Lineups speak louder than words.

New York City music fans are in for a solid summer following the artist announcements for Governors Ball and Panorama festivals. After duking it out for much of 2016, officials with Founders Entertainment and Goldenvoice say they are optimistic their two events can coexist and thrive in North America’s largest concert market.

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“I think the Gov Ball lineup is really great,” Goldenvoice’s Paul Tollett told Amplify. “I thought they did really well this year. They always do, but this year was really good.”

Founders Entertainment’s Jordan Wolowitz was gracious as well, telling Amplify the lineups of both events show that “New York doesn’t belong to one single person or one single entity. Everyone is entitled to their shot.”

Each festival offers a diverse musical palate for fans — Gov Ball includes Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Phoenix and Tool, who hasn’t played New York in over a decade. Panorama’s lineup features Frank Ocean, Solange, Alt-J and an incredible closing Sunday with Justice, Nine Inch Nails and A Tribe Called Quest. For Tribe, it’s the group’s first show since the death of founding member Phife Dog.

In many ways the lineups compliment each other, filling in what the other left out and offering up a little of everything for music fans. While each festival’s lineup stands on its own, combined Governors Ball and Panorama put Manhattan on the map as a top festival destination in 2017 with two world-class events set to take place less than two months apart.

Can’t decide which festival to attend? Tollett has a simple solution — “buy a single day ticket and go to both.”

Eye on Queens

The two sides have come a long way since news broke in late 2015 that AEG Live was planning a festival in Queen’s Flushing Meadows Park. Sensing that AEG Live was stepping on their turf, Founders Entertainment launched a petition drive urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to deny AEG a permit for the site.

Instead, AEG moved Panaroma to Randall’s Island and the date was pushed back from two weeks after Governors Ball to eight. Founders Entertainment was later sold to Live Nation and we found out that prior to the Panorama announcement, Founders had been shopping itself to AEG. Perhaps that’s what made the Panorama announcement so personal for the Founders guys — instead of selling to the creator of Goldenvoice, they would now have to compete against them.

While the two sides have mostly deescalated the battle, both still have their eye on Flushing Meadows as a potential festival site and have appropriated the park’s iconic Unisphere as an aspirational logo. Founders Entertainment even held the Meadows Music Festival in the parking lot of nearby Citi Field. Despite some opposition from neighbors (and the whole ‘Kanye West leaving the stage cause Kim had just been robbed’ drama), Meadows received good reviews from the press. Wolowitz said the Queens festival will return in 2017.

“We will be announcing the dates shortly, but it is absolutely coming back,” he said.

AEG also has its eye on Flushing Meadows as a future home for Panorama Festival.

“I definitely would be interested if that popped up,” Tollett told Amplify.

Wolowitz said he learned from the experience and said that after a year of back and forth with AEG, “Founders is now focused on Founders.”

“We were just a relatively young group of guys meeting with the mayor’s office and dealing with city hall,” he said. “It was a fascinating experience. We’re glad that we’re now able to focus back on what we do best, which is produce festivals.”

Dave Brooks
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Dave Brooks

Founder & Executive Editor at Amplify Media
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.
Dave Brooks
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