Jan. 12, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
The Parks Department has denied all current applications for large-scale festivals at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, nixing three major concert events that had been planned for this year.
According to the agency, Parks decided against permitting any large, multi-day festivals this year at FMCP, in part to minimize impact on park users, with consideration for the cultural and athletic events that already take place there.
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said, “While we are heartened by the interest in one of Queens’ most historic parks, our primary concern is ensuring the park is available for the many New Yorkers who call Flushing Meadows Corona Park their backyard.”
Goldenvoice, the division of AEG Live behind the massive Coachella festival in California, had filed an application with the Parks Department to hold a music festival in the park called “Panorama.”
Founders Entertainment, the organizers behind the Governors Ball music festival on Randall’s Island in June, and the Madison Square Garden Company also applied for permits.
Following the application denials, Goldenvoice announced that it will instead hold Panorama on Randall’s Island from July 22 to 24. The event has not been permitted yet, but the Parks Department said final logistics are the next step.
This move will put Panorama in the same space that Founders Entertainment uses for Governors Ball, a little more than a month later. Founders, which had originally sought an FMCP event because they thought Panorama would detract from Governors Ball, criticized the City for blocking the festivals.
Tom Russell of Founders Entertainment called the decision “short-sighted and disappointing.”
“The city needs a long-term strategy for approving music festivals that ensures it is maximizing the economic and community impact of these events,” Russell continued. “Scheduling two same-genre festivals on top of each like this makes it difficult for either to provide the maximum benefit to its fans, its neighbors and taxpayers.”
However, Goldenvoice, Founders Entertainment and MSG all said that they remain interested in holding an event in Queens and will continue to work toward that goal.
Although some local officials voiced support for Panorama at FMCP, the prospect of using public park space for paid concerts inspired criticism and concerns from neighbors.
In December, Community Board 4 voted unanimously to write a letter to the City Council stating its opposition to the festivals.
Borough President Melinda Katz also came out against them, urging in particular a thorough public review process for any such event.
On Monday, she praised the City’s decision to deny the FMCP concerts.
“Events of any scale that enhance our borough are encouraged. The use of our public parks, however, need to be publicly vetted and coordinated under an official city policy, because the absence of one renders the entire process unfair,” Katz said.