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Governors Ball continues to lead the pack in genre-mixing music festivals

 By Delaney Clifford

May 30, 2019

The time has finally arrived for one of the biggest parties in New York. Governors Ball 2019 is gearing up for the latest and greatest yet, and the buzz has already grabbed the city by its horns. This year’s installation features a host of talent both fresh to the scene and globally celebrated, offering a multitude of groups and artists versed in rock, electronic, hip-hop, rap, country, R&B, and anything else you could hope for. Without a doubt, there is something for you at Gov Ball no matter how wild your taste may be. In addition to the music, Governors Ball will be jam packed with interactive art exhibits, special giveaways, and more food and drink than your heart could desire.

Courtesy of Governors Ball

Throughout the festival’s nine-year tenure, the experience has grown exponentially, moving from the original venue of Governors Island to the more spacious Randall’s Island. Since then, the event has expanded from a one-day rager to a three-day blowout, where even the most veteran festival warrior’s chops are put to the test as the draw has risen to a consistent 150,000 attendees year after year. In the early days, the headliners were Girl Talk, Pretty Lights, and Empire of the Sun as well as a few not-so-unknowns to boot. In the following years, the festival has seen some of the most magnanimous acts of our time grow from the early sets to the grand headliners, including artists such as Drake, Beck, Kanye, Outkast, Vampire Weekend, Jack White, The Killers, and too many more to count.

Courtesy of Governors Ball

This year will also feature an enormous amount of food vendors, stretching the scope of New York’s local eateries with pop-ups and food trucks from beloved establishments such as the Melt Shop, Roberta’s Pizza, Marty’s V Burger, and the Doughnuttery. The festival will also host special outdoor-bar events from Bud Light and Jameson, bringing the whole party full circle with a slew of secret sets on top of your favorite brews and cocktails. After getting your fix on food and drink, there will be a variety of art installations to check out from local NYC street artists, muralists, and sculptors alike.

With so much to see, eat, and experience, there’s some need for priority amongst the wonderland of chaos. But we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the must sees this weekend:

The Internet – Friday – 4:45 – 5:45 p.m. at GovBallNYC Stage          

The Los Angeles-based group spearheaded by Syd and Matt Martians of Odd Future that rules the blending of electronic, rap, and R&B. If you’ve been sleeping on these folks, Gov Ball is the perfect place to get the all-inclusive immersive experience into The Internet.

Jorja Smith – Friday – 6:45 – 7:45 p.m. at Honda Stage         

Another must-see is the indomitable Jorja Smith, the English singer-songwriter who has worked alongside some of the great powerhouses of modern rap and hip-hop, stealing hearts and taking names with her piercing lyricism and angelic falsetto. Jorja Smith brings a brilliant mix of singing and rapping to her work, all bound together by a tantalizing production of house-style beats and classic hip-hop electronics. While there may be many like Jorja, none are superior.

Brockhampton – Friday – 6:45 – 8:00 p.m. at GovBallNYC Stage      

The rap boyband Brockhampton, a group that has gained incredible traction in the last few years. Known for their eccentric brand of colorful rap and hip-hop, this group has rebranded the definition of boyband in the modern era. While they are already a difficult energy to contain in a closed venue setting, their festival performance is bound to be even bigger.

Tyler, the Creator – Friday – 9:45 – 11:00 p.m. at GovBallNYC Stage           

Another headliner this year, Tyler, the Creator will be playing an especially interesting set. It will be one of the first times the Odd Future star performs tracks from his latest record IGOR in front of a live audience. Taking a sharp turn from Flowerboy, the rapper has begun exploring different avenues of his musical creativity, morphing his live style in tandem. Whether you’ve been on Tyler since day one or if this is your first time getting into the eclectic rapper, this is assuredly the one set not to miss this weekend.

Kacey Musgraves – Saturday – 4:45 – 5:45 p.m. at GovBallNYC Stage         

If you haven’t already dedicated yourself to it yet, now is as good a time as any to be sure to make some standing room for America’s newest sweetheart, Kacey Musgraves, as she brings her bourbon-sweet taste of the South to New York. Riding on an award-winning album and plenty of talent to bolster the hype, there can be no doubt–  if you’re looking for one of the true stars of Gov Ball, look no further. She’ll be there, and so should you.

Vince Staples – Saturday 6:45 – 8:00 p.m. at Honda Stage   

If you’re looking for some of the big heavy hitters in rap at this year’s lineup, there’s no better place to start than with Vince Staples. After topping the charts and the club circuit with last year’s FM!, Staples is bound to make a splash at Gov Ball like never before. If you’re a rap fan making the trek out this weekend, put Vince Staples is at the top of your list.

Lord Huron – Saturday – 8:15 – 9:15 p.m. at American Eagle Stage

Back on the rock side of things, Los Angeles’ own Lord Huron has found a place in the sweet spot of the Gov Ball schedule. They’re right in the middle, and perfectly situated to get the energy flowing for the rest of the night with their folk-inspired anthems that you can’t help but dance to. Taking the Mumford and Sons-stylized folk a step further, Lord Huron belts their soothsaying songs with a tinge of sadness and more heart than most. While this group has historically flown under the radar on the larger festival circuit, Governors Ball has always been a place for the grandiose and Lord Huron will be no exception to the rule.

Denzel Curry – Saturday – 3:00 – 3:45 p.m. at Honda Stage

Kicking off one of the earlier sets on Saturday is Denzel Curry, who is guaranteed to be the shot of pure fury and adrenaline that Governors Ball begs for. After recently making the rounds on the internet for his cover of Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” attendees can expect a good deal of vitriol from Curry’s performance to offset the more relaxed hip-hop sets of the day.

Beast Coast – Sunday – 8:00 – 9:15 p.m. at Bacardi Stage    

Every festival is bound to have an exclusive performance, whether it be a triumphant return to live music, an album played from front to back or, in this case, a collaboration which is sure to rock the entire island. Beast Coast, the combined forces of Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies, will be playing Sunday evening to deliver one of the final banger sets of the weekend. Coming fresh off of their debut album, Escape from New York, the group will be doing anything but. Given the number of features on the record, it’s expected to see the whole crew rolling deep together and, with these guys on the same stage, there are bound to be some major fireworks.

The Strokes – Sunday – 9:45 – 11:00 p.m. at GovBallNYC Stage       

One of the headliners this year serves as one of the festival’s main attractions, to nobody’s surprise. It would serve you well to push through the sunburn and exhaustion on Day 3 to catch The Strokes close out the weekend. The monumental group’s upbeat rock vibes seem the perfect catalyst to have the entire island dancing, crowd-surfing, and singing along as the festival comes to an explosive end. Plus, with no new releases since 2016, it seems almost guaranteed that those who get to watch their set will be gifted with some new material.

While these are just a few of the many acts to catch this weekend, there’s even more to experience at Governors Ball. In your down time, be sure to pop in on the art installations, vendors, food halls, and spirits events that are bound to give you more than you bargained for. And remember, keep the sunscreen and water flowing.

Check out the full lineup for Governors Ball, and follow us at the festival in our Instagram stories!

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