photos by Tyler Fewox
Founders Entertainment curated another standout year for The Meadows Music & Arts Festival in only its second year of existence. I knew it was going to be a fun time as I walked into several wacky waiving inflatable arm flailing tube men. Like New York City the festival had a vast majority of people, food, activities, and a diverse music lineup. Plenty words can describe the festival so I listed some ‘M’ words to speak about my Meadows experience.
Mets Stadium – Actually the festival took place in the parking lot beside Citi Field in Queens, New York. It was a cool setup, different than other festivals I’ve attended. The venue was like an oblong circle with the four stages in the middle facing outward. On the outer part you could find food, vendors, art, chill zones, and more. Fairly clean festival with the grounds, porta potties and all.
Melting Pot – New York City is one of the biggest melting pots in the world. The thousands of attendees represented a number of labels on face value. Aside from face value I also heard several languages walking through crowds. Fashion was impressive as well. Some people shared common themed clothes but mostly I saw many individuals walking around with their own fashion statements.
Media – Media had serious presence at The Meadows, TIDAL and VICELAND in particular. TIDAL provided live streaming throughout the festival. Not only is that cool for the viewers missing the festival at home but it also gave attendees several opportunities to be on live feeds. The VICELAND Bus saw major traffic all weekend. It had a chill spot with chairs outside. On the bus was a different story. Anytime you have the chance to go on a tricked out bus, definitely check it out. On this bus was a VICELAND photobooth, a DJ, and space to sit down and enjoy the bus. Taking a few minutes to check out the bus Sunday was definitely a memorable highlight. Stepping away from Nas’ set briefly to a DJ rocking the bus was pretty tight. I’m not the biggest cell phone fan at festivals but my service was on point, WiFi and all.
Merch – I decided to take advantage of the free swag available. I came home with a TIDAL bandana, VICELAND 3-D glasses, stickers, and VICELAND lighters. Mad props to VICELAND and the 3-D glasses because they certainly enhanced many shows throughout the weekend.
Munchies – Of the few things I ate, one thing in particular stood out. Ramen Burger. Yes like Ramen noodles. I had The Original “OG” Ramen Burger (86 scallions) and it was quite savory. It was a good burger with Ramen noodle buns, arugula, and some dank sauce. The paper wrapping was even cool for the burger. Ramen Burger: light, not sloppy, and reasonably priced. Eat one if you have the chance!
Multigenerational – So many generations were in attendance at The Meadows. Possibly the youngest median crowd age for a festival I’ve attended. Young kids, teenagers, parents chaperoning, and so on. It’s almost like a culture shock to encounter other generations, especially when music is involved. A few younger girls on the subway were excited to see Future, but had no idea who LL Cool J or Erykah Badu were. Needless to say The Meadows opens arms to all age.
Mingle – The Meadows had plenty of chill and mingle zones. VICELAND area, ground space, picnic tables, and more. The Bud Light “Calling All Friends” area was dope. I found myself there a few times. Not only did they have DJ’s playing music constantly, but there were even some lounge spots and cool art. The fire pits had charging cords as well. Even hanging out in the media tent was cool because you could still hear music from the closest stages while resting, recharging, and having a Bud Light.
Misguided – I feel the need to use the word ‘misguided’ because it describes this generation we currently live in. A girl wearing Jordan’s thought MJ played for the Miami Heat. I love to hear musicians essentially preach about humans looking out for one another regardless of age, sex, race, creed, etc in spite of propaganda to tear us apart. Too many people with internet access take what they’re told for truth without researching or do something because it is cool or popular. It’s ok to be part of the latter, but at least have an individual reason for your taste. Manners, respect, or even common courtesies are almost things of the past. Everyone can always use a touch up on the topics, myself included.
Music – Excellent variety, more my kind of festival. Calm tunes to sit and chill, play hackey sack, maybe dab some, or even full blown headbang. I didn’t really expect too many visuals from some sets if any at all, but they were on point all weekend. It was cool to see numerous bands on stage, often with more than four people. Antibalas had a lively performance with members dancing, singing, and playing several instruments along their Where The Gods Are In Peace album backdrop. Funky chill band for sure. Other notable bands I enjoyed: Two Door Cinema Club, Milky Chance, TV On The Radio, and Broken Social Scene. It was great to see accepted southern representation in performances by: Migos, Big Boi, and Future. So glad I got see both Bassnectar and Red Hot Chili Peppers in NYC to close out the weekend.
My Ladies – Erykah Badu, M.I.A., and Sleigh Bells‘ Alexis Krauss killed the show. I was looking forward to all of their sets and they did not disappoint. Erykah Badu and her words along with her musical talent was an awesome sight on The Meadows Stage. M.I.A. came out in orange with high energy alongside DJ Tiger in her set at Queens BLVD Stage, dance music for sure. Her set had sick visuals that were 3-D glasses friendly. Alexis Krauss rocked out beside her two guitar shredding counterparts as she had the crowd headbanging at Shea Stage.
Messages & Memos – I saw several messages whether it was passing conversations, music on stage, or just in people’s fashion. At Joey Bada$$‘ set on the American Eagle Stage, I saw a yellow Kodak hat which read “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” On a passing shirt, “Where there is Unity there is Victory”. I heard some of the most powerful messages and memos from Erykah Badu. One of which was to “Stay Woke”, meaning to be aware of who you are at all times. She spoke those words in reference to the inspiration for her album title relating to a scene in the documentary The Fourth World War. A chick in a Grizzlies Mike Bibby jersey seemed to be moved by every bit of Erykah Badu‘s words too. Overall I got the memo to be here for each other and spread positivity from several instances.
Memory Lane – Many memories are in the books for another amazing New York minute. Soooo much music this time. A few more artists to check off the list. Jay-Z , “That nigga nice” referencing Damian Marley as he spit “Welcome To Jamrock” alongside the huge balloon dog. Immediately finding energy to dance for Gorillaz’ “Dirty Harry”. “Under the Bridge” live, meeting first time festies, late night rooftop parties with DJ Plungerhands, and after parties with Big Wild. I could go on for days. Look out for The Meadows in years to come!