The warmer weather of Sunday positively contributed to the overall atmosphere of The Meadows. Combined with the massive increase in attendance, the venue felt like what a summer festival should be. Excitement was high as the day counted down to the highly anticipated performance of Kanye West. For the majority, it was the can’t miss act of the night.
Able to make it to the final song for Metric’s set at the Queen’s Boulevard stage, they played a variation of their hit “Breathing Underwater.” As with most signature hits of performers, their audience knew the words passionately by heart. Walking around the crowd, the demographic skewed much younger on Day 2. With young talent like Chance the Rapper, Garrett Borns, and Mac Miller drawing in the millennials, it was much expected.
Borns’ Meadows performance was one stop on his national “Dopamine” album tour. The beauty of an album tour and with having only one album out is that he had more than enough time to play his best tracks. He played “Seeing Stars” and “10,000 Emerald Pools,” two big tracks from the album. He closed his set with “Electric Love.”
Among the festival-goers were famous faces showing their support for the acts. Pop star Ariana Grande was spotted watching Mac Miller’s set before riding off with him on a romantic golf cart ride. A few minutes before Chance the Rapper’s performance, the crowd cheered in utter joy as they spotted Chris Rock and Zac Efron backstage on the balcony level of The Meadows main stage. The latter even got the audience awaiting Chance to take a massive selfie with him.
When Chance the Rapper came on, he brought the intensity as anybody opening for Kanye West would. He opened with “Blessings” off his new album. In all the excitement, Chance even threw water into the crowd in a celebratory manner. The theatrics didn’t end there. Carlos, a sesame street style puppet, appeared on stage to converse with Chance about music including getting Chance to sing “Brain Cells.” The show didn’t end with one puppet as one more, Miss Dame, came out to sing with Chance. “Same Drugs” was performed with Chance playing the piano himself as Miss Dame provided light backup vocals.
When Chance dropped “No Problems,” his biggest song, the cement ground physically shook as the crowd jumped up and down in unison to the beat. He may as well have been the headlining act with the amount of energy the audience had. At the end of his set, he teased a new project that’s on its way.
Over at the Shea stage, The 1975 performed for a crowd who loved them. Declarations of love could be heard being yelled from the front row of the audience to Matthew Healy. The sang tracks from both of their albums including “A Change of Heart” and “Girls.” Their recent hit “The Sound” was actually their penultimate song before ending the night with “Sex.”
Absent from the days lineup was a strong presence in EDM. Kygo, the famous tropical-house DJ represented the genre with an outstanding performance. Starting strong by bringing out guest Parson James to sing their collaboration “Stole The Show” live, Kygo instantly won the festival. Coupled with a mesmerizing production that included pyrotechnics and colorful onscreen visuals, this was a sight to see. Other tracks he played the crowd loved were “Younger (Kygo Remix)” and Galantis’ “No Money.” He also teased a new song he was working on.
The audience was also shocked and treated to a another guest appearance during Kygo’s set. He brought out Shaggy to perform a remix of his famous “It Wasn’t Me.” Nostalgia hit many festivalgoers as they roared for the reggae singer. Kygo’s performance ran through the beginning of Kanye’s set time, much to the chagrin of fans of both acts.
The crowd for Kanye West extended past the reaches of the main stage further than anybody else over the two days. The rap star sang songs such as “Famous” and “Ni**as in Paris.” He even covered “Pop Style” by Drake. The audience was so massive, there were many hopping barricades to get a closer view of Kanye. Security could be seen escorting people out of restricted areas in waves.
Unfortunately, the performance was cut short. During the middle of Kanye performing “Heartless,” he was stopped by someone who informed him of an emergency. Kanye stopped and told the audience “I’m sorry there’s a family emergency. I have to stop the show,” and ran off the stage. Confusion and disappointment could immediately be heard by the thousands of people attending. Of course, at the time nobody knew how serious the matter was. Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian-West was reportedly tied up and robbed at gunpoint by armed men in her Paris hotel room.
The 30-minute delay and the abrupt ending without any context upset many fans. Some even began taking out their anger on staff members of The Meadows production team as they shoved their way through exits that were once restricted.
Overall, the inaugural Meadows Festival had many high points, making itself a strong addition to the mix of New York Music Festivals.