Mud Trekking for Music

Arts  /  by Aulden Foltz '15  /  September 13, 2013

On June 7-9, Governors Ball attendees from as close as New York City and as far as Australia marched, or rather swam, through Randall’s Island mud to listen to artists ranging from Kanye West to Beach House. Sharing a common love of music, people overcame various obstacles in order to make the most out of their tickets, and their summer. Through its tasteful lineup and creative planning, Governors Ball is a music festival New York can finally be proud to call its own.

Governors Ball began in 2011 by the independent New York festival promotion company Founders Entertainment as a one day music festival on Governors Island. That year, the festival broke the record for highest attendance of a Governors Island event, surpassing both the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, and Bassnectar’s Bass Island. Known as “the East Coast’s response to Coachella,” Governors Ball has since grown to be a three-day music festival on the more spacious Randall’s Island.

Governors Ball is known for its diverse music profile. This year, the headliners for the festival were Kings of Leon, Guns N’ Roses, and Kanye West. Other featured artists included electronic artist Cherub and Crystal Castles, alternative musicions The XX and Alt-J, and hip-hop from Kendrick Lamar and Nas. The range of music not only catered to the taste of every festival attendee, but encouraged people to listen to types of music outside of their  comfort zone. Claire Stout ’15 reflects on her experience by saying, “I went to Gov Ball with my two friends, and our music tastes range from alternative to hip-hop. We were all able to see each of our favorite artists, and even when we saw someone that we didn’t know, the atmosphere of Randall’s Island made every concert amazing.”

At the same time, the downpour that occurred all day June 7th made for difficult transit onto the island and created water puddles up to three feet deep in front of the stages. The paths between festival areas became rivers, and the harsh wind made staying dry impossible. The winds became stronger later that night, and Kings of Leon was forced to reschedule to perform the following day. The second and third days of the music festival brought sun, but the rain had done its damage and attendees found themselves still trekking through foot-deep mud to get from one place to another.

Through the rain and the wind, Governors Ball still holds the place as one of the highest rated summer music events of the year, securing a place alongside Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. “Music served as a mechanism of unification, bringing together a wide range of people despite inclement weather,” reflects Lysk Wycoff ‘14. Governors Ball will return for a fourth year in the summer of 2014.