Chance The Rapper, Kanye West Serve Up Blessings At Inaugural Meadows Festival
Meadows Festival photography taken by Vickey Ford (SneakShot) for Okayplayer.
The inaugural Meadows Arts and Music Festival was met with several highlights, and a sprinkle of rare incidents. The festival promoters, Founders Entertainment, follow up their widely successful Governors Ball event to overcome the roadblocks of canceled, interrupted sets and an acoustically challenged location.
The first wave of concern was incited by The Weeknd's last-minute cancelation which was remedied by J.Cole sedating the audience with crowd favorites from his 2014 Forest Hills album.
The parking lot in Queens where the festival was held was flooded with a diverse, youthful audience with a majority repping Life Of Pablo t-shirts and sweatshirts sourced from the merch table dedicated solely to the tour clothing line.
The festival golden child, Kanye West, started his set 40 minutes late but didn’t disappoint although he was disrupted. Instead, what he did was leave the audience wanting more. The Ye fans who stuck out the blistery cold and delay were privy to a stunning rendition of visuals from his Saint Pablo tour show. The menacing, illuminating hovering platform was present albeit a tamer rendition, bathing Kanye Tudda in glowing lights.
While on the vibrantly lit staged, West stirred the crowd with a set of favorites from Life of Pablo such as “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” to the Graduation album single, “Flashing Lights”. West's raging set hit a crescendo with the “All Day” remix and the powerful, albeit accidental finale, ‘Wolves”.
West’s set was abruptly cut short with the news that his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, was being robbed at gunpoint in Paris. With reports later surfacing that Kim was robbed by men dressed as police, it’s understandable why Kanye West could not continue his performance after hearing such news. He halted the set 10 minutes till the festival's end to tell the crowd, “I’m sorry, there’s a family emergency. I have to stop the show,” before abruptly leaving the stage.
Several other highlights stood out at the inaugural festival including a thrilling performance by Chicago's 23-year-old beloved artist, Chance The Rapper. Chance
dashed onstage exuberantly, launching into his uplifting set without hesitation.
After 15 minutes of power packed melodies, Chance stopped abruptly to apologize to his fans waiting for tunes from his older mix tape, Acid Rap. Lil Chano, as he is otherwise known as, stated that he’s “been on some new stuff” before continuing the set with the most popular tunes from Coloring Book, which was his latest release from this past May. The mixtape brought audiences to ecstasy, as Chano presented strong themes of faith within his raps. To assist the celebration, a choir of puppets assisted the skilled rapper on “Blessings,” while the set culminated in a guest appearance from Francis and the Lights. The young artist who is currently touring with Chance performed their latest track “Summer Friends” as colorful confetti rained on the ecstatic crowd. Chance thanked his bandmates and waved goodbye while shouting out 'Ye’s coming which followed his performance.
Another performance of note was that of Mac Miller, who ushered in a raucous group of excited fans including his fellow artist and girlfriend, Arianna Grande, who was seen side-stage cheering Mac Miller’s name along with the crowd.
Mac energetically sprinted on stage, praising the fans with The Divine Feminine flag flying as the backdrop to his set. DJ Clockwork hyped Mac as he kicked off the set with a 2012 favorite, “Loud”. He then proceeded to deliver a balanced live set that included favorites from his latest record that arrived mid-September to the audacious and cheeky "Donald Trump”.
Despite minor inconveniences and disruptions, the good outweighed the awkward, as the inaugural Meadows Festival served as a memorable moment as we near the end of 2016!