This year on the east coast, the most hyped music festival was Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island in New York City. With headliners like The Strokes, The Killers and Kanye West, it seemed like an easy decision for music fans with the means of attending in the big apple. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men. Thunderstorms rolled into the city causing the cancellation of the final day of the festival, leaving thousands devastated as they were unable to see some incredible acts like Vince Staples, Courtney Barnett and the headliner, Kanye West.
Those same fans likely rejoiced, however, upon the announcement of a new music festival to fill the empty space in their hearts left by that disappointment. Shortly after Governors Ball, the organizers of the festival, Founders Entertainment, announced the inaugural Meadows Music and Arts Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park to take place Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 in Queens. The announcement was followed by significant fanfare, as the lineup is impressive from top to bottom, particularly the headliners which feature Kanye West, The Weeknd and Chance the Rapper.
Saturday’s lineup initially starred The Weeknd, fresh off of his massive hit record “Beauty Behind The Madness,” as the main attraction of the night. However, fans of The Weeknd had a bit of a scare Sept. 22 when the festival announced that due to scheduling conflicts with his performance on “Saturday Night Live,” The Weeknd would be unable to perform at the festival. Taking his place would be J. Cole, the first rapper to release a platinum album with no features. That’s a great replacement, but The Weeknd’s silky voice and dark beats are a treat to see live and missing that opportunity would have been a real disappointment for festival goers. That disappointment didn’t last long, as the festival was able to work with The Weeknd giving him an earlier set time on Saturday to avoid the conflict with SNL. Now instead of one main headliner on Saturday, fans are rewarded with two phenomenal performers Saturday night.
Besides the headliners, a litany of smaller acts are must-see performers. Scottish indie band Frightened Rabbit are touring their new album “Painting of a Panic Attack,” which has a grander sound than their previous records and should be a great live show.
Also performing Saturday is Post Malone, a rapper with a bit of a lean-influenced feel from Texas who recently released his full length debut mixtape “August 26th” in May, but is known best for his hit “White Iverson.” Though a lot of his music is low-key, he’ll show out for the fans at Meadows, as it’ll likely be one of the biggest crowds he’s played for.
The non-headlining artist I’m most excited for is Grimes. Coming off her truly weird and beautiful 2015 album “Art Angels,” Grimes is set to put on a real show. In the past, her set and costume design has been eccentric and interesting, a great companion to her music. “Art Angels” is like the album Carly Rae Jepsen would have made if she grew up on K-pop instead of Britney Spears and I mean that as the highest compliment possible. It’ll be a great show and I can’t wait.
Sunday is action packed and will likely come with some unfortunate overlaps between great artists. Though the set times haven’t been announced yet, it’ll be tough to make a lineup that doesn’t have any conflicts.
A particular artist of interest is rap mogul Pusha T, currently president of GOOD Music founded by Kanye West and former member of the now disbanded rap duo Clipse in the early 2000s. Since the end of Clipse, Pusha T has put together an exceptional solo career as the “last cocaine superhero.” His lyrics are hardcore and clever and he flows with an effortless toughness that makes his music eminently likeable and will almost certainly please fans and casual festival goers alike during his set.
Mac Miller, coming off his new album “The Divine Feminine,” will perform later in the day. His recent music has been jazz inspired and groovy and will absolutely impress live.
Other acts, including R&B star Bryson Tiller, British alternative rockers The 1975 and EDM hit-makers Kygo will round out the day for non-headliners. I’m particularly excited for The 1975, as they just released a great pop-rock album and will likely own whatever stage they end up on.
Closing out the night are Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. Having seen Chance at the Made In America Festival in Philadelphia, i can say you cannot miss his act. Inspirational, beautiful and fun are the first three words that come to mind. He mixes in some songs from his second mixtape “Acid Rap” and a heavy dose from his recent release “Coloring Book,” and it’s just a treat overall. Also, he might end up bringing out Kanye (or vice versa) to perform their hit “Ultralight Beam” from Kanye’s 2016 album “The Life of Pablo” and that’ll absolutely be a must see musical experience. There’s not enough that can be said about seeing Kanye West live, he has so many hits that he could play for days without repeating and has unparalleled stage presence. He’s an absolute must-see.
The weekend is set to be a killer one. Let’s just hope the weather cooperates this time.