Governors Ball returns to New York City

Parquet Courts performs on the Governors Ball Stage. / File photo by Zipporah Osei

By Zipporah Osei, opinion editor

This year’s Governors Ball came to Randall’s Island Park in New York City on June 2 for its three day, seventh annual music festival. The festival opened with a range of shows to satisfy rap, rhythm and blues, pop and electronic dance music fans alike. The list of artists included Charli XCX, ScHoolboy Q, Michael Kiwankua, Majid Jordan and headliner, Chance the Rapper.

“The [first day] overall had a very exciting and fun vibe. Everyone was just so happy to see their favorite artists so although it was extremely crowded, it was very manageable and even fun at times.” said Liliana Piña, a second-year combined journalism and media screen studies major. “It was very easy to spark conversation with people in crowds or on the lawn, which was such a great way to spend time between sets.”

A light shower early on day one threatened to bring flashbacks of last year’s festival when storms led to the cancellation of the final night’s headliner, but thankfully this time the rain was short-lived and all performances went on as planned.

The day’s line-up included several artists who had released new albums this past year, some as recent as that very day, such as English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa and American pop group Bleachers. Lorde, in the lead up to her much anticipated sophomore album, did a surprise release of her newest single “Perfect Places” the day before she took the stage at Governors Ball. Crowds at the festival rushed to her performance for a chance to see it performed live.

“It was definitely worth waiting hours in the front [of the crowd] to see [Lorde] and get a high five from her,” said Stephen Eng, a first time Governors Ball attendee from New York. “And I even got Chance the Rapper to point me out.”

Festival-goers got a taste of headliner Chance the Rapper earlier than they had expected when he joined artist Francis and the Lights on stage for a performance of “May I Have This Dance (Remix).” Later in the night, Chance the Rapper took the stage on a motorbike for his own performance and drew in the largest crowd of the day. His set drew from his own material off his latest album “Coloring Book” and songs from other artists he had been featured on. His performance of his version of Kanye West’s “Waves” sent the crowd into a frenzy that only heightened as he dipped into “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” and “Ultralight Beam.”

The performance was the lively punch Governors Ball needed to close the first day and keep festival-goers excited for day two.

The festival continued with the same energy on Saturday. Festival goers had performances like Mark Ronson vs. Kevin Parker and Wu-Tang Clan to look forward to before the night’s most anticipated performers even took the stage. The two headliners of the night were Childish Gambino and Phoenix. Gambino had previously announced that his performance at Governors Ball would be the only one of the summer and Phoenix’s show was their first in the U.S. since 2014.

Both acts performed simultaneously but it was Phoenix that got the main Governors Ball stage. Some in attendance felt this had been a mistake on the part of the festival. When the time came for the shows, Gambino drew a noticeably larger crowd.

Gambino got his crowd dancing with songs off his latest album “Awaken! My Love” as well as throwbacks off his 2013 album “Because the Internet” and the 2011 album “Camp.” His presense of the stage was fun and animated. Gambino removed the shirt of his all white ensemble and lit a blunt—a cheap cigar that is emptied and refilled with marijuana—on stage.

The next and last day fans seemed less energetic than the days before due in part to overcast skies and sprinkles of showers throughout the morning. Still, acts like Parquet Courts, The Orwells, Skepta and Mac DeMarco gave lively performances that woke up the crowds even as it rained.

The final day of the festival catered more heavily to fans of rock and indie rock than the previous days had. Throughout the day bands like Jack Martini, Warpaint and later headliner, Tool, brought the alternative sound to the festival which had previously been dominated by more mainstream pop, EDM, rap and hip-hop.

Jonas Fielder of Pittsburgh missed his last day of high school to make the drive to Governors Ball.

“The acts all three days have been so good that my only complaint was that I couldn’t see every [performance] I wanted to see at once. It looks like there was something for a lot of different music fans so I’m sure everyone who came would say the same thing,” said Fielder.

Photo by Zipporah Osei 

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