Photo Credit to Mehreen Rivzi
October 1st not only marked one of the first chilly days this fall. It also marked the inaugural debut of The Meadows. Originally announced to be held on the grassy fields of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, better complementing the festival name, it ended up being at Citi Field at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a venue also known for hosting EDC New York. With a venue comfortable with hosting large crowds, the festival launched without too many major problems.
Upon entry, the venue was moderately packed never maxing out to capacity. Judging from ticket sales, Day 2 is predicted to have more attendees since it was sold out. Day 1’s lineup consisted of a great mix of genres ranging from hip-hop mainstay J.Cole to EDM fan-favorite Zhu.
There was a line for Kanye West (scheduled to perform on Day 2) merchandise longer than the bathroom lines.
Catching Chromeo on the main stage did not disappoint. The electro-funk duo were dressed in their almost signature leather outfits. At one point Dave 1 hopped off the stage and walked along the security barriers to greet fans while singing. This festival was setup with breaks on each stage after an act. This meant the shifting of crowds whenever a stage had an intermission.
Shifting to the Shea stage, waving the Rastafarian flag proud, Damien Marley performed with his band in full reggae fist-pumping glory. The Meadows also heavily celebrated the arts, visually noticeable by the many graffiti walls setup around the four stages. There were also wooden pallets all over the venue which featured paintings that crowds could examine as they walked by. Further exploring the festival, the Freeloaders lounge was a special section of the festival that offered free drinks for those eligible with the right wristbands. Food vendors were lined up on the perimeter of the venue with foods from all around the world.
The once mysterious Zhu performed on the Linden Blvd stage. His set was atypical of most DJs, he provided live vocals to accompany the musicians playing live instruments to give his performance a truly authentic sound. He played many songs off his new album including crowd favorite “Hometown Girl.” Near the end of his set, he had his entire crowd singing along with the song that shot him into stardom “Faded.”
Closing the night on the main stage was J.Cole, who was a replacement for originally scheduled The Weeknd. Much complaint about The Weeknd’s absence could be heard throughout the festival. On a twitter post, The Weekend claimed the absence was due to a change in curfew and scheduling, but promised to make it up to New York. On The Meadows stage, he opened with “Fire Squad” off his 2014 album. His performance ebbed and flowed in terms of intensity. Cole provided much insight into the creation of his songs to the audience when not singing a song. One of the highlights of his performance that got the entire crowd riled up was when he made a negative remark about Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
With Day 1 completed, Sunday’s lineup is expected to draw in larger crowds due to the headlining Kanye West, who has been overdue for a festival show since canceling at Governor’s Ball due to weather.