Written by: Austin Resnick
Day 2 of the inaugural Meadows Music and Arts festival had surprises no one saw coming. The Meadows took place alongside Citi Field in Queens, New York October 1st and 2nd. With a lineup featuring J. Cole, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, and many more, it was bound to be a crazy weekend, but a first-time festival is bound to have growing pains.
The Meadows was created by Founders Entertainment, the company who formed Governors Ball, which has taken place in NYC every summer since 2011. With this experience under their belt you would think The Meadows would run smoothly, but from what I experienced it was much different. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people in attendance. While I do not know the exact number of tickets sold, I can only describe it as claustrophobic. Trying to get a good view of any of the 4 stages took effort similar to shoppers hunting for deals on Black Friday, every person for themselves! All the pushing and shoving to the front left you shoulder to shoulder with what felt like every millennial from the tri-state area, like him or not, Kanye draws a crowd. Festival officials had to come out twice to ask the constantly growing crowd to back up to give breathing room for the people up front. This amount of people subsequently created huge delays both getting in and out of the festival as well as every source of mass transit in the area. I will say there was a good security presence and any problems in the audience were handled professionally, but at the end of the day there were too many people in that small of a venue. There’s my rant about that, now down to the important part, the music.
Sunday was packed with early sets from Mac Miller, Bryson Tiller, Cage the Elephant and many more, but the stars of the night were Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. Chance’s set was apart of his current Magnificent Coloring World Tour in support of his latest album, Coloring Book. Chance started his set right away with new songs and then stating he was so excited he forgot to introduce himself after four songs in. Chance had support on stage from a choir of singing puppets and a lion named Carlos who constantly called him “Big Fella”. The puppets took up the stage swaying and singing to hits “Sunday Candy”, “How Great” and “Blessings”. As a whole Chance put on an exciting, hit-packed performance that seemed very hard to follow, but up next was Yeezus.
Kanye was slated to come on at 8:15pm, but I think everyone in attendance knew that probably wasn’t happening. Sure enough 8:15 hits and no Kanye. Fortunately, sightings of Chris Rock and Jaden Smith kept part of the crowd entertained for a while. 8:45pm comes and finally the man of the night hit the stage. Kanye is currently on his Saint Pablo tour which consists of a flying stage that hovers over the center of the audience at every spot, but how was he going to translate his tour to the festival stage. The stage was lit with rows of orange and red lighting that hovered directly over Ye’s head. Along with a fog machines, creating a glowing, ominous ambiance. Kanye began his set with songs off his latest album The Life of Pablo and then began hitting classics from all throughout his career like “Power”, “Blood on the Leaves”, Jesus Walks and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”; The crowd loving every minute of it. About 40 minutes in Kanye began “Heartless”, paused 30 seconds in and stated “Im sorry, family emergency I have to cancel the show” and the glooming stage went dark. Confused, the crowd went silent and waited for the joke to be over, but reality hit when festival organizers hit the stage and stated “Kanye West has left the site, the show is over”. As it turned out Kim Kardashian West was tied up and robbed in Paris. Although the performance was short, the set was jam packed with hit after hit and proved why Kanye is seen as one of the greatest hip-hop artists ever.
At the end of the day I still thought the Meadows day 2 was a success. From what I am aware of, every other artist went it on with no problems and put on a show for everyone in attendance. It will be interesting to see what is in store for next year’s festival.