Governors Ball 2012
This year Governors Ball was located on Randalls Island, New York from June 23-24. The festival featured many famous headliners including Major Lazer, Passion Pit, Beck, Kid Cudi, Fiona Apple, and Modest Mouse. A feature specific to the festival is that you never have to choose- only one artist is performing at any given time, alternating between the two main stages located at the opposite ends of the venue area. The festival also featured fun games from ZogSports, free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, a silent disco, free bandans with your photo on it from Honda, and printed photos of you trying on Ray Bans.
One nice aspect to the location is its size. Since the area is relatively small and the stages were open, outdoor stages, you could pretty much hear one of the artists at all times. Whether you were raging right in front of the stage or sitting across the field in the shade, you could enjoy the music and never skip a beat. There was also a nice sloping hill lined with trees that you could sit on to beat the heat and relax with your friends.
Anyone who attended both days will tell you Saturday had a very different feel from Sunday. On Saturday I found myself surrounded by younger rave kids wearing neon colors and sucking on lollipops. One attendee wearing a fairy costume had stained blue teeth from a Ring Pop and asked me if I wanted her to put glitter and neon paint on my face, to which of course I said, “Absolutely!” I don’t fully understand why the New York Times would call it an “angsty party,” but it was definitely a decent rager. The first act that really caught my attention was Art vs. Science, a bizarre Australian electro-pop dance band dressed in shiny silver jump suits running around the stage doing hilarious songs such as “Parlez vous francais?” and “Flippers” (during which they have fans actually wave their arms like flippers), though I couldn’t fully decided if I thought they were hilarious or a little much. The indescribably awesome duo Big Gigantic put on an excelent show, though in the midday heat the crowd was raging at only about 70%. Luckily, if you go to any other festival on the east cost you will be seeing Big G again. The rave scene was in full force by the evening when Major Lazer hit the stage, diving into the crowd and letting a bunch of women on stage. Chromeo put on a fun, high-energy show featuring all of their standard hits. Santigold and Ducksauce also put on good sets. Then, after hours of hiphop and electro artists, Passion Pit hit the stage as the sun was setting. The electro-pop group played a pretty mellow set that seemed more indie rock and was a bizarre fit into the lineup at that point; in the middle of their set they played a lot of slower, downtempo songs from their new album, which was a bit of a buzzkill after the bass booming dance songs of Duck Sauce. I’ll be honest, after Passion Pit I skipped Kid Cudi and, from what I heard, that was a good choice.
The feel of the crowd was totally different on Sunday: the neon was replaced by eclectic prints as the hipsters rolled in. Again I’ll be honest, I’m not really that into indie rock, so a lot of it sounded the same to me. However, one duo that really knocked my socks off was Phantogram. Their set was unreal. I had heard great things about them, but this was wild. I was drawn into the crowd by the beautiful wall of sound that they were producing. Plus, I love it when you see a woman mixing the music and playing the keyboard, and Sarah Barthel killed it. At the end of their set, the echoing of Sarah’s voice seriously left me with chills. A lot of people expected big things from Fiona Apple, who hasn’t really been on tour since 2007. Unfortunately, she was heard best from afar, as you could barely hear her voice over the chatty crowd in front of the stage. Explosions in the Sky was pretty mellow and didn’t really create any explosions as far as I could tell. Modest Mouse was pretty good, though a little on and off during their set. Beck, however, was awesome. Their set was quirky and fun and had people (finally) moving non-stop.
I think the photos will show this fest brought out some of NYC’s funniest and most fashionable concert goers.