Meadows Music & Arts Festival: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Nas Jay-Z Meadows festival Getty

Jay-Z headlines the festival on Friday.

There’s only one music festival in the world that you need to be at in September and it’s the Meadows Music and Arts Festival in Queens. The action begins on Friday September 15 and runs until Sunday September 17 with Jay-Z, Gorillaz and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining each night. Other featured acts include Future, Migos, Run the Jewels, MIA, De La Soul, LL Cool J, Nas and Weezer. The broad spectrum of artists is reminiscent of New York City’s other major festival, Governor’s Ball, which took place in June. That’s no accident as both festivals are produced by the same company, Founders Entertainment.

The festival came about in 2016 after Kanye West had been forced to cancel his performance at Governor’s Ball due to weather conditions. The success of that event, which also featured Chance the Rapper and Kygo, led to a 2017 version.

Here’s what you need to know about the Meadows Music and Arts Festival:

1. There Is No Competing Act With Jay-Z on Opening Night

The projected set times are here and the good news for Jay-Z fans is that Mr. Beyonce is the only headline act on opening night. Fresh off of the release of his album 4:44, the pressure will be on the Brooklyn rapper to deliver. If you can’t attend the festivities, Jay-Z is streaming his show live on Tidal.

fElsewhere over the course of the weekend, festival goers will need to make some tough choices. For example, on Saturday night Gorillaz set coincides with MIA’s vocal stylings. The animated group take the stage at 8:15 while the Sri Lankan rapper is up at 8:30. Note, it’s been awful long time since MIA has performed in New York City.

While on closing night, alternative rock Gods Weezer’s 6 p.m. slot is up against Queens legend Nas’ return home. With Sunday’s closer on the main stage being the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s unlikely that there will be much crossover in their fan base and the fan base of dub step star and other closer Bassnectar. You can read a full list of the crossovers here via Time Out.

2. It’s Not Just Music; The Food Will Represent the Best of the Best of New York City

The Meadows music festival

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival

The food line-up is as impressive as the music one. Specifically, there’s the best pizzeria in Bushwick, Roberta’s who will be represented. There’s also Keizo Shimamoto’s ramen burger as well as the best of falafels, Chinese food, vegan options. Sweets such as a doughnuts will be provided by Dough and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. You can check out the whole food lineup here.

It was Andrea Lynn who wrote in her book Queens: A Culinary Passport via Konbini:

While Manhattan gets Michelin stars and Brooklyn gets blogger hype, real culinary fanatics know the authentic ethnic food experiences happen in the restaurants of Queens…

There, New York’s celebrated ethnic diversity is the most potent, with more than one million foreign-born residents.

This means food lovers can travel the globe without using any vacation time: take a culinary tour of China, sip a frappe in Greece, dine on authentic Italian sausage – all without ever leaving Queens.

The same Konbini report says that the 2017 food choices were picked by food writer Joe DiStefano.

3. Hip-Hop Trio Swet Shop Boys Have Been Forced to Cancel Their Appearance

Unfortunately, multi-cultural Queen hip-hop outfit the Swet Shop Boys have been forced to cancel their appearance as well as the rest of their tour. The group wrote in a statement on their Facebook page:

Dear Friends,

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we regret to announce that all Swet Shop Boys tour dates are cancelled from now through the end of the year.

Full refunds for headliner shows will be issued at your point of purchase.
We appreciate all of our fans and look forward to seeing you when we return to the road.

Thank you,


Elsewhere, the line-up is packed with native sons and daughters of New York. Obviously there’s the big names, Jay-Z, Nas, Ghostface Killah, LL Cool J and De la Soul. Some of the not so well known New Yorkers include rappers Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies and Action Bronson. Outside of hip-hop there’s also Brooklynites TV on the Radio, Sleigh Bells and Dreamers, all hailing from the greatest city in the world.

Among those who will have traveled the farthest to perform at the festival is German alt-rockers Milky Chance.

Awesomely, Vibe has gone through their dream setlist for selected artists at the concert.

4. Amazingly There Are Still Are a ‘Very Limited’ Amount of Tickets Available

Everfest cited weather as one of the main reasons to go to the Meadows. The fall temperatures should make for a more comfortable festival compared with the boiling Governor’s Ball. You have to try here if you want to get in on the action.

5. The Party Continues Throughout NYC With a Series of ‘After Dark’ Performances

The city doesn’t sleep so why should the festivals? After the action at Citi Field, festival goers will also be treated for after parties across Brooklyn and Manhattan. Beginning with Antibalas at the Gramercy Theater on September 14, yes you read that correctly, a day before the festival, the show goes on until Sunday. Hit the Brooklyn Bowl on September 15 to see Ghostface Killah after the Meadows ends. While on Saturday the after show business really kicks in with GTA playing Schimanski in Williamsburg, St. Paul and the Broken Bones at the Brooklyn Bowl. In Manhattan, head to Irving Plaza where you can see BadBadNotGood. Finally on Sunday, Wild Belle play Le Poisson Rouge on Bleecker Street.

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