Historic Queen stadium releases 15-date summer schedule that includes Sarah McLachlan, Elvis Costello, Morrisey and Nickelodeon’s Jojo Siwa.
Forest Hills Stadium unveiled its summer schedule Monday (April 29) with a mix of 16 concerts, music festivals and family events booked at the historic venue in Queen's Forest Hills neighborhood, designed in the early 1900s as one of America's first planned communities.
"It was kind of the idealized version of what suburbia was going to be in the post-industrial age," says Mike Luba, whose AEG-backed Madison House Presents signed on as exclusive concert promoters for the stadium in 2013. Located in the shadow of Citi Field and Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the 96-year-old tennis stadium was the site of Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson boundary-breaking Grand Slam wins and was the long time home of the U.S. Open and Davis Cup.
Today Forest Hills is a bustling New York neighborhood that's home to Forest Hills Gardens, one of America’s oldest planned communities. Stepping through its archway entrance feels like a step back into 19th century London with its Tudor architecture and Garden City Movement-inspired pocket parks and old world lampposts. Surfaced by four subway lines and just one stop away from Manhattan's Penn Station on the Long Island Rail Road, the stadium and its accompanying athletic club and private restaurant serves as both a social club and a long-running concert venue that's hosted Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and many more. The front page of the West Side Tennis Club's website proclaims "Zac Brown played Forest Hills. Have you?"
After six years of construction and creation of permanent bathrooms, Luba says the stadium will open in 2019 with major renovations completed and a concert season that begins May 25 with Greta Van Fleet. Also playing in 2019 is Willie Nelson & Family and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, who headline the Sept. 11 Outlaw Music Festival with Alison Krauss and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Elvis Costello returns to Forest Hills on July 24, nearly 35 years to the day after his 1984 appearance on his Imperial Bedroom Tour, while My Morning Jacket visits Aug. 10 and Death Cab for Cutie performs with Jenny Lewis on June 15.
After a decade-plus lull, the Chemical Brothers will return Aug. 1 for their first headlining performance in over 12 years, while Sarah McLachlan and the New York Pops are planning an intimate show at the stadium on Aug. 2. Morrissey is playing Forest Hills with Interpol on Sept 7, and Nickelodeon viral star JoJo Siwa will headline the stadium’s first children’s-focused concert on July 21.
"It's the East Coast aspirational play for bands looking for something different in New York," says Luba, comparing the stadium to LA's Greek Theater or Red Rocks outside of Denver. Bands playing the stadium get an honorary membership to the club and access to it junior Olympic pool. Fans and groups can rent out suites from the venue's maze of 10 secret rooms and hidden spaces, like a small bar accessible through a fake portable bathroom that can only be opened with a nine-volt battery for a key.
"It's a crazy to see fans waiting in line to go to the bathroom and suddenly six people come out of a port-a-potty with drinks in their hand," Luba said. "We also tell people to come early for dinner or a drink before the show because there are a ton of great bars, shops and restaurants," says Luba, including Nick’s Pizza, oysters and burgers joint Austin Public and Spy C Cuisine, which serves authentic Sichuan fare. For those with a late night sweet tooth, Luba recommends cupcakes from Silk Cakes and homemade ice cream sundaes at Eddie’s Sweet Shop.
"We work really hard to be good neighbors and guardians of this incredibly important stadium, where so amazing things moments in history have taken place," he said. "It's a very intimate venue – it was created for 14,000 people to watch two tiny people play tennis and the sight-lines are incredible. You step inside and it feels like a magical place."
The complete schedule for 2019 is below. Learn more and buy tickets at ForestHillsStadium.com.
May 25 – Greta Van Fleet
June 15 – Death Cab for Cutie with Jenny Lewis
June 22 & 23 – ALT 92.3 Summer Open featuring the Lumineers with the Revivalists, the Head and the Heart, Young the Giant, Fitz and the Tantrums and a special acoustic performance by Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional and Smith and Thell
July 14 – Lynyrd Skynyrd with Hank Williams, Jr.
July 20 – “Weird Al” Yankovic with Queens Symphony Orchestra
July 21 – Nickelodeon’s JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. the Tour presented by Party City
July 24 – Elvis Costello & The Imposters and Blondie
Aug. 1 – The Chemical Brothers
Aug. 2 – An Intimate Evening with Sarah McLachlan And the New York Pops
Aug. 10 – My Morning Jacket with Warpaint
Aug. 17 – Beck and Cage the Elephant with Spoon
Sept. 7 – Morrissey with Interpol
Sept.11 – Outlaw Music Festival featuring Willie Nelson & Family with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Alison Krauss and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Sept. 14 – Ian Anderson presents JETHRO TULL 50th Anniversary Tour
Oct 5 & 6 – The Infatuation presents EEEEEATSCON NY