Established in 2011, Governors Ball has quickly become the best festival in New York City, and one of the top music events in the United States. It is an annual summer concert that had over 60 acts in 3 days. The action packed event happens a short ferry ride off of Manhattan on Governors Island. The Governor’s Ball 2016 lineup included Kanye West, The Killers, Haim, Of Monsters and Men, The Strokes, Mac Miller and many others.
Since the festival is held outdoors, I watched the weather report closely. I went on Friday and Saturday, anticipating the rain on Sunday. Sunday ended up getting canceled because of weather, but Friday and Saturday were incredible. We got a downpour of rain right before The Killers were scheduled to play on Saturday night, but I was thankfully already under a tent when the rain started.
The ferry ride to Governors Island was the most pleasurable way to get to a festival. I don’t often think about the fact that Manhattan is right on the water, but it felt like an adventure to go for a short boat ride. There were ferries running every fifteen minutes, so even if you just missed one the wait wasn’t long for the next one. The view of Manhattan is incredible, especially on the ride back from the festival.
The Killers were by far the best act (in my opinion) this year at Governors Ball. ‘Mr. Brightside’ is still playing in my head- they put on an epic performance.
For those that have never been to a festival and want to go, there are certain actions that can drastically improve your experience. Here are some of things I learned from my festival experiences:
- Take a light jacket with you. Unless you are in Miami or it’s 100 degrees outside, you will be thankful for warmth after the sun goes down. It gets very chilly.
- Wear close-toed, comfortable shoes and socks that you can throw in the washer when you get home. Festival grounds can be muddy and crowded. You’ll be walking a lot, so you don’t want to wear heels. Your toes might get stepped on, so you want to wear close toed shoes. It gets chilly at night, so ankle socks will make you feel comfortable. And if it rains, you really don’t want to be squishing around in muddy sandals.
- Pack light. Only take your ID, credit card and cash, keys, phone and jacket. Security will take your beverages. Anything else will just distract you from having fun.
- Know your way around before you go. Have your transportation mapped out, know which stage your acts will be and when. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the grounds before you leave the house is worth it. There are so many people on the grounds- cell reception is sometimes limited or non-existant at festivals.
- Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen. You don’t want to get burned.
- Eat before you go. Even if there will be food on the grounds, it’s good to start out with a full stomach. In my case, it started to rain and I didn’t want to leave the VIP tent to go get food in another tent halfway across the grounds. I felt bad for the people next to me that were bemoaning their empty stomachs versus running through the rain.
- Wear a hat or flowers in your hair. My philosophy is: If my hat is too big for you, you’re standing too close. That is, unless you’re blocking people’s view behind you. Then by all means, take the hat off and let other people see the show.
- Take time to plan your outfit and wear something festival appropriate. You’ll feel more festive with flowers or feathers in your hair. I personally love events like this, since it’s totally okay to wear clothing and accessories that would otherwise be seen as childish or weird.
- Get VIP tickets if you can afford it. The restrooms and easy drink access are worth the extra cash. Everyone in General Admission got drenched during the rain, while VIP’s were under a tent.
What are your festival tips and stories? I can’t wait to go next year! XOXO, Kate Stoltz