Monday, August 25, 2014

Drake vs. Lil' Wayne: A Success Despite Concert Concerns

by Michael Perlman, Perlman PR

Drake, Courtesy of Suzan Causey
Lil Wayne, Courtesy of Suzan Causey

The iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium has hosted “Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne” on August 19, which marked its third concert for the summer 2014 season. It proved to be a success, despite hearing a buzz in prior weeks over a scheduled rap concert, increased noise levels, and rowdy crowds in a residential area.    
Sometime between the August 9th Modest Mouse & Brand New concert and the Drake and Lil’ Wayne concert, a vague email from a small local group addressed from “concerned citizens” was circulated to some stadium neighbors in a vicinity that includes the Forest Hills Gardens and 69th Avenue.

An excerpt read: After the last two concerts, we heard complaints about the noise levels inside peoples’ homes. One person on 69th Ave. told us she was forced to leave her house on the night of the last concert because it was so loud. Others have described their homes shaking from the bass levels. We have conveyed these concerns directly to the promoters, our elected officials, and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which is responsible for enforcing the city’s noise code.”

The letter then read: “After the last concert (Modest Mouse), we also received complaints about the sound check that went on from 6 PM to 8:30 PM the day before the performance. We spoke to the promoters about that issue during a meeting this past week. They told us that for Drake and Lil’ Wayne, they will test the p.a. system on Monday, but promised us that it will not be an extended rehearsal like last time.”

In an interview with concert promoters Jon McMillan and Mike Luba, they issued a joint statement after the concert: “Drake and Lil' Wayne are world-class performers at the top of their respective games, and they put on an unforgettable performance. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric. We continue to work closely with city agencies, local officials, community groups, and individual neighbors to improve the overall concert experience for our patrons and residents in the areas surrounding the Stadium. We're looking forward to hosting the legendary Replacements on September 19, and Phil Lesh and Friends on September 21.”

Local residents inclusive of concertgoers also praised the concert experience. “The 10 PM concert curfew is more than reasonable, and we're talking only about six shows a year spread out of over the summer months,” said Pat Lannan. “I walked around our neighborhood not long before the Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne concert, and the restaurants and pubs were packed. Our police department has done a wonderful job to make sure these concerts are orderly, so by allowing them to happen, we’re showing support for our businesses and the neighborhood.”

BarbaraAnn Balzaretti Flannery agreed. “There are no safety issues, and the concertgoers and the cops have been great. The concerts not only bring revenue to the neighborhood, but inspire budding young artists to follow their dream.” She added, “Music is food for the soul, so let’s embrace it!”

“I’m sorry that some people are complaining about noise, but the concert ended at 10 PM sharp,” said Matthew Mandell, who has attended the Zac Brown Band and Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne concerts with his family. He explained, “The concert had a young and high energy crowd. The stadium has a historic feel, it's a good size, and it’s awesome to be able to walk to concerts in our neighborhood. There's nothing like an outdoor concert in the summer, and I am looking forward to next year.”

On the contrary to the predictions by a small group of locals, the performers applied their creative vision to an organized and interactive concert experience. On August 9, Drake’s Twitter feed read, “Everybody coming to the show, download the Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne app free and put the power in your own hands! You decide who STARTS the show, who WINS the show, and of course what side you are on! Just choose your city, and from there it’s on YOU.”

Opening the concert in unison, Drake and Lil’ Wayne were ready to energize their fans. “Blunt Blowin” was first performed by Lil’ Wayne, and then a comeback was delivered by Drake with “We Made It” and “Draft Day.” Independent numbers followed, along with a face to face rap battle. A climactic moment was witnessing Drake being hoisted 20 feet above Forest Hills. According to the app, the fans pronounced Drake as the winner, but then the artists proved that the fans made a mid-summer’s night in Forest Hills one to remember.