This year’s Global Citizen Festival took place on a rainy September 23. As it has for over a decade, the concert was held on Central Park‘s Great Lawn. Council Member Gale Brewer is hoping this was the annual event’s finale.
“I write to request that the Global Citizen Festival no longer be scheduled in Central Park,” Brewer wrote in an October 2 letter to Mayor Adams. “The Global Citizen Festival has been held in the park for years, and this year, on September 23, it was full speed ahead despite torrential rain.”
Brewer continued to say that a third of the Great Lawn was destroyed and it will now be closed until April 2024 or later, “all to accommodate a one-day event.”
“I have never been a fan of the Global Citizen Festival because so little, if any, of the grants are allocated to non-profits in New York City. However, I believe the festival brings in $2 million to the general fund. I urge you to schedule the Global Citizen Festival in a venue other than Central Park, such as an arena or stadium.”
Here’s a scene from this year’s concert:
A spokesperson for the Central Park Conservancy provided ILTUWS with the following statement:
The Central Park Conservancy is very disappointed that the iconic Great Lawn is now closed and unavailable for New Yorkers to enjoy this fall. The use of heavy equipment and intense foot traffic in the saturated conditions from the September 23 concert damaged a large portion of the lawn and fully destroyed a third of it. Our team is now working to restore the lawn, hopefully in time to reopen this spring.”
Here’s a statement we received from a Global Citizen spokesperson:
The Global Citizen Festival has taken place in Central Park for the last 11 years in close collaboration with the City of New York, its agencies, and the Central Park Conservancy.We are incredibly grateful to call New York City and Central Park the home of our movement, which has seen $43.6 billion deployed to end extreme poverty, impacting 1.3 billion lives around the world.
This year’s rainfall meant closer alignment with City agencies and stakeholders than ever before. In the months leading up to the festival on September 23, and daily in the week before the event, we worked closely with the NYC Mayor’s Office, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Office of Emergency Management, NYPD, FDNY and the Central Park Conservancy. Ultimately, the City of New York, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Central Park Conservancy, determined that this year’s festival should go ahead.
In addition to the fee paid to the City each year for use of the Park, Global Citizen works with the Central Park Conservancy to assess and cover the costs of any damage, and we remain committed to fulfilling those obligations, as we have since 2012.”
And here’s a statement from the Parks Department:
While we share New Yorkers’ frustration, we have had a positive relationship with the Global Citizen Festival producers and are confident any damages will be remedied expeditiously.
We’ll provide updates as we learn more.