It wouldn’t quite be a complete outdoor music season in New York City without an installment of The Governors Ball Music Festival. After some difficulties with weather cancellations in 2019, GovBall had been looking forward to celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2020, going as far as announcing their lineup in January 2020. Barred by the heat of the pandemic, that occasion had to be put on hold but GovBall made a triumphant return (this time to Citi Field) to celebrate its big anniversary with yet another sold-out crowd.
Three perfect sunny days of weather set the stage for the packed lineup consisting of several of the artists originally slated for 2020, some new additions, and plenty of New York heart and soul.
Early birds who made it to Citi Field for the festival’s noon-hour start were treated to some excellent up-and-coming acts, several with local connections. A few of the artists representing the five boroughs were Laundry Day, Drew Lucas + Livia O, King Princess, and Harlem-born A$AP Rocky. Nearby, New Jersey made its mark on GovBall with the band ARIZONA and an incredible R&B/country/soul styling from Breland.
Governors Ball made a move this year from its usual home on Randall’s Island in Manhattan to Citi Field in Queens, adopting a similar stage setup to Founders Entertainment’s The Meadows Music & Arts Festival which used to be held in the same location. Although maneuvering through the packed crowds as the evenings was a bit slow, the arrangement of the stages ensured that there was always an act to treat the ears while making the trek to the next stage.
Billie Eilish closed out the first night with several new tracks from her latest album release, Happier Than Ever, as well as several fan favorites from her catalogue. The crowd sang along with Billie through every song, which she reacted by saying that “GovBall is her favorite festival ever” and that she was so happy to be there again after her 2018 performance, this time as a headliner. The highlight of her performance was when she took to the sky on a moving platform, which lifted her up above and passed her several times over the crowd. Despite her huge set and 50,000 screaming fans, her performance felt intimate and personal.
The second night ended with a band as A$AP Rocky came onto the stage after crowd surfing on an inflatable car. His body men were running through the crowd dressed in head scarves to hide their faces. A$AP had been walking through the crowd before his set in disguise, and once his set began and he was on stage he revealed his face to a huge swell of cheers. Once on stage, he immediately told the crowd to open up the mosh pits, and the audience did so with enthusiasm. His set included some of his biggest tracks, and the crowd couldn’t get enough of his performance.
Post Malone played the final set of the festival, beginning from atop a massive catwalk rigged with lighting and pyrotechnics. Every time he took a sip from his big red party cup, the crowd egged him on to chug his drink. They did this at least four times, but rumor has it that there was only water in the cup. That didn’t stop him from making a moment out of it, and the crowd ate (or drank) it up. He opened with his hit song, Wow, and played most of the top singles from his catalog. He was joined briefly by Young Thug and the two shared the stage for one track.
Throughout the show the pyrotechnics were hot and huge, with Post even joking that it was “hot as f**k up here.” During his performance the crowd offered to help with his vocals by singing along, and he even joked, “Ya’ll know I’d sound like s**t without auto tune” which got a big laugh and huge applause. His set and the festival ended with a big splash of fireworks, with Post thanking the crowd for their energy.