The Governors Ball Music Festival made its triumphant return Sept 24-26 after 2020’s fest was canceled due to covid. The fest would celebrate its 10 year anniversary, this time at a whole new venue at Citi Field in Queens, NY. Although the festival is built by New Yorkers, for New Yorkers, there were certainly more people there that were from all over the country, finally ready to be back in action and see some of their favorite musicians in person, surrounded by likeminded people in the sun.
Gov Ball features 4 Stages (Gov Ball, Honda, Bacardi, and Grubhub stages, as well as a Bud light Seltzer sessions stage) and over 70 acts. A food program that features the City’s best eats and highlights its incredible culinary diversity. Visual artists from NYC and around the world. A beverage program that features popular name brands, craft, spirits, cocktail concoctions, and plenty of non alcoholic options. Art installations in the form of mural towers, huge statues, and high flying inflatables. Unannounced pop up performances that surprise and delight. The one of a kind 360° festival layout that prevents sound bleed and eliminates long walks between stages. The fun and camaraderie and the overall amazing atmosphere was amazing, you just had to be there to see it. We were there all 3 days of the fest to take in all the music and fun, we caught multiple sets from artists, as well as the atmosphere, so check out our photos below and be on the lookout for interviews from artists soon!
One of the most notable acts on Saturday had to be Phoebe Bridgers. She graced the stage to many eager fans awaiting to scream the lyrics to “I Know The End”, which was the highlight of her set, hearing everyone scream in unison was hauntingly beautiful. She even did a cover of Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling”, which was crazy to hear. This was the first time many people would be hearing a lot of her songs from Punisher live, so it was definitely a treat. Phoebe is on tour now for support of Punisher, her first tour back since the pandemic, so fans were extra hyped to finally be able to see her live, and she did not disappoint ! A steallr set and one to remember forever.
MUNA were a standout for day 2 on Saturday, playing early in the day at 2:15, but time didn’t matter as a full crowd gathered to dance to MUNA’s set, including their new ever so catchy song “Silk Chiffon” ft Phoebe Bridgers who also came out to sing it with MUNA, to the crowds delight. The crowd absolutely screamed back every single word to that song, as they should. The energy was electric and you could feel the happiness throughout the crowd. They played hits like “I Know a Place” which really got the crowd off their feet. MUNA are a fantastic band and they have come a long way to play gov ball, it was so amazing to see how far they have come!
Here’s a video on just how fun hearing” Silk Chiffon” live was!
King Princess brought the heat on Saturday afternoon, her first show back in about two years. She was so hyped to be back and you could tell. The performance she put on was incredible and it almost didn’t feel like it was her first show back, she’s such a natural. She played classics like “1950”, “Hit The Back” and even played “Holy” for the first time in awhile to the crowds surprise. She brought the queer energy to the crowds delight, as she is not afraid to hide who she is, and fans love her for that. Such a stellar set and a standout for the fest.
Friday’s Headliner Billie Eilish definitely did not disappoint. She brought her all to NYC and the crowd was loving every single minute of it. The most euphoric moment had to be during “Happier Than Ever” when the crowd chanted back “you made me hate this city” ever so loudly. Billie surely did not hate this city though as she proclaimed that ever since she played Gov Ball back in 2018 that this was her favorite show she has ever done, proclaiming her love for NYC. There was a moment in her set where she stopped the show for a minute to get security’s attention, saying they weren’t paying close enough attention to people in the crowd and their safety. It all worked out in the end and everyone was okay. Overall it was an insane set and one that was definitely worth the wait, and quite possibly Billie’s best show yet.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen surely brought the dance party on Sunday playing all of her classics like “Call Me Maybe”, and “Cut To The Feeling” There was not a moment in the set where the crowd wasn’t off of their feet and dancing. That’s the effect that Carly’s music has on you. From start to end everyone was having a great time. It was such a picturesque set as well since she played just as the sun was setting over NYC, it was a beautiful moment and a set to remember!
Kehlani absolutely killed her set on Friday to a crowd full of excited fans to finally see her perform again. Kehlani was only recently added to the Gov Ball lineup after some changes were made, and we are so glad she was added because she was definitely a highlight for Friday. She performed countless hit, including her new song “Altar” for the first time live to the fans delight. She literally brought the heat to her performance as there were pyrotechnics all around going off in her set, one of which she laughed about and said that it almost burnt her hair off. She definitely drew a large crowd for the day, as many were so excited to see her live again after so long. She definitely put on an amazing show that many will not forget!
