On June 21, the three-time Grammy winner, two-time CMT winner and multi-platinum Zac Brown Band took the Forest Hills Stadium stage before 16,000 fans, and launched the summer 2014 concert series.
The band took the stage at 7:30 p.m. and played for over two hours, pulling out hits like “Jump Right In,” “Chicken Fried,” and “As She’s Walking Away.” As the sun set over the stadium on the longest day of the year, fans continued dancing while the band threw tennis balls into the audience and stepped off the stage to shake hands.
Fans came from all over the tri-state area. “I've seen the band before, and they always look like they are having a blast, which the audience feeds off of,” said Manny Morelli of Jersey City.
Amie Valois of Rockland County agreed. “Also, the sound in the stadium was great,” she said. “As well as the stadium’s history, charm, and size.”
The surrounding neighborhood joined in on the excitement. Zac Brown Band specials were offered by local restaurants, and some erected concession stands near the stadium. Earlier this month, some local organizations played a role in concert promotions, such as the 112th Precinct, which raffled off front-row tickets to their Twitter followers.
“My concert experience was excellent,” said Jeannine Barr of Center Moriches, NY. “Once our train arrived, I was quite taken by the charm of Forest Hills.”
Barr is a huge Zac Brown Band fan, and saw them perform at MetLife Stadium and Mohegan Sun.
“The Forest Hills venue was much smaller and more intimate, and one of the highlights was when they covered Billy Joel's 'Piano Man,'” she said. “Some way to woo a Long Island crowd!”
In August 2013, the stadium reopened with Mumford & Sons, which became the first major musical act at the stadium since the 1980s. It struck a chord with residents who recalled the annual Forest Hills Music Festivals of the 1960s through the early 1980s. Memorable summers featured concerts by Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Peter, Paul & Mary, Donna Summer, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and the Rolling Stones.
To address last summer’s public safety concerns, where concertgoers speculated that the stadium was overbooked, a reserved seating system was implemented and fewer tickets were sold.
Other concerts at the stadium this year include Modest Mouse and Brand New on August 9, Drake vs. Lil Wayne on August 19, and The Replacements on September 19. Visit www.foresthillsstadium.com for more information.