Meadows Music and Arts Festival, the latest addition to New York City’s growing festival scene, is coming under fire just 24 hours after its initial announcement. The two-day event, set for October 1 and 2, is being presented by Governors Ball creators Founders Entertainment and was described in its initial press release as being presented in partnership with Metropolitan Hospitality and the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance.
But new statements from both the city’s Parks Department and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland reveal that the festival’s creators had not officially partnered with the FMCP Alliance. The language around that partnership has been removed from the festival’s website.
“FMCP Alliance is not involved with the Meadows Music Festival, and they are not a co-sponsor of the event,” a Parks Department spokeswoman said. The Parks Department is part of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance, which was organized by Congresswoman Ferreras-Copeland.
“I met with Founders Entertainment to hear their proposals and tell them they must engage more stakeholders to build support for this festival,” Councilwoman Ferreras-Copeland said in a statement Wednesday (June 22). “I was troubled to see them then claim the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance as a partner, when the Alliance is not a partner and was never consulted about this event.
“There are serious concerns about the impact of a music festival on our community, including how this would impact Makers Faire, an existing and popular event in the same park on the same day,” she continued. “Founders must engage around issues like traffic, safety and economic impact, before it earns our community’s support.”
When reached for comment on the backlash, Founders Entertainment was apologetic about the announcement, but stressed that they are committed to supporting the local community. Governors Ball has a program called Gov Ball Gives Back, which partners with local organizations to support charitable and nonprofit initiatives.
“Founders Entertainment is always looking for ways to benefit the communities in which its events are produced,” the company’s reps said in a statement provided to Billboard. “As part of our commitment for the Meadows, we are excited about the opportunity to support Flushing Meadows Corona Park, one of the great parks in the country, and many other important community needs. We are just starting to engage with local stakeholders [and] look forward to announcing these plans shortly and apologize if we misrepresented the status of those conversations previously.”
The disconnect between Founders and the Alliance is of particular note because the park was part of the public battle between Founders, which has produced Governors Ball for the past six years on Randall’s Island, and AEG Live/Goldenvoice, which is bringing Panorama Festival to the same location this July. Initially, AEG Live had planned to host Panorama at the Queens location, but New York City denied all permit applications for a festival in the park, including those from Founders and MSG. The city has not yet introduced a process to allow for permits within that park.
But the permit issue is not the one at hand here. Meadows Festival is technically being held at the “Citi Field complex,” which is owned by the New York Mets, and Metropolitan Hospitality is the company that handles all non-game-day events for the ballpark (a Metropolitan Hospitality spokesperson confirmed to Billboard that the festival will take place in Citi Field’s parking lot). Since Citi Field is not run by the city, Founders does not need a city permit to hold a festival there. But the local community, including the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which has put on the annual World Maker Faire for the past six years and is preparing for the seventh edition the same weekend as Meadows, is unhappy.
“By bringing another 30,000-50,000 people per day into the neighborhood, this poorly planned mega-concert will undermine what we have done over the past seven years to address community concerns about traffic, safety, and parking,” a spokesperson for the Hall of Science said in a statement provided to DNAInfo on Tuesday. The Faire has utilized Citi Field’s parking lots for the past few years to manage the tens of thousands who attend the annual event; with the parking lot tied up, there are fears that a traffic nightmare could ensue.
Kanye West, The Weeknd and Chance the Rapper are all scheduled to headline Meadows’ festival this year. Founders is billing West’s performance as the promised makeup show after his headlining set at Governors Ball was rained out June 5.