 iHeart Festival. The previous events have drawn a dizzying array of performers representing every music genre. Last year’s appearances drew Aerosmith, Brad Paisley, Deadmau5, Linkin Park, Mary J. Blige, Calvin Harris, Ne-Yo, Enrique Iglesias, Pink, Pitbull, Deadmau5, Taylor Swift and many more. And that was just on the second of two nights.

Of course, opening night of last year’s event was pockmarked by the fury unleashed by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. The frontman of the long-established rock band busted up his guitar and spat profanities over what he believed was a shrinking of Green Day’s stage time.

The performance was pinched between elaborate sets starring Usher and Rihanna, and at one point Armstrong verbally blitzed Justin Bieber, who happens to be a protege of Usher. “I’ve been around since 1980-effing-8! You’re going to give me one effing minute? You’ve got to be effing kidding me! I’m not effing Justin Bieber, you mother-effers!” Then he axe-chopped his guitar, tossed the mic over his shoulder and lurched from the stage.

Two days later, Armstrong announced that he had entered a drug and alcohol rehab center.

Mostly, though, iHeart is known for its lavish and fulfilling live performances, more than 10 hours of music and production spilling over two nights. Last year’s show featured great sets by rock stalwarts Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. No Doubt opened the festival with a duet featuring Gwen Stefani and Pink.

Deadmau5 demonstrated a rarity, switching his giant, mouse-eared headgear twice in a single performance. And Prince turned up to supercharge the appearance by Mary J. Blige, playing guitar on “Sweet Thing” and singing with Blige on the song that was a hit more than 20 years ago for Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2U.”

But Clear Channel stresses that the iHeart Festival is not dedicated wholly to superstars. In partnership with Macy’s, the radio Goliath is bringing back the “Rising Star” campaign, scouring the country to find a great emerging act to play during the event. Last year, Megan and Liz won the campaign among Clear Channel radio listeners. Officials from the company have picked 25 largely unknown musicians to present to fans across the country, who then vote for their favorites. That process runs from Monday through May 12.

Fans across the country have a chance to attend the show through an on-air and online “Road to Vegas” promotion over Clear Channel’s 850 stations and websites. Information about the promotion, and ticket sales, will be available during the summer through and the station’s Facebook page.

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John Katsilometes is a columnist and magazine writer for the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly and editor-at-large for ...

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