Dec. 23, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Several Queens officials announced their support Wednesday for a proposed music festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that has been condemned by park neighbors.
Goldenvoice, the division of AEG Live behind the massive Coachella festival in California, has filed an application with the Parks Department to hold a three-day music festival in the park in June 2016.
U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley and Council Members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Peter Koo and Karen Koslowitz announced their support for the Panorama Music Festival in a press release sent out by Goldenvoice. They argued that the festival will enrich Queens both culturally and economically.
“The Panorama Music Festival will provide a fantastic opportunity for Queens to take its rightful place as a New York City showcase,” Crowley said in a statement. “I am excited to help bring a world-class music, technology, food and art festival to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.”
“Goldenvoice is a model partner for a festival in our community,” Ferreras said. “They have been engaging the community for the last two years. Panorama’s producers listened to the community concerns and adjusted their application to reflect the community’s desires.”
Goldenvoice said in the release that it has committed to hiring local workers for jobs associated with the festival, and to working with local restaurants and food trucks inside the event. Similar to the efforts around Coachella, Panorama will sponsor a three-day community medical clinic for free health, dental and vision services for about 1,500 local residents.
The festival will also provide a donation per paid ticket to the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance, according to Goldenvoice.
The officials’ support comes just weeks after Community Board 4 voted unanimously to write a letter to the City Council stating its opposition to Panorama, as well as two other proposed concerts in the park.
The Board took issue with the idea of the City allowing the public park to be cordoned off by for-profit companies for paid visitors.
“Once you let one person do it, how can you tell the others they can’t do it?” CB 4 Chair Louis Walker said at the time. “It’s not good news for us.”
Borough President Melinda Katz has also come out against Panorama.
“While public events of any scale that enhance our borough are encouraged, I take issue when it is at the expense of cutting off public access to our treasured parks,” she said in November.
Mark Shulman, Goldenvoice Festival Producer, stated in the press release that “our detailed plan … has factored in specific feedback from Queens leaders as well as community groups.”
Shulman could not be reached to specify which leaders and community groups were consulted and what their feedback was.
Update: A paragraph noting the Jackson Heights Green Alliance’s support of Panorama has been removed after the Jackson Heights Post became aware of a clarification to Goldenvoice’s press release. JHGA President Dudley Stewart said he personally supports Panorama, but was not speaking as representing the group, as the release implied. JHGA has not taken an official stance on the festival.