In its fifth year running, New York’s Governors Ball Music Festival managed to bring out a whopping 45,000 fest-goers to Randall’s Island Park.
2015 saw tons of acts get added to the set down to the last second before the gates opened. From replacing artists like Labrinth and Twin Shadow, to surprise appearances from Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend during Chromeo and SBTRKT’s set, #GovBallNYC brought the best of the best for a music festival in the boroughs. Speaking of some of the best, plenty of celebrities were spotted in the crowd like iLoveMakonnen, Cara Delevingne, and Vanessa Bayer of SNL. Even SJU alum Steven Reisman was spotted handing out his signature $2 bills during Drake’s performance.
While hard rock acts like Guns N’ Roses and Dinosaur Jr. previously dominated, this year it was the ladies and hip-hop acts that brought the strongest presence. With acts like Marina and the Diamonds and Bjork taking the main stage, and even headliners like Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent taking to the smaller stages, the women of Gov Ball brought a completely different energy compared to the male-dominated lineups of past years and even other festivals whose main acts were primarily men.The vibe at Gov Ball was more welcoming with singers like Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, who was back on her feet after a recent injury, prancing through the crowd to sing with fans. When the lineup was initially announced, it seemed like the performers were devoid of established hip-hop acts, aside from Drake. Yet, with the addition of Future and Rae Sremmurd to the GovBallNYC Stage, the crowd was inevitably lit, tearing through bangers like “No Flex Zone” and “F*ck Up Some Commas.”
At the end of the night on Friday, Drake took the main stage as anticipated by the legion of bros decked out in OVO. Starting off with “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” single “Legend,” Drake performed in layers of jackets beneath a flood of bright stage lights. Transforming his shows into a live stage performance, the setlist on his “Jungle Tour” stayed consistent in between cinematic transitions, jungle themed environments and the occasional freestyle. Between teasing the crowd with bringing Beyonce and Kanye to his OVO Fest in NYC, Drake was constantly praising the crowd as the best festival audience he’d seen. Aside from his major hits, Drake also threw in snippets of his collabs that, unfortunately, didn’t see the rapper joined on stage by anyone else. However, considering a disastrous set at Coachella with a guest appearance from Madonna, it seems understandable that he would avoid a similar flop. While the majority of the set went off without a hitch, a stage crasher managed to get past guards during the explosive hit “Know Yourself” to which Drizzy responded “You about to get served boy” before security got ahold of the unwanted guest.
All in all, The Governors Ball has managed to establish itself as New York’s premier music festival with the widest array of headliners and up-and-coming acts on the bill.