While NYC has been a bit of a musical festival desert in the past, the independent company behind Governors Ball found a way to make it work. And now that they've hit their stride, creating a workable business model that has succeeded in the city, bigger companies are coming in and threatening their existence.
Last month, it was announced that AEG Live, the company behind Coachella, was eyeing June 2016 to host their own East Coast version of the fest at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, just 2 weeks before Governors Ball (which takes place on Randall's Island). And now, Madison Square Garden wants to do the same—they're also eyeing Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Did no one know about Flushing Meadows Corona Park before now?
According to the Daily News, yesterday "MSG applied to host a three-day festival... looking to bring big name artists to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In a statement, David O'Connor, CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company, declared: "There's no one as committed to, or more capable of, creating a world-class festival than we are." Well, except for Governors Ball and AEG.
We've reached out to the Madison Square Garden Company to find out what types of bands they are looking to book, and will update if we hear back—both Governors Ball and AEG have similar lineups in mind.
It's all in the hands of the New York City Parks Department, which is reviewing the most recent applications, but if everyone's fests go through, here's what we're looking at:
June 3 to 5: Governors Ball on Randall's Island
June 17 to 19: Panorama Fest (AEG's festival) at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
June 24 to 26: MSG's fest at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Governors Ball has been petitioning to stop AEG, and we reached out to them for comment on the MSG news. Tom Russell told us, "New York City is a world class venue for large outdoor events. Our only interest is that the city pursue a strategy that allows all festivals to flourish in order to maximize the benefits to taxpayers, communities and music fans."
While more festivals in NYC is a great thing, placing them all in the same month is bad idea—it creates competition for booking, and also forces many music fans to choose just one due to monetary (and energy level!) concerns.