Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

I’m a big music festival kind of guy. There’s just a pleasant vibe in the air at these events, knowing everybody is enjoying the same music as me. Whether it be Firefly, Musikfest or Made In America, I’ve spent a lot of time and money going to these events. But they’re always so worth it because I’ve seen the likes of Coldplay, Blink-182 and even Paul McCartney at these events. It’s safe to say I’ve never been disappointed so far.

As I was perusing through some internet music forums at the beginning of this semester, I stumbled on this new music festival called The Meadows. It is located in NYC and seemed like a pretty cool thing, but then I saw the lineup.

Oh my God, this festival had the best single-day lineup I’ve ever seen in my life. It had everyone from Chance the Rapper to Kygo to Cage The Elephant to Kanye West! I immediately called up some of my friends and bought tickets on the spot.

Fast forward to Sunday, Oct. 2, after weeks of anticipation, I arrive at the venue in NYC. After checking out the scene a little bit and hearing a couple unknown acts, I went to the first show of the day.

This show was Zella Day, who sings indie-pop music. It was early, so I got a close spot for her show. I’ve had a crush on her for years, so I fulfilled some of my dreams seeing her front row.

After Zella Day ended, I didn’t have anyone in particular in mind that I was really trying to see. So we got some food, some drinks and stumbled upon the next act: Charles Bradley and The Extraordinaires. They were a jazz act led by a 70-year-old looking man and backed by an arsenal of brass and string instruments.

The backups were super funky, and Bradley was incredibly talented and actually inspiring. Between songs, he preached about love and togetherness with such captivating emotion that you couldn’t help but fall in love with the guy.

That’s one really cool aspect of music festivals; I didn’t even know that band prior to that day, but they performed one of my favorite acts I’ve ever seen.

After being awestruck by Bradley, I saw a couple similar artists back-to-back: Robert Delong and Jack Garratt. They’re both one-man bands surrounded by various instruments.

They start off playing by looping one instrument, like drums or piano, and adding another looped musical element, and so on.

Although they have their own styles, Delong is more of a drummer, Garratt a guitarist; they both pull off a one-man show phenomenally. I’ve seen both of these acts earlier in the summer at Firefly, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing them.

Next, I hit Mac Miller, which was freaking wild. Miller is a rapper from Pittsburgh known for his lyricism. The crowd was jammed up like sardines, but that didn’t stop us from going wild when he came out. It seemed like everyone knew every word to all of his songs.

During this show, I went rogue from my friends to see the shows I wanted to see. So I went to go check out BØRNS. BØRNS belts out these high-pitched vocals like I’ve never heard before. He was definitely the chillest concert of the day, so I didn’t mind leaving Mac Miller early.

Afterwards, I walked over to Cage The Elephant. These dudes are definition rock stars.

The lead singer just runs around the stage the whole time screaming his lyrics into the mic while the backups are shredding on their respective instruments.

I only caught half their set, but they played almost every song I wanted to hear, so I was satisfied with their show. I then navigated over to Chance the Rapper’s set. As a crowd favorite, that concert was packed to capacity.

Chance didn’t just rap his songs; he put on a performance. He had a bunch of life-size, interacting puppets on stage to go along with his set. It was seriously so dope; he basically went through the story and emotions he felt writing his newest album. Chance is one of my favorite artists because of this performance.

After we were all blown away by Chance, we regrouped, got some food and drinks and sat in the back of The 1975 concert. They’re a really chill band, and they were exactly what I needed at that point in time. After we felt ready to go, we hit Kygo.

Kygo is my favorite DJ; he blends tropical house with smooth melodies, which sounds wonderful.

At this point, it’s dark outside, so the light show that went along with the act was unbelievable.

My favorite part about the act is he brought out a special guest: Shaggy! I unexpectedly got to see Shaggy perform everyone’s favorite 2000’s hit “It Wasn’t Me” live, so that was a nice surprise. Later in the act, right when Kygo dropped the bass in a song, colorful fireworks burst from another stage. At first, I thought it was timed that way, but then I realized it was the start of Kanye’s set.

My group and thousands of others began sprinting to that stage trying to get there on time. As soon as I got there, I saw Kanye West emerge from the shadows.

He started off with songs from “The Life Of Pablo” followed by some classics. It was going so well; I was loving every second of it. But then, about 45 minutes into his two-hour set, in the middle of “Heartless,” Kanye walked away and cried, “Family emergency, gotta end the show,” as all the stage lights went off. I actually thought he was just messing with us.

Turns out he wasn’t; apparently his wife, Kim Kardashian, got robbed at gunpoint, so he had to stop the show to deal with that. I understand the circumstances, but I was super bummed that my favorite artist’s set was cut short.

Even if the night ended a little earlier than expected, this festival was a wonderful experience. I got to see more than 10 solid acts over the whole day, and I made awesome memories with some of my closest friends. Music festivals are a magical ride; I could not recommend them enough for you music lovers out there.

Gabe Sinko is a third-year student majoring in computer science and marketing. He can be reached at GS838040@wcupa.edu.

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