Last year, the success of Governors Ball was almost its undoing. Well it was either the sold out capacity crowd drawn to headliners like Kanye West or the torrential rain from the first day as last year’s coverage mentions. Fortunately for the promoters, after helping to replace the lawns at Randall’s Island, they have been given the go ahead to return. And this year’s Governors Ball will also sell-out, especially now that single day tickets are available. With the only regional performance from Outkast (who scheduled over 30 festival appearances this year) and a one-off (for now presumably) appearance from New York’s The Strokes, Governors Ball has a top notch line-up.
Friday’s festival headliner is Outkast, and you don’t really need further explanation as to why you should go see them. But the rest of Friday is pretty impressive and here’s who we hope to see. There is a set from Damon Albarn, whose new album Everyday Robots will be out this month and we are looking forward to it. Phoenix will be there as well and their 2013 arena tour was considered one of the best shows. An even more entertaining live act is Janelle Monae, who will be performing a free show in Brooklyn only two nights before her set at Governors Ball. “Bulletproof” La Roux will be making a rare visit to the US. Jason Isbell, Grimes, Neko Case and many others all had recent great albums.
Saturday features The Strokes alongside Jack White as headliners, but the word on the street is this day is now sold out (at least in the form of single tickets). Skrillex, who recently had a residence in NYC, will be there as well to give the fest its first major electronica closer, though Saturday has sets from Disclosure, The Glitch Mob, RJD2 and more to get people dancing. Notable newcomers include Lucius, the strong female duo, Classixx, with their retro-lounge sounds that would be great under the sun, the rock band PAPA and Deafheaven, with the stunning Sunbather, all have earlier slots which means you should really arrive when the doors open.
The Sunday headliner is Vampire Weekend, whose latest album earned the #1 spot on PopMatters ‘Best of 2013’ list but the rest of the day seems to be lacking in comparison to the prior days. I’ve never been too keen on Foster the People (and critics haven’t been kind to their new album) so it’s safe to presume I won’t be attempt to see them but the sets from Tyler, the Creator and James Blake better not overlap too much. Otherwise, the one band I really must see live will be The Head and The Heart because their song “Another Story” was one of my favorites from last year. As this is the final day of the fest before people return to work the next morning, its okay to not be as intense.
Electric Zoo, Electric Daisy Carnival and those jam band festivals near Hunter Mountain or in the Catskills do offer long weekends of music to New Yorkers. But Governors Ball is the biggest musical melting pot of them all. The sights and sounds of GovBall weekend are more inclusive than other NYC area festivals, of which there are so few. Make sure to pick up your tickets while you still can. Three-day passes, VIP for Saturday and all Friday and Sunday tickets are still available. Get all the details here and see the full lineup by day below.