The Queens festival returned for a second year with some of the biggest names in hip-hop and alternative music
The Meadows returned to Queens last weekend (September 15-17) for its second ever edition, taking over the parking lot of Citi Field, the stadium where baseball underdogs the New York Mets play their home games. Organised by the team behind one of NYC’s other premier festivals Governors Ball, the line-up saw some of the biggest names in hip-hop and alternative music descend on the event’s own concrete jungle, including Jay-Z, Gorillaz, Nas, Erykah Badu and a ton of special guests. Relive the weekend or find out what you missed below.
At only her second performance of the year – and her first festival in two years – Sky Ferreira struggled through stage fright to perform tracks from her debut album ‘Night Time, My Time’ and covers of classics by ‘Til Tuesday and Lionel Richie.
Never short of positivity, Killer Mike and El-P spent their time on the main stage spreading the love for women, weed and the world.
Blood Orange, aka Dev Hynes, brought his soulful R&B to the Shea Stage after sunset, dropping a couple of new songs into his set along the way. Look out for ‘Charcoal Baby’ in particular – a slinky earworm that suggests his next move will be well worth waiting for.
Where some of his rap counterparts go for flashy stage productions, the giant Jeff Koons-like inflatable dog was about as decadent as Jay-Z’s stage show got as he headlined Friday night.
Running through a career-spanning set, Jay-Z proved he’s definitely still got it, relying on only his talent and swagger to put in one of the best performances of the entire festival.
Up bright and early on Saturday, New York’s very own Public Access TV took a break from working on their second album to kick off day two with their gleaming rock’n’roll gems.
Big Boi brought a smile to The Meadows crowd’s faces with a setlist including ‘Ms Jackson’ and ‘Shutterbug’. There was some tenderness between the joviality, though, when the Outkast rapper revealed his cousin had recently passed away and dedicated his performance to him.
Neo-soul icon Erykah Badu put in one of the most mesmerising performances of the weekend, managing to keep a straight face even when her gigantic hat blew off her head in the wind.
There was no happier group at the festival than De La Soul, who brought their hip-hop classics to the American Eagle stage on Saturday.
The Meadows wasn’t short of secret, special guests. Nicki Minaj was just one of many to make an unannounced appearance across the weekend, with the Queens native making a cameo during Future’s main stage set.
Even more special guests made it to the stage during Gorillaz’s headline appearance. Savages’ Jehnny Beth, Pusha T and D.R.A.M. were among those to help bring songs from ‘Humanz’ to life.
The biggest surprise, however, came during the encore when Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) casually wandered out to lend his voice to ‘Stylo’.
New Zealand synth-pop duo Broods shook the crowd awake on Sunday with a perky performance that included an impeccable rendition of the Lorde-penned ‘Heartlines’.
Foster The People used their set to spread a message of unity and love, with frontman Mark Foster telling the crowd: “I wouldn’t change any one of you.”
Icon Nas treated the Queens crowd to a performance of key tracks from his seminal album ‘Illmatic’, including ‘NY State Of Mind’ and ‘The World Is Yours’.
Over on the Queens Blvd stage, Weezer struggled through sound issues as they delivered a crowd-pleasing set of old favourites (‘Buddy Holly’, ‘Say It Ain’t So’), covers (‘Hey Ya’) and new tunes (‘Mexican Fender’).
Closing out the entire festival, Red Hot Chili Peppers dug deep into their arsenal and came out with some of their biggest and best tunes.
Alongside mega hits like ‘Californication’, ‘Under The Bridge’ and ‘By The Way’, the rock foursome also found time to cover The Stooges, Funkadelic and Stevie Wonder before sending the crowd off into the night.