On Wednesday, Aug. 28, music will fill the West Side Tennis Club stadium in Forest Hills once more but outside, the gentle strumming of a banjo and the easy sounds of a harmonica may be replaced with car horns, exhaust pipes and frustrated residents.
Mumford and Sons, the pop-folk fusion band, will be rocking out in this historic stadium that once hosted A-list acts including the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Jimi Hendrix. A concert has not been held at the WSTC for 17 years.
So far, the event has all of the ingredients for a successful concert: it is sold out, food and beverages will be served and the band’s website has been buzzing with comments from excited fans. The true test, however, will come the night of the concert when roads will be shut down.
“It looks like the traffic trouble will be in and around Yellowstone all the way down to the stadium,” Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Galluscio said. “I think they’re working on having some traffic flow but Burns Street will be closed.”
The stadium is located in Forest Hills Gardens, a planned community with private security and parking, and may prove difficult for out-of-towners who decide to drive to the concert.
Already several Gardens residents have posted offers on the Mumford and Sons website, selling their parking spaces. The prices range from $35 to spare concert tickets.
The concert is a pilot of sorts to help the WSTC pay for desperately needed renovations to the stadium that once held the US Open. If the Mumford show goes off without a hitch, more musical acts are expected to hit the main stage.
Though parking and driving may prove to be difficult, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and CB 6 have met with the WSTC board members and the concert promoters to iron out potential problems.
“The main concern was the police,” Koslowitz said. “I was promised that we would have a sufficient amount of police.”
Koslowitz, who will be attending the concert, added that the promoters and board members are encouraging fans to use public transportation.
“In that area, using public transit is easier, so we are very lucky in that way,” she said. “You have the Long Island Rail Road, the buses and a lot of subway lines. I feel that the agencies involved made a commitment to not let any incidents occur and I am going to go along with that. If there are problems, I will fight very strongly against bringing more concerts here.”
Another potential problem is the seating arrangements. The stadium does not have seats but rather bleachers, which means there will be no assigned seating. For an additional cost, fans can pay for standing room to be up close and personal with the band on the clay courts.
On the Mumford and Sons website, fans have posted that they plan on lining up for the 6 p.m. show as early as 5 a.m.
A representative from the WSTC and the event promoter would not return requests to comment.