Teamarrr kicked off the day on Sunday on the main Gov Ball stage, and what a way to kick off the day.The Boston-born and Los Angeles-based Haitian-American songstress graced the stage with her signature teacup in hand, this time with a brand new one she wanted to show off. Leaping from an underground phenomenon to the flagship artist on Issa Rae’s Raedio in partnership with Atlantic Records, she sure has come a long way. The crowd loved every minute of her set, and were cheering her on loud as ever, even though she was the first set of the day. She was such a fun act to watch and her stage presence is amazing. She even brought out someone from the crowd to dance with on stage which was exciting to watch. She recently had a song come out with Duckwrth called “Specific” which she played to the crowds delight. We also got the great opportunity to chat with her after her set, so be on the lookout for an interview with her coming soon!
UMI was certainly a set to remember on Sunday. She came out eager as ever to a crowd full of fans. She started off her set in a unique way, by having the crowd close their eyes and go through a guided meditation lead by her. She wanted people to really be present in the moment, and forget about their problems for a minute, just be there. It seemed to work wonders on the crowd, and honestly we’ve never seen anyone do something like this at a show before, so it was refreshing to see! She ended up putting on an amazing set and was definitely someone to keep on your radar!
Born in NY, Caroline Polachek brought the excitement to her set and drew a large crowd to her for it being midday on a Sunday. Fans were screaming with excitement to finally see the star live. She seemed eager to be back as well, performing all her hits, including fan favorite “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” which the crowd sang and danced along to their heart’s content. Caroline is set to hit the road on tour with Dua Lipa next year so don’t miss out on that!
Canadian star Tate McRae graced the stage mid afternoon on the festivals first day. This was one of her many festivals she was doing in a matter of a few days, so the dedication is real. Fans lined up early for a chance to see her and she drew quite a crowd. She sang hits like “You Broke Me First” to which the crowd screamed back the lyrics at her, clearly a fan favorite. She also sang “You” the hit song she did with DJ Regard and Troye Sivan. Some were even hoping for an appearance by Troye maybe, but it was a no go. Still an amazing set from Tate given the amount of festivals she had played in the previous days leading up to this.
Burlington Vermont natives 99 Neighbors hit the stage on Friday to a pretty large crowd. It was a great day to see them as they had just released their new album “Wherever You’re Going I Hope It’s Great!” on that same day, so they had a lot to celebrate. Of course they played countless songs off of that new album, some of which were being heard for the first time live, which was great to see. They had such great stage energy and were really feeding off of the crowd interactions throughout their set. There was a lot to be grateful for during their set, and they absolutely killed it.
Manhattan’s own Laundry Day had the honor of being the first band to open up the entire fest on Friday, and boy they lived up to the hype. It must be nerve racking opening up the fest and playing on the main stage, but you wouldn’t think so watching the boys perform with such grace and confidence. They had so much energy and the crowd was really vibing with them. They met while they were all in high school and had only recently graduated. From school to the stage, these guy sure know how to put on a show!
Mazie kicked the day off on Sunday and brought her electric energy to the stage, in front of an ever growing crowd. Her stage presence was energetic and she had everyone singing and dancing along to her songs, even if some didn’t know the words to them. She wanted to make sure everyone felt included at her set. She wanted everyone off their feet and everyone pretty much was. She only had released her breakthrough project in 2020, so ever since then she has taken the music world by storm. It was super fun getting to watch her set, she’s definitely a breakout star!
Atlanta native RMR took the stage on Friday, dressed in a NY Islanders hockey jersey and his signature ski mask he always sports. RMR first gained popularity when his hit song “Rascal” went viral in 2020. Since then he has been making hit after hit and finally back to being able to play shows. Just last year he released his debut project “Drug Dealing is a Lost Art” and it has gained critical acclaim. The crowd was eager to see what kind of show he would put on, and he also did not disappoint, even playing a few covers as well as his own hits. Overall a fantastic set!
Post Malone closed out Gov Ball on Sunday in fashion and in fireworks. I don’t think there could have been a better ending to Gov Ball than that moment. He played all the classics to the crowds excitement. You could practically feel the energy and vibrations of the crowd, it was truly insane. During his set he stopped to talk to the crowd a lot, thanking them for coming out and how appreciative he is of everyone there and being back at shows finally. He ended up bringing out both Roddy Ricch and 21 Savage on stage to perform with him, which was electric and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Not one person was still, everyone was off their feet. It was pure magic, and a set to remember for sure.
Gov Ball was an amazing experience and a time to remember. We were so grateful to get the opportunity to be able to come out and cover the festival for all three days. It’s a time we will never forget. Quite possibly the best Gov Ball yet! We can’t wait to see what the next one brings! All photos were taken at the fest by Erin Crowley