New York City’s largest and most musical diverse music festival Governors Ball felt particularly more inclusive this year. Between official-festival run events and the many performers sharing their support, the 2019 edition of the music festival was awash in Pride. June 1st, the middle day of the festival, marked WorldPride Day and the kick-off of a Pride Month in NYC that will remember the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
Beyond the mini-pride parades, drag queen performances, and corporate sponsored rainbow products, several artists showed their support of Pride, including Ravyn Lenae who wore a sparkling rainbow colored dress. Most notably, country superstar Kacey Musgraves gave a lot of respect to the LGBTQ fans in the audience as she shared her yee-haw attitude with those wearing cowboy hats (not necessarily disparate circles) — “I know that yee-haw is having a moment, but I’ve been yee-hawin’ all my fucking life.”
Musgraves, back in the US from a tour of Australia and New Zealand, was ready to entertain. Though her stage setup was not as fancy as it had been at Coachella, she was still striking in her flower-print ensemble and her buoyant spirit. “Every month should be pride month!” she shouted at one point. Musgraves dedicated her ballad “Rainbow” to everyone with “weight on their shoulder” as the spotlights lit up in a rainbow pattern. And for her final song, “High Horse”, she kicked off her shoes to strut across the stage while waving a rainbow banner.
Governors Ball (Sunflower Bean, Denzel Curry, Ravyn Lenae and Kacey Musgraves)
Photos: Sachyn Mital
While not entirely ignoring the fact that the Sunday of GovBall ended up evacuated (more on that later), when I heard the festival gates were delayed, I decided to pass returning to the fest as forecasts still showed a risk of inclement weather. Sunday afternoon sets from acts like Soccer Mommy, Bazzi, and Charli XCX were canceled while the evening sets were rescheduled. (With regard to the cancellation of the latter, during her set on Sunday, Lily Allen remarked that “in pride month I think that’s a crime against LGBTQ”). However, Charli managed to schedule a smaller show at (le) poisson rouge (which sold out in under 20 minutes).
Charli XCX‘s intimate, enthusiastic dance performance was a welcome treat for the lucky “angels” (LGBTQ or otherwise) that got to witness it. Her set included her classic “I Love It”, “Boys”, and her two outstanding newer songs, “Blame It on Your Love” and “1999” (a callback to a bygone era of pop gems). Though special guests had been hinted at, in the end, no one joined Charli XCX on stage. I had half-expected to see song-collaborator Diplo, who had been at GovBall with Major Lazer when she played her newest single “Spicy” (another call-back song that directly references the Spice Girls).
With thunderstorms pummeling Randall’s Island on Sunday, Governors Ball may have (once again) been marred by the weather (previous rainstorms had left muddy patches across a lot of the fields) but it is hard to fault festival organizers for making the best decisions with the information they had. Hopefully, the 10th anniversary festival (in 2020) goes over more smoothly.
Photos: Sachyn Mital