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Forest Hills Concert Organizers to Address Residents' Concerns at Meeting

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | April 10, 2014 3:52pm | Updated on April 10, 2014 7:29pm
 This year's concerts are expected to bring about 80,000 people to the neighborhood, organizers said.
This year's concerts are expected to bring about 80,000 people to the neighborhood, organizers said.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — With a series of six concerts expected to draw about 80,000 people to Forest Hills Stadium this summer, organizers are planning to hold a meeting to address residents concerns about street closures, crowds and traffic jams caused by the performances.

The Grammy-winning country group, Zac Brown Band, which will perform at the stadium on June 21, will be among six shows scheduled for the season.

The stadium emerged from a nearly three-decade hiatus last year with a sold-out show featuring British band Mumford & Sons. But complaint surfaced that the show had been oversold and that concertgoers were not able to get back into the venue after going to the bathroom.

The organizers said they want to address residents' concerns about the concerts' impact on the neighborhood during a meeting scheduled for April 28.

“We are going to answer all the questions, how everything works during concerts,” said Roland Meier, president of the West Side Tennis Club at a Community Board 6 meeting Wednesday night.

But he said he also believes that the neighborhood will benefit from the events.

“We are going to have 80,000 people this year in Forest Hills and if they go to restaurants and stores it will be good for the business community,” he said.

In response to complaints that last year's show was oversold, the organizers will sell fewer tickets this year — 12,500 instead of 17,000, Meier said.

The venue is also getting new seating instead of the concrete steps where concertgoers watched the concert last year, Meier said.

Meier said that the organizers are trying to bring star country singer George Strait into the mix as well.

But Strait's publicist, Stephanie Rew, said in an email that "we do not have any additions to George Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away Tour at this time, but we will certainly keep you posted if that changes."

Meier also said that Idina Menzel and the New York Pops will also perform at the Forest Hills Stadium, but Menzel's agent, Seth Malasky denied that.

The singer's publicist, Cheryl Maisel, said in a statement that "she is not doing the show...They are no longer in talks to do the show this year."

Patrick Confrey, a spokesman for the Forest Hills Stadium, said that Menzel and the New York City Pops have been among many artists that the venue has approached, but the shows have not been booked.

Reps for the New York Pops did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

The stadium, which opened in 1923, used to host the U.S. Open, before the event moved to the National Tennis Center in Flushing in 1977. It also held numerous concerts, including performances by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.

Most concerts stopped by the late 1980s, after opposition from local residents.

This season's concerts will be followed by 12 more over the next two years.

The meeting will be held on April 28 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy church at 70-01 Kessel St. in Forest Hills.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Based on incorrect information provided by the West Side Tennis Club, DNAinfo initially reported that Idina Menzel would perform at the Forest Hills Stadium this summer.