Organizers still want music festivals at Flushing Meadows, but borough president says no

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Queens Borough President Melinda Katz thinks for-profit companies should not be able to rent Flushing Meadows Corona Park next summer.

This statement comes in response to a handful of companies applying for permits to hold large-scale events. The city’s deadline to approve permits for next summer is on Dec. 19. Last year, companies including Goldenvoice and Founders Entertainment expressed interest in holding music festivals at the massive park.

Goldenvoice, the concert arm of AEGLive, announced last September that they were looking to host Panorama Festival, a three-day music festival.

Shortly after, Madison Square Garden also announced their intention to hold a “world-class” music festival on park grounds. Founders Entertainment, the company that runs Governor’s Ball, also threw their hat in the ring and hosted a two-day festival at Citi Field called The Meadows Music & Arts Festival. The company did not need a permit for the festival since it did not take place on Parks Department property.

Katz repeatedly said that the city does not have a policy outlining how to handle these events so she could not approve any events until it was put in place. She also urged the Parks Department to deny any permits.

“Without a fair policy in place, I remain opposed to any applications from for-profit organizations to run paid-admission events in Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” she said. “The absence of a revised policy, including a set selection criteria and process approved by the community, renders the process arbitrary and unfair. Cutting off public access to our treasured parks flies in the face of the very principle behind our parks, which is space designated for public access and equity.”

Goldenvoice went ahead with Panorama Festival last year but held it at Randall’s Island instead. Organizers told QNS that they would like to hold it in Queens in summer 2017 but have already announced that the festival will be held at Randall’s Island Park again.

AEGLive, Founders Entertainment and Madison Square Garden have again submitted permit applications for festivals next summer, the Parks Department said.

“NYC Parks is confident that our existing rules strike the right balance between accommodating exciting special events in our parks and preserving park spaces for all New Yorkers to relax, explore and play,” said Meghan Lahlor, spokesperson for the Parks Department.

The department will look at all permit applications and make a decision later this month.

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