Five reasons to hit the Strip for iHeartRadio Music fest

(Clockwise from top left): H.E.R., Camilla Cabello and Cage the Elephant

Pop music takes center stage when the iHeartRadio Music Festival returns to Las Vegas for the ninth straight year. The 2019 edition will set up in two locations—T-Mobile Arena for the nighttime festivities September 20-21 and Las Vegas Festival Grounds for September 21 daytime gathering. Unsure if it’s for you? Read on for five reasons to attend, beyond FOMO.

H.E.R. Gabriella Wilson, aka R&B singer H.E.R., dropped her sultry debut album to critical acclaim in 2017, and at 22 she has already thrown and curated her own music fest, the Lights On Festival, in partnership with Live Nation. Give Wilson's 2018 EP, I Used to Know Her: The Prelude, a spin before heading to iHeart, where the singer will deliver her hazy sounds and raw lyricism.

Billie Eilish & Chance the Rapper Both have released new albums this year, and they’re the only two stars playing both big Vegas festivals this weekend. If you’re not heading to Life Is Beautiful, you can still catch low-key pop singer Eilish (on Saturday’s Daytime Stage) and/or rapper Chance (at T-Mobile Arena Saturday night), thanks to iHeart. The A.V. Club called Chance’s latest album “an uncompromisingly individualistic effort that further cements [his] meteoric ascent from Chicago South Side rapper to global superstar,” and that—plus Eilish’s brand of millennial pop—feels like the perfect way to close out the summer in Las Vegas.

Miley Cyrus She’s been all over the headlines since she started dating Kaitlynn Carter (soon after Cyrus’ split with ex-husband Liam Hemsworth), and the “Wrecking Ball” singer isn’t going anywhere soon. September collab “Don’t Call Me Angel”—a track for the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot—features Cyrus in typically fierce fashion alongside fellow stars Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey. Expect outlandish outfits, memorable banter and crowd-pleasing songs when the erstwhile Hannah Montana star returns to Las Vegas.

Camila Cabello By now, surely you’ve seen the viral makeout video between this American-Cuban singer and her boyfriend, Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes. Since then, the former Fifth Harmony member showed off more of her quirky sense of humor with the Liar Liar-inspired music video to playful new single “Liar.” She released debut solo album Camila last year, and she dropped the chart-topping “Señorita” with Mendes in June. Might her Vegas set bring her beau to the stage, too? There’s only one way to find out.

Cage the Elephant The Kentucky band has been an alt-rock favorite since dropping “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” in 2008. Cage has since released five studio albums, including April’s Social Cues—an album that blends slinky garage-rock, trippy psychedelics and effortless pop hooks even as it tackles singer Matt Shultz’s divorce and other personal subjects. It’s the kind of record you can groove to all night, and this live iHeart set could prove even groovier.

IHEARTRADIO MUSIC FESTIVAL September 20-21, 7:30 p.m., $86-$2,000/day, T-Mobile Arena, 702-692-1600.

DAYTIME STAGE September 21, 11 a.m., $49, Las Vegas Festival Grounds, iheart.com.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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