The Meadows music festival's five unsung heroes

There's a first time for everything.

The inaugural Meadows Music and Arts Festival in the Citi Field parking lot was the first shot by Founder's Entertainment, producers of the Governors Ball, to put on an autumn festival in Queens' Flushing-Meadows Corona Park. The two-day event in the borough expectedly went off with some hitches, but nobody anticipated the surprising ending: Kanye West ended his set early, because he got news armed robbers in Paris held up his wife, Kim Kardashian.

The festival, which brought in a whopping 50,000 people on its sold-out second day, did manage to pull together an awesome roster of artists, including heavy-hitters West, his protégé Chance the Rapper and the 1975. But here are the acts that stood out the most, apart from the built-in fanfare, and really knew how to put on a show.

22 photos view gallery The 2016 Meadows Music and Arts Festival

J. Cole

This rapper knows how to come through. He turned out for The Meadows after advertised headliner The Weeknd canceled his set, then rescheduled it earlier Saturday, then canceled it again. But he also showed up for fans who have been tuning into his music from the beginning (including Chris Rock, spotted looking for the "Super VIP" section.) J. Cole's was a crowd-pleasing set, but he came out at the top of the pack Saturday because the seasoned hip hop star legitimately spit his verses. He didn't rely on the backing track to cover for him when he ran out of breath. J. Cole is no-fuss rap, and it was a refreshing way to close the inaugural festival's first day. It's also the last time anyone will catch him for a while — he announced during his uplifting set that this was his "last show for a very long time."

Kim K held up at gunpoint in Paris; Kanye halts Queens concert


The noisy all-female group from London really packed a punch. Everyone who skipped them to wait at the main stage for J. Cole really missed out, because these badass ladies, dressed all in black, conjured a dark, post-punk sound that made for an entrancing show in front of a small audience. Leading the charge was French-born frontwoman Jehnny Beth, who entered the crowd and interacted with fans, looking them in the eyes and relying on them to hold her up as she delivered her lyrics. Savages, though minimal in stage setup and dress, did a lot with a little for a delightfully on-point rock show.

Sylvan Esso

Amelia Meath, a short white girl pumped up by some sick white platform sneakers and backed up by homemade beats from her partner, Nick Sanborn, got the crowd hyped on Saturday. The Durham, North Carolina, duo had everyone dancing to their decidedly indie electronic tunes. Meath's voice captivated with an almost Adele-like quality that paired nicely with Sanborn's production and instrumentals. Festival attendees packed it in for these guys, who played on a smaller stage for a mid-afternoon set that was anything but a snooze.

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

A set from an extremely well-practiced funk singer, along with a groovy set of musicians who are notably earlier in their careers than their frontman, was a Sunday afternoon highlight. Bradley looked as if he'd taken a time machine to the future from the 1970s, swinging his hips and oozing soul into the microphone. He made an entrance and kept the spirit alive throughout his short time on stage. He and his band had a blast, and it seemed like everyone else did, too.

Jack Garratt

Here's one masterful singer-songwriter from the U.K. who had a hand in everything during his Sunday afternoon performance. Jack Garratt can sing exceptionally well, he can produce beats that get everyone moving, and he can do it at the same time as he plays drums. He's not bad on the guitar, either. Garratt's hands were in a frenzy the entire show as he switched instruments and layered sounds on sounds that reverberated out from a pretty small stage. Garratt's New York fans welcomed him with open arms on Sunday afternoon, who packed the pit in front of the smaller stage and danced the entire time.

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