Forest Hills Returns

The Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, quietly awaiting its 90th birthday, is being revived as a major concert venue in the New York City borough of Queens.

The stadium is expected to host Mumford & Sons Aug. 28.

Mike Luba, who produces Mumford & Sons‘ Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers and has scouted and prepared several unconventional concert sites for the band, wowed them with a tour of the grounds.

“That was the motivation,” Luba told Pollstar, “Having grown up on Long Island and peripherally aware of the legend of Forest Hills, it’s been in my folder for a long time.”

Luba contacted Bob Ingersole, tennis director for the West Side Tennis Club, and suggested reviving the facility as a concert venue.  With the club celebrating its centennial, and the stadium celebrating 90 years, Ingersole was open to the possibility. Luba gave a member of the band a tour of the facility, and everything fell into place.

“We’re going to start with this one and see how everybody feels about it,” Luba said, adding that he’s unsure how much the shows will cost to produce but that it will be an “epic” place to see a concert.

“I don’t want to overstate it but the place, in its essence, is incredible. We’re just going to bring it back up to what it naturally is – a spectacular place to see music.”

In its day, the stadium hosted everyone from Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. It is also the site where Jimi Hendrix famously opened for The Monkees, getting booed off the stage so the teeny-boppers could see Davy Jones.

Meanwhile, it was the first host of tennis’ U.S. Open until the tournament moved to larger spaces in 1978. The stadium eventually fell into disrepair.

However, it got a recent thumbs’ up from city inspectors who deemed it stable and safe, according to the New York Times.

The seating at Forest Hills is a half-circle amphitheatre setup surrounding the main court.

“The one tennis court is the GA pit,” Luba said. “The stage is set up at the lip of the horseshoe, with the grass courts behind. In the way background is the 100-year-old clubhouse.”