Coachella Organizers in Talks to Bring East Coast Music Festival to Flushing Meadows Park in Queens | NBC New York

Coachella Organizers in Talks to Bring East Coast Music Festival to Flushing Meadows Park in Queens

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Could Flushing Meadows Park become center stage for one of the biggest rock concerts in America? Andrew Siff reports. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015)

    Could Flushing Meadows Park become center stage for one of the biggest rock concerts in America? 

    The organizers of the annual Coachella music festival in California -- a magnet for some of the biggest rock and hip-hop acts in the world -- are meeting with officials in Queens to talk about bringing a similar music festival to the East Coast, to be called Panorama, next June.

    "We are talking now and we will see how it goes down the road," said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who told NBC 4 New York she's meeting with Coachella officials Thursday.

    "I do have some concerns about using public parkland," she added.

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    Katz said the public hasn't had a chance to weigh in about letting corporate giant AEG rent out a piece of the 900-acre park -- even if it nets the city millions of dollars. At Coachella, music fans pay hundreds of dollars per ticket. 

    Katz is concerned about the precedent the event could set in how the city chooses who can rent out park space. There's also the matter of competition: New York City already is home to an annual mega-music festival, Governors Ball, which started in 2011 on Randall's Island. 

    Tom Russell and Jodan Wolowitz of Founders Entertainment run Governors Ball from their five-person office in the East Village, and watched it grow over the years to a three-day, 50,000-person festival each June. 

    "The timing of this proposed business is tremendous competition," said Russell. "When a small business goes up against corporate machine, it usually does not work out in the small business's favor." 

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    Coachella officials declined to comment on their bid to go big in Queens, which travel guide publisher Lonely Planet declared the no. 1 travel destination in the U.S. for 2015. 

    But some parkgoers Wednesday say: welcome to the borough. 

    "We need to bring fun to Flushing Meadow Park and make it become alive again," said Fernando Blanco. 

    Few question that a rock festival would be lively. The question the critics ask is at what cost? 

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