This past weekend, I attended the Meadows Music and Arts Festival in Queens, New York. I bought two 3-day passes for my boyfriend and I as an early birthday gift because we fell in love with the line up. I don’t usually attend city festivals like this, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Let me just say, I can’t wait to come back to this place next year.
Day one, we showed up around 5 PM and explored the grounds, checked out the food vendors, and got a feel for the lay of the land. There were so many amazing options for food and drinks which is the first thing that I loved about it. Usually festivals only offer basic foods like chicken fingers, fries, hot dogs, etc. At the Meadows, there were endless options. You could have a ramen burger, a spicy tuna taco, wood-fired pizza, or vietnamese banh mi, among many other things. We smashed a ramen burger and proceeded to the music.
The first artist we saw was Queens native, Joey Bada$$ who put on an amazing show. Then we saw Run The Jewels. It was awesome to see legends like El-P and Killer Mike in the flesh. For one song they were accompanied by Gangsta Boo, the only female from the hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia. During the set we were sitting in the back, people watching, and we loved the diversity of the crowd. There were so many different kinds of people from all walks of life and everyone was genuinely having a great time. The vibes at the Meadows were seriously fantastic.
Jay Z was the headliner on Friday night and his set was a true spectacle. From bringing out Damian Marley, to playing all his greatest hits, to doing a tribute to the late Chester Bennington, he reminded the crowd why he has earned the title of a hip-hop legend. I was on cloud 9 while dancing to some of my favorite songs like “Welcome To Jamrock,” “Lucifer,” “Hard Knock Life,” “No Church in the Wild,” “Heart of the City,” and some gems from his new album 4:44, like “The Story of O.J.” and “Bam.”
Heading home after the show was a breeze. We hopped on the subway right at Citi Field and took it one stop back to our car in Flushing.
Day two, I arrived around 2:30 and was able to get a front row spot for Big Boi. He came out on stage and played all the greatest Outkast hits like “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Rosa Parks,” “ATLiens,” “Spottieoittiedopalicious,” “Ms. Jackson,” and more. It was epic. Even though it was hot, I managed to stay comfortable because the security guards were all incredible and were handing out water. That was just another thing that made this festival great. After Big Boi, I got some free coffee and vitamin water and caught Erykah Badu while charging my phone. There were enough chargers or ports for everyone which I appreciated. I then traveled over to another stage where I caught the New York hip-hop trio, De La Soul. Next up was Future, and even though he isn’t my favorite, his set was a blast. He brought out special guests like Nicki Minaj and Young Thug and had the crowd going nuts.
I then devoured a spicy tuna taco while watching Torey Lanez, who brought out legend Busta Rhymes. They performed the banger “Pass the Courvoisier,” and the whole crowd sang it in unison. I was able to catch a few minutes of M.I.A before heading back to the main stage for Gorillaz. I have been wanting to see them since I was a kid and it was a privilege to finally be introduced to the men behind the cartoons. They opened with the song “Saturnz Barz” off their new album and then played fan favorites like “On Melancholy Hill,” Feel Good Inc.,” “Clint Eastwood,” and “Stylo.” They also had tons of special guests including De La Soul. They put on an amazing show and since their live performances are so few and far between, I truly felt like I was witnessing history.
Day three, we arrived just in time for the hometown hero Action Bronson. His personality alone makes you fall in love with his live performance. There was equal parts crowd interaction and music. He also took some time to sign peoples copies of his new cookbook, “F*ck, That’s Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well.” After his set, we indulged in some Roberta’s Pizza and yet another ramen burger, and then another Queens legend, Nas, took the stage. He appropriately started things off with “New York State of Mind,” and performed other classics like “If I Ruled the World,” “Lifes a Bitch,” “The Message,” “I Can,” “Memory Lane,” and “One Mic.” He also did a tribute to the late, great Prodigy, who passed away earlier this year.
We left the Meadows stage to head to the other side of festival and I was ecstatic to catch Weezer closing out their set with “Buddy Holly.” I think the ONE thing that I didn’t like about this festival was the scheduling conflicts, but sometimes you just can’t avoid them.
Last but not least, we were ready to see Bassnectar. This is a man I have been traveling all across the country and sometimes across borders to see since 2009. He has gained so much momentum over the past 4 years and sometimes its hard to find a good spot for his sets if you don’t get there early. Well, Sunday night, we were in luck. We found the perfect spot to the left of the stage about 10 rows from the front. Since he was playing at the same time as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, there was so much space for us to dance. The lights went out and my favorite long-haired bass wizard took the stage. For an hour and a half he played the filthiest tracks and I had the best time dancing my ass off with my boyfriend and friends, as always. It was also his lighting director, Michael Smalley’s last show with him. The lighting rig was on point and offered a perfect visual aspect to go along with the music. We danced so hard that my body is STILL recovering after three days. 62 Bassnectar sets later, I’m still not sick of it. I never will be.
I was so sad leaving the festival Sunday night. It was an absolutely incredible event all around. It truly blew my expectations out of the water. It was perfectly curated on all fronts and I hope next year’s line-up is just as good. I can see myself attending Meadows for years to come.