Never have I ever…been to a music festival. That was my lame but effective “Never Have I Ever” for years, but as of this weekend, it’s no longer true. Guys! I finally went to a music festival! And not just any music festival, the New York cliché of music festivals:
Governors Ball 2017
At the beginning of June every New York summer, Governors Ball invades Randall’s Island for a weekend. (Contrary to its name, Governors Ball is not on Governors Island like you might think. This music festival is too massive for cute little Governors Island.) I always kinda sorta thought it would be fun to check out but tickets are expensive, especially if you’re not super into any of the bands playing…
But if you know me, you won’t be surprised that I found a way to get paid to attend Governor’s Ball.
I booked a gig where my job was to snap photos of the festival. Sometimes of this set Governors Ball photo-op…
…and also wandering around the festival taking photos of people, festival sights, and food. Basically a blogger’s dream job.
Yes, I ate a corn dog. I’m disgusting. But when at Governors Ball do as… governors do? That’s why every one wears flower crowns, bralettes, and booty shorts to this festival, right Cuomo?
But did I get to actually see any bands? Yes, yes I did! Franz Ferdinand was the only band on the entire 3 day line up whose music I’d ever legit purchased. Ya know, back when CDs were a thing, but they still put on a great show ten years later! Of course I love their Scottish accents…
The best show I saw was Cage the Elephant. They just won a Grammy for Best Rock Album so they’re definitely on fire right now. This set had so much fucking energy and passion, nothing caged about it.
My favorite thing about watching live music these days is watching people live out their dreams. How old were these guys when they first said it out loud, “I want to be a rock star”? A dream so many have yet so few achieve… These guys are from Bowling Green, Kentucky, yep, the one of Alternative Fact Massacre fame. That’s bumblefuck, the odds were against them in every way, yet here they are in New York City rocking the fuck out. That’s my kind of dreamer magic.
The lead singer Matt Shultz got sweaty as fuck, ripped off his shirt, threw himself in the crowd and surfed all the way to the middle of their huge audience. It didn’t feel like just a gimmick, you could see and feel his true gratitude to all their fans. Magic. Rock and roll.
As you can see from my pictures, Saturday was sunny and beautiful.
Sunday was gray and rainy.
Governors Ball: the only place in all of New York City where you’ll find locals wearing fanny packs and plastic ponchos.
Everything I’ve written before is the metaphoric sunny side of Governors Ball. There was the metaphoric cloudy side too. That side is a mess of ridiculously privileged NYC teenagers with access to designer drugs being belligerent, sloppy, and sometimes scary in an I’m-worried-about-your-safety way. Cloudy is cold, wet, muddy, and there’s nowhere to escape this because the whole thing is outside.
Like the mural says, Gov Ball is Life: meaning it’s dirty, unfair, and goes to shit sometimes.
Clouds of cigarette smoke (some pot too) blow in your face at all the shows because no one gives a shit about the NO SMOKING policy in all NYC parks. The more inebriated people are the more common courtesy stops being common place. Turns out the worst thing about getting my wallet stolen last week was that with no ID at Governors Ball NO ONE would serve me liquor. Let me tell you, being stone cold sober at Governors Ball ten times worse than being stone cold sober at your office Christmas party.
Stone cold sober, hanging out with my fellow New York clichés!
On the sunny side, Governors Ball has some awesome art wall commissions!
Would I pay to go to Governors Ball next year? No. While I did have fun, it turns out music festivals aren’t really my thing. I’m more a Governors Island Jazz Age Lawn Party kinda gal (it’s coming up this weekend!!) But if someone wants to pay me to go again next year? Hell yes. Rock and roll.