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Controversial Music Fest in Flushing Meadows Gets Support From Officials

By Katie Honan | December 23, 2015 9:02am
 The Panorama Festival is one of many proposed at the borough's largest park. 
The Panorama Festival is one of many proposed at the borough's largest park. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CORONA — Local politicians have announced their support for a large-scale music festival at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park next year — just weeks after the local community board said the plan was bad news for the park.

Rep. Joe Crowley joined Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Peter Koo and Karen Koslowitz to show they're in favor of the Panorama Music Festival, a three-day event organized by Goldenvoice, a promotional company owned by AEG.

The California-based company plans to bring major music acts and a technology festival to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, one of a handful of proposals for a multi-day event at the park. 

Officials said Goldenvoice has met with the community, including organizers of the park's many soccer leagues.

“Goldenvoice is a model partner for a festival in our community,” Ferreras-Copeland said.

“They have been engaging the community for the last two years.”

Javier Valdes, co-executive director of Make the Road New York and a mayoral appointee to the new Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Board, said the concert plan is "commendable and a major step in their commitment to being a true community partner."

Organizers will also donate a portion of each ticket sale to the newly formed Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Alliance, according to the press release.

At the most recent meeting of Community Board 4, however, members said they hadn’t heard from any of the organizers and expressed concerns over the multiple proposed concerts for the borough’s largest park.

"We've lost our park, literally lost it," longtime member Lucy Schilero said. "And it's going to get worse."

Borough President Melinda Katz shared similar concerns over blocking access to the public at the heavily used park.

“Quite frankly, it’s still unclear how limited resources expended for events of such scale would be returned to Queens and its families,” she said in a statement in November.

Festival organizers said their plan will benefit the community. They'll use local food vendors during the show, hire local workers and are planning a health fair that will provide approximately 1,500 residents with free checkups and services, they said.

Mark Shulman, a producer for Goldenvoice, said they altered plans after receiving community concerns, although he didn’t go into detail.

“We are grateful for the broad and strong support we have received and look forward to further announcements about Panorama in coming days,” he said.

It's not clear how many local groups the organizers have met with. But AEG Live has been pushing to meet with elected officials for two years, according to city records. 

Since 2014, the event planning company paid $150,000 to lobbyist Harold Ickes — a friend of Mayor Bill de Blasio who was on his transition team — to meet with borough presidents, the Parks Department and The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, records show. 

In November, de Blasio said the proposals for the concerts were "very initial" when asked about multiple festival plans. 

"These are the criteria we have to look at, but, you know, we can’t give you a formal answer until we look at the proposals, which we literally, you know, just received," he said.

The Parks Department is currently evaluating every concert proposals, including a festival pitched by The Madison Square Garden Company.