What You Missed at The Meadows 2017

What You Missed at The Meadows 2017

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Photo cred: @weezer

Last weekend, NYC began to close out festival season with one of the last big parties of the summer: The Meadows Music and Arts Festival. Held at Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, the festival boasted an eclectic array of the world’s hottest performers – including Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nas, Bassnectar, Erykah Badu, Gorillaz, Weezer, and more. In addition to such a great musical lineup, The Meadows also featured some of NYC’s best food vendors showcasing New York’s finest and most creative culinary concoctions.

If you missed out on this year’s festivities, never fear – we’ve got a festival recap highlighting some of our favorites at The Meadows 2017.

Best Headliner: Bassnectar

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Bassnectar – the ultimate EDM/rave DJ with a huge following – was unsurprisingly good. While he may have gone up against the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who stole the show in terms of crowd volume, Bassnectar’s hardcore fans were there in droves and absolutely loving everything he put out, including the amazing light show. A little bit darker and a little bid edgier than some of the other EDM DJ’s out there, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Bassnectar show. Maybe it was because he was the last act of the festival and nostalgia was already setting in, but his set was one of my favorites – it was fun, danceable, and he really knew how to work the crowd.
 

Best Set: Weezer

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Weezer was one of the most fun sets for a variety of reasons – not least of which was that they had good material and a very charismatic lead singer in Rivers Cuomo. Taking place just before the sun set with a cool breeze and the iconic 7 train rolling by in the background, festival attendants of all stripes were super into the set and singing along with every word. A fun component of Weezer’s set was their own rendition of other big hits – including Mike Posner’s I Took a Pill in Ibiza and my personal favorite – Outkast’s Hey Ya; it was charming and endearing and kind of funny watching Rivers sing along and strum his guitar to Big Boi Andre 3000’s famous rap/hip-hop hit from the early-2000s.

Honorable mention goes to Big Boi from Outkast for bringing the energy and keeping it fun even though it was ridiculously hot and humid out, for showing up despite his cousin passing away just hours before he boarded his plane, and for playing Ms. Jackson.

 

Best Booth: Vitamin Water

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Speaking of heat and humidity at music festivals, people rarely remember to stay hydrated on anything other than beer and boozy cocktails. At The Meadows, Vitamin Water was there to make sure people took care of themselves so they could survive the unseasonably hot weather and last through the headlining sets. They were passing out free, cold bottles of almost every flavor imaginable (including Vitamin Water Zero for those of us wishing to spend our calories elsewhere). AND, if you took a picture at their photo booth, you got a free pair of custom-made sunglasses. It was a win-win!

Honorable mention goes to Cafe Bustelo, where festival-goers could grab free samples of their iced café con leche all day long. For the profoundly caffeine-addicted (such as yours truly), this was a welcome addition – and their iced lattes were bangin’.

 

Best Drink: Bar Primi Frosé

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Delicious and refreshing and surprisingly boozy, Bar Primi – the originator of this by now famous wine slushie – was there churning out frosés that totally hit the spot on a hot summer day. I was pretty buzzed after one cup, which I guess was a good thing since they came in at $13 a pop. Of course it’s never good to drink on an empty stomach, and what goes better with frosé than mozzarella sticks?

 

Best Food: Big Mozz Mozzarella Sticks

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I know, it’s a ridiculously simple concept considering some of the other crazy concoctions at the festival, but these mozzarella sticks were SO good, so deliciously hot and crispy and mouth-wateringly flavorful that they deserve their own column. Maybe I was just particularly hungry, maybe it’s because the line was a fraction of what it normally is at Smorgasburg, maybe it’s because they are the perfect shareable festival food (though you may regret sharing after you’ve tasted one), but I daresay that the mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce that Big Mozz was serving up were among the best I’ve ever had. They were off the charts BOMB. Matt Gallira, President of Big Mozz, told BuzzTonight, “We could really feel the love from the crowd, and everyone made it a seriously cheesy show – we served over 20,000 Mozz Sticks and can’t wait until next year!” For those of you lamenting the fact that you missed this year’s appearance of Big Mozz at The Meadows, never fear – Matt says that next up, Big Mozz has “a popup at Brooklyn Brewery from 9/29 to 10/1, and a fun secret collab in the works,” so keep an eye on their Instagram for news on that.
 
Honorable Mention goes to DŌ, because there’s nothing quite like walking right up to their booth and getting a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough without waiting in any line whatsoever (have you SEEN the people waiting outside their Greenwich Village storefront? YIKES).

 

Best Vendor: San Matteo Pizza Espresso Bar

I know, I know – I’m a sucker for pizza and this is the obvious choice for me, but San Matteo was SO good that despite all of the other options out there, I ate it for dinner on BOTH days of the festival. Yeah, you heard me – I ate it two days in a row. It was so delicious and so similar to Italian-style pizza that you could close your eyes and instantly be transported back to the Mother Land. They even brought a wood-fired oven from Italy on site to cook their pizzas! Now that’s dedication. San Matteo was also the best value, in my opinion – this whole pizza was $12, remarkably filling, and it came out of the oven piping hot in less than 90 seconds, meaning there was a quick turnaround time. It was also a great shareable option (which we did) as it was sliced up, allowing you to sample more foods and not feel *quite* so bad about the all-day food frenzy.
 

Most Creative Vendor: Taiyaki

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The Japanese ice cream booth known as Taiyaki definitely takes the cake for having the most inventive and imaginative presence at the festival. Even though it’s non-alcoholic, Taiyaki gets a nod for dishing out one of the most creative treats at the festival thanks to its lactose-free purple taro slushies…served in a unicorn float. That’s right – you could get your slushie, made from the tuberous taro root, served up with whipped cream and cotton candy sprinkles in a swimming-pool-style rainbow unicorn floatie. The sheer joy of carrying your drink around in style (and fielding looks and questions from other curious festival-goers) was worth the splurge.

 

 
 
Most Surprising Moment:
The MTA was shockingly with-it and transportation to and from the festival via the 7 line was on point. Unlike normal weekend subway schedules, there was a plethora of trains running throughout the duration of the festival, so you were never stuck waiting too long for a train to get you to and from the party.

I’ve been to quite a few music festivals in recent years, but I have to say – The Meadows stands out as one of the best. Extremely well-organized, thought out, and diverse enough to appeal to a wide audience, The Meadows’ variety of artists, musical acts, and vendors brought in a diverse group of people from many different walks of life. The young and the old, ravers, rockers, and rappers alike convened to celebrate life and joy and music and fun. We can’t wait to catch it again in 2018!

 

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