Could Governor’s Ball Be Coming to the Bronx?

Attendees at the Governors Ball Musical Festival
Photo Courtesy Governors Ball Musical Festival

Governor’s Ball, which occurs June 5 to June 7 and features 66 performances and draws 150,000 people, is the city’s largest and most celebrated music festival.

Founded in 2011, it features the very best in rock, hip-hop, electronic, indie and more.

Founders Entertainment is looking to hold the event at Van Cortlandt Park, but was denied a permit by the parks department.

On Thursday, December 12, representatives from Founders spoke to Community Board 8 about the concert.

“We are huge fans of Van Cortlandt Park,” said Founders Entertainment President Tom Russell. “I’m a lifelong resident of NYC. I grew up playing sports there. We just think it’s a venue that’s very easy to get to.”

He noted they have loved their time at Randall’s Island, but are looking for a bigger space. According to Russell, the park is quite close to the #1 IRT train and if the festival were held there, they would make sure the community would not be impacted.

Russell told the Bronx Times, they are exploring their options and have spoken with business, residents, community groups and elected officials, who are all concerned about traffic, noise, parking and park usage.

“We would only want to use this if people are interested,” he stressed.

On Thursday, December 19, Rosemary Ginty and Bob Bender, the chairs of the Parks and Recreation Committee of CB 8, sent a letter to Russell about the festival.

They stressed that even though the parks department denied their application, they gave them a few minutes to speak in an information only session.

“In no way should you take anything said or done by this community board to represent approval of or even favorable opinion towards your proposal by this board,” they said in the letter. “On the contrary, as you heard at the Parks & Recreation Committee meeting,serious concerns were expressed regarding the scale of the event you are proposing. These concerns also include the precedent of this park use, condition of the park after the event and limited usage before and after; transportation issues; pedestrian circulation; and public safety, to name a few.”

They noted if they want a formal opinion, they could come before the full board.

Other community members share their sentiment. The Broadway Community Alliance sent a letter to the public expressing their disapproval with the concert ‘s proposal to come to the borough.

“Governor’s Ball belongs on Randall’s Island, not a residential neighborhood,” the letter states. “We oppose the inevitable costly destruction of our local jewel Van Cortlandt Park. The promise of restitution and large donations has no standing here. It’s appalling and disrespectful to learn about this assault on our quality of life in the time of our Christmas and Hanukah celebrations. We oppose the disruptions caused by gridlock, loss of parking, thundering loud speakers and public safety risks inherent in controlling 50,000 people per day.”

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