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Founders festival The Meadows off to rocky start

The Meadows, the latest contribution to New York’s increasingly crowded festival scene from Governors Ball promoter Founders Entertainment, has come under fire from local politicians for falsely claiming the endorsement the city’s parks department.

In its launch press release, the festival, which will take place in the car park of the Citi Field stadium, said it had the backing of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance – a parks department initiative, launched by New York mayor Bill de Blasio in November, to support and promote the upkeep of the Queens park of the same name – something it’s emerged isn’t the case.

Councillor Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, whose district includes the park, said in a statement: “I met with Founders Entertainment to hear their proposals and tell them they must engage more stakeholders to build support for this festival. I was troubled to see them then claim the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance as a partner when the alliance is not a partner and was never consulted about this event.”

The claim has since been removed from The Meadows website.

“We are just starting to engage with local stakeholders and apologise if we misrepresented the status of those conversations previously”

Ferreras-Copeland also said there are “serious concerns about the impact of a music festival on our community, including how this would impact Maker Faire, an existing and popular event in the same park on the same days. Founders must engage around issues like traffic, safety and economic impact before it earns our community’s support.”

Dan Wempa, vice-president of the New York Hall of Science, which hosts Maker Faire, also criticised Founders, telling the Queens Times Ledger his event will now be unable to use the Citi Field car park for overflow parking.

In a statement, Founders said “We are just starting to engage with local stakeholders, look forward to announcing these plans shortly and apologise if we misrepresented the status of those conversations previously.”

The New York festival market is a key battleground between ‘big two’ promoters Live Nation and AEG Live this year: Live Nation acquired Founders in early April, not long after AEG-owned Goldenvoice announced plans for its own New York festival, Panorama, set for 22 to 24 July.

Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, The Weeknd and Kygo will headline The Meadows, on 1 and 2 October. Here’s the line-up so far:

The Meadows line-up, Founders Entertainment