From Saturday, October 1st, to Sunday, October 2nd, the E and F parking lot outside Citi Field was home to the inaugural Meadows Music and Arts Festival, which boasted performances by J.Cole, Chance the Rapper, and Kanye West.
There were mixed reactions when New York’s Founders Entertainment, known for putting together New York’s Governor’s Ball, announced their plans to bring a fall festival to New York’s music scene, especially in the wake of confusion about location, news of a rainstorm, and headliner The Weeknd dropping out only a few days before the show.
These worries proved needless, however, as the launch of The Meadows Festival was hugely successful. It certainly wasn’t sunny, but cloudy skies turned out to be ideal for waiting in packs for the artists to appear, and J.Cole outdid himself, giving his all in his performance.
While not watching the performers, attendees could take pictures with any of the beautiful art pieces installed specifically for the event or hit up the food lineup. Vendors included Dough (my personal favorite), Korilla BBQ, Pizza Nova, and Tea and Milk. There were also vegan, vegetarian, and gluten - free options to accommodate almost any kind of diet.
As a huge Kanye fan, I had to be up close to see him, and so spent my second day waiting ten rows from the front of the Meadows Stage for Yeezus himself to appear. My eight hour long wait was both exhilarating and frightening. Multiple fans fainted, overcome by body pressure and fatigue, and when water became scarce, we all shared, thirsty enough to swap spit with countless strangers. Tensions ran high, but luckily, the desire to see Kanye perform up close was stronger than the urge to fight.
Nevertheless, there were some great moments while waiting. Those close enough to the stage were able to catch a glimpse of Chris Rock and Zac Efron in the VIP box, and everyone was able to see artists like The Temper Trap and Bryson Tiller perform. The situation turned dire, however, during Chance the Rapper’s set, when the crowd surged forward, crushing those in the front rows. Everything was halted while an employee urged everyone to have “human decency” and step back to let people breathe.
Finally, after a long, irritable day, Kanye West started performing a mere (for him) half an hour late. After delivering songs from his newest album, The Life of Pablo, Kanye performed hits from across all six of his critically acclaimed albums, including “Black Skinhead”, “Mercy”, and “Ni**gas in Paris.” Unfortunately, a minute into “Heartless,” Kanye had to leave due to a family emergency, but left behind a crowd both pumped and pleased.
Overall, the inaugural Meadows Festival was equally as enjoyable as it was a huge success. Although there were a few hiccups, it was a great intro to what will no doubt be another long running music festival for New Yorkers to enjoy.