It was recently announced that AEG Live, the company behind Coachella, was eyeing Queens for an East Coast version of their festival, to be called Panorama. That's fine... but they scheduled it for just two weeks after the independently run Governors Ball, and have reportedly been securing headliners that would potentially have gone on the Ball's bill.
When the news leaked, Tom Russell of Governors Ball told us, "New York City is big enough for two music festivals but the proposed timing of this sets up an unnecessary rivalry. We're a small, local promoter up against a big corporate machine. We know how those fights typically work out." They won't go down with out a fight, however—they recently launched a grassroots campaign, specifically asking for support from the Mayor's office.
To the Fans, Supporters, and Fellow Music Lovers,
We're writing you today to ask for your support to help keep Gov Ball alive for many years to come. We started the festival back in 2011 with one goal in mind: to bring a major music festival that New Yorkers could call their own to our hometown. One that was specifically curated for the eclectic music lovers of New York City. One that featured the very best of NYC cuisine. And one that operated with the attendee experience as the #1 priority.
As a small, independent company in an industry dominated by major corporations and rapid consolidation, we've come a long way and given hundreds of thousands of you first class entertainment. Sadly, today our future is in jeopardy and we need your help.
As reported in The Daily News and multiple industry news outlets, AEG is lobbying the Mayor’s Office and other city agencies for approval of a major festival in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens two weeks after Governors Ball. The timing of this proposed event is an aggressive, greedy attempt by AEG to push a small independent company of born and bred New Yorkers out of business and out of the market.
We are writing you today to ask for your support and tell the Mayor’s Office and the City of New York to reject this proposed event that would take place two weeks after Gov Ball. We are asking that this proposed event take place at another time of year because this would allow both events to succeed. Please help Gov Ball survive and continue to serve you - the fans, friends, and family - for many years to come!
With Sincerity, and Gratitude,
Team Gov Ball
Meanwhile, the Daily News notes that several non-profit groups have written their own letters "to de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito demonstrating their support for Governors Ball and outlining its benefits to the community."
Ideally, both festivals would take place, generating even more revenue for the city, which gets around $40 million in benefits from Governors Ball festival. One of the Ball's organizers, Jordan Wolowitz, told the News: "By spreading these festivals out the City gets double the benefit with two sustainable festivals and lets a local business thrive. That's good government and good business."
Governors Ball is held in June on Randall's Island, and AEG is looking to put Panorama Fest in Flushing Meadows Corona Park two weeks later.