The Real: Founders Flounders With Meadows Misstep

When Tom Russell announced Founders Entertainment was bringing a festival to Queens, the news seemed like a victory cry over their rivals at AEG Live.

Founders was finally staking a claim to Flushing Meadows Corona Park with its Meadows Music Festival, planned for Oct. 1-2 with headliners Kanye West, The Weeknd and Chance the Rapper.

Well, at least that’s what Russell seemed to be implying when he issued a statement saying Founders was “partnering” with the FMCP Alliance, a public-private coalition created by Mayor Bill di Blasio to issue event permits at Flushing Meadows. 

Here’s the thing: It turns out the Alliance “is not involved with the Meadows Music Festival and and they are not a co-sponsor of the event,” NYC Parks ‎Chief of Staff for Communications Meghan Lalor told The Real.

Several area politicians blasted Founders over the misleading announcement, leading Russell to retract part of the statement, telling The Real, “We are just starting to engage with local stakeholders, look forward to announcing these plans shortly and apologize if we misrepresented the status of those conversations previously.”

We’d later learn that Meadows Festival was not being held on park land, but in the parking lot of Citi Field, a stadium on the park’s footprint but not within the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance’s jurisdiction. Making things worse, the organizers of the World Makers Faire, which really is held inside the park, came out and blasted Live Nation and Founders Entertainment for holding their concert on the same weekend as the science fair.

One can’t help but wonder if Russell and his business partner, Jordan Wolowitz, were so eager to plant their flag in the park ahead of AEG that they made a few errors that may or may not have been designed to irk their competitor.

After all, there’s plenty of bad blood between the two. When AEG Live announced it was planning to launch Panorama fest at Flushing Meadows earlier this year, Wolowitz circulated a petition against the event, claiming AEG was trying to crush the homegrown Governors Ball Festival the company had been running for a number of years.
What Wolowitz didn’t say in his petition was that he had spent the previous year trying to sell the festival to AEG and that the two couldn’t agree on the price. In March, Live Nation announced it was buying Founders Entertainment and adding Governor’s Ball to its large portfolio of events.