Food & Drink

Preakness 2016: Get to know this year's InfieldFest music lineup

DJs Adam Pall and Andrew Taggart of the Chainsmokers.

Depending on your age and engagement with popular music, you might not recognize much — or any — of this year's InfieldFest lineup.

While previous lineups have balanced up-and-coming artists (Lorde, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) with well-established acts with wide-audience appeal (Maroon 5, Bruno Mars), the 2016 version doubles down on the former.


For those left scratching their heads, we're here to help with this primer on the acts hitting both stages Saturday afternoon.

The Chainsmokers (main stage, 4 p.m.)


Who are they? New York City DJs and producers Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall

Why you (might) know them: We'll explain, but first … let us take a "#Selfie." The hashtagged single from 2014 matched self-absorbed spoken word about Instagram filters with the bass-throbbing bump of electronic dance music. "Roses," a top 10 single in the U.S., was even more popular, thanks to a memorable vocal performance from Philadelphia singer Rozes.

Recommended spin: "Don't Let Me Down," featuring Daya, plays with the push-and-pull dynamics of EDM. The tension always builds gracefully to "the drop," the dramatic climax of an EDM song and a central aspect of the repetitive music's appeal.

Why they're worth checking out: Headliners for a reason, the Chainsmokers tap into the college-crowd's love affair with EDM and festival culture with a deft hand.

Rapper Fetty Wap.

Fetty Wap (main stage, 1:30 p.m.)

Who is he? New Jersey native rapper born Willie Maxwell II

Why you (might) know him: "Trap Queen," Fetty Wap's double-platinum ode to a loyal and supportive woman, was one of rap's biggest crossover hits of the past few years. The song solidified Fetty Wap as an emerging rap star with an obvious talent for hook-writing.

Best song: His self-titled debut album from last year has no shortage of contenders, but "Again," another single, is the most joyous and clearest reflection of Fetty Wap's penchant for sticky choruses. Once you hear it, good luck removing it from your brain.


Why he's worth checking out: His set will feel like a tour through rap radio's recent hits. He croons a lot of his lyrics, so singing along is easy.

Towson pop-punk band All Time Low, L-R: Jack Barakat, Rian Dawson, Alex Gaskarth and Zack Merrick.

All Time Low (Jagermeister stage, 2:30 p.m.)

Who are they? Pop-punk stars from Towson

Why you (might) know them: Pop-punk bands don't often last, but the quartet of Jack Barakat, Alex Gaskarth, Rian Dawson and Zack Merrick have flipped the script by growing more popular with each release. Their sixth album, 2015's "Future Hearts," debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, their highest placement to date.

Best song: Over the years, the band has trended toward more polished rock, but "Dear Maria, Count Me In" — a three-minute sugar-rush about an exotic dancer, and their first hit — still holds up well.

Why they're worth checking out: All Time Low is one of the area's most commercially successful bands right now, and this performance should have the energy of a homecoming show.


Corey Smith (Jagermeister stage, 10 a.m.)

Who is he? Country singer/songwriter from Jefferson, Ga.

Why you (might) know him: With recent albums like last year's "While the Gettin' is Good" and 2014's "Maysville in the Meantime," Smith has built a career from the ground up, growing a fanbase one show at a time with little help from country radio.

Best song: Smith's greatest strengths are his eye for detail, and his ability to make generic scenarios feel nuanced and specific. It's on full display on "Twenty-One," a (somewhat creepy) sing-along about how quickly life passes.

Why he's worth checking out: Smith tells interesting stories, and they'll be easy to follow early on in the day before the crowds swell.

Chris Janson (Jagermeister stage, 12:15 p.m.)


Who is he? Country singer/songwriter from Nashville-via-Missouri

Why you (might) know him: Janson had a country-radio hit last year with "Buy Me a Boat," a mellow rocker about wanting to get rich.

Best song: "Where You Come In," a dramatic piano ballad and a slow dance waiting to happen.

Why he's worth checking out: The yin to Smith's less-conventional yang, Janson focuses on tried and true country sounds and topics ("Power of Positive Drinkin'," "Messin' with Jesus") that have yet to fail him.

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Frank Walker (main stage, 11:15 a.m.)

Who is he? DJ and producer from Ontario, Canada


Why you (might) know him: He has shared bills with EDM titans like Tiesto, Dillon Francis and the Chainsmokers. Walker opened InfieldFest's main stage last year, too.

Best song: While the Chainsmokers' brand of EDM clearly has its eyes set on the pop charts, Walker's music wears its debt to soulful Chicago house proudly. "All I Want," from Walker's new "Nocturnal EP," blends the sounds smoothly.

Why he's worth checking out: Get used to that ribcage-shaking bass early, because it won't let up until the concert is over.