Festival Review: Governor’s Ball, New York City – June 7-9, 2024

A regular weekend night in Queens’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park isn’t usually filled with too much adventure for its usual locals. But during Governer’s Ball weekend, anything can happen — including The Killers bringing a fan on stage to play the drums for “For Reasons Unknown” off their 2006 album Sam’s Town.

The Killers by Chris Phelps

The three-day scene is filled with exciting pop-ups, your favorite performers, loads of glorious food trucks, and the rare sighting of Chappell Roan in green. 

Chappell Roan by N Bradley

Govball welcomes you into their own unique transformation of the surrounding forest with a bit of sprucing. A lady liberty statue with a full tatted sleeve, surrounded by neon pink fuzzy velvet trees, playing off to the vibrancy of their sharpie pop up truck where fans can make signs pleading for their favorite songs. The transformed Queens park makes a great campground for those to roam around for instagrammable spots and make direct connections of the bar, bathroom, and stage.

Govball, much like the traveling troubadours they associate with, hasn’t had quite the soft place to land when it comes to a permanent location for a music festival. It’s no surprise to anyone that name comes from its original destination of Governor’s Island, before it moved to Randall’s Island and then Citi Field. For now, Govball works in this quaint bubble of fun where you almost forget you’re in New York, you just feel at GovBall; But the stretch from one stadium to another can be quite disorienting for someone hopped up on Red Bull slushies and Espolon Spicy Margs. 

Arcy Drive by Josh Sobel

Teeming with their ethics of staying local, some of the best parts of being at govball is seeing distinctly local and young up-and-coming acts. Long Island’s Arcy Drive made quite the impression for their distinct ‘attic rock’ style, perhaps an alternative sound to garage rock with a hint of Rex Orange County in its foundation. Jersey supernova Riovaz doesn’t need to rock the stage when what he has is pure swag and a keen love for an electronic sound.

Stephen Sanchez by Maggie Friedman

The surprisingly young Stephen Sanchez is an obvious heartthrob and an unexpected rock artist considering his tiktok resume of Dean Martin style swooning songs. With his set including a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”, it’s evident the star power the casanova can conjure and the hips of Elvis Presley very much alive in his bootcut jeans.

Qveen Herby by Maggie Friedman

Middle ground performers like Qveen Herby know the niche fan base they cater but made every second of it worth it, and perhaps some new fans along the way. Wardrobe change, Interactive mediation, astonishing lighting speed rapping and free wigs – need I say more?

Two sets were a must see and it was quite evident from the crowds pink hats and clear age range. Pop princesses Sabrina Carpenter and Chappell Roan. Perhaps some of us were too early following their careers and bitter over the 17-year-old white girls in the front row, but it’s no doubt these artists are skyrocketing their fame and exquisite artistry. Coquette darling Carpenter absolutely walking the stage like it’s her runway with a confidence not many of us can match. And Roan delighted with a grandiose entrance and a surprise unreleased song hopefully soon to come out alongside her sophomore album. 

Sabrina Carpenter by Deanie Chen

Headliners Post Malone and The Killers of course drew in mass appeal, but SZA closed Govball with a mass crowd and tight quarters. Whether you protected yourself with Supergoop’s free sunscreen and Liquid IV’s many rehydration stations, or were simply running on adrenaline, hearing SZA live didn’t fret people from standing in line since noon.

What seemingly is the east coast Coachella, Govball gives a great range and opportunity to see all your favorite artists all in the same place and same time. And in case the PR team is thinking about next year, a Taylor Swift headline opportunity would definitely shut down the park in totality and possibly sink the island.

Post Malone by Mickey Pierre-Louis