Governors Ball preview: 9 essential artists to see over the weekend

Beginning in the summer of 2011, the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City has featured a wide array of artists from musical genres including indie rock, hip-hop, electronic, pop, and more.

This weekend, June 10-12, headliners Kid Cudi, Halsey, and J. Cole along with 60+ other artists will take to Citi Field to perform in front of upwards of 100,000 festivalgoers. Here are three sets from each day that you will not want to miss.  

Friday, June 10

Paris Texas (Bacardí)

The Los Angeles-based hip-hop duo released their debut project Boy Anonymous in May of last year and followed it up with the forward-thinking EP Red Hand Akimbo. The group stands at the intersection of punk and hip-hop, rapping over noisy guitar riffs on songs like “Heavy Metal”. They have spent this past year opening for other alternative acts like clipping. and Death Grips as well as honing their wild visual style into surreal music videos. 


As one of the most unique voices in the experimental hip-hop scene, rapper JPEGMAFIA incorporates rap, noise, and pop culture references to make music for the Internet age. His left-field sense of humor balances well with his enraged commentary on issues ranging from the music industry to institutional racism. Peggy combines flawless production, samples ranging from Gangsta Boo to Britney Spears, and irresistible flows in what will surely be a frenetic live performance. 

Black Pumas (GovBallNYC)

Ever since the release of the Black Pumas’ debut album, the Austin-based psychedelic soul band has received critical acclaim, including consecutive Grammy Award nominations in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The group’s lead single “Colors” takes inspiration from early ‘70s soul and celebrates ideas of diversity and unity. When playing live, lead vocalist Eric Burton’s smooth singing seamlessly complements Adrian Quesada’s guitar in an intimate performance that will get you swaying to the beat. 

Saturday, June 11

Dehd (Gopuff)

Just off their breakthrough release Flower of Devotion, the surf-punk trio’s latest album Blue Skies is a lively and bright record that will surely play well live in the summer heat. While most post-punk acts tend to go into dark and foreboding directions, Dehd leans in the opposite direction towards sunny melodies and carefree hooks. With lighthearted songs like “Bop” and “Clear”, the band will be a definite crowd-pleaser to start off the day. 

Denzel Curry (Bacardí)

Known for his hard-hitting trap deliveries in singles like “ULT” and “CLOUT COBAIN”, Denzel Curry took an artistic shift this year towards a more personal direction on Melt My Eyez See Your Future. His new songs incorporate jazz and soul influences that inspire contemplation, and his vulnerability reaches a level of intimacy that he never achieved in his previous work. However, Curry is sure to include his previous hits to balance out his live set and keep the rowdy atmosphere going through the night. 

Ashnikko (Bacardí)

Ashnikko has cleverly defined her own musical lane by blending bubblegum pop hooks, trap beats, and pop punk angst with a braggadocious attitude. Singles “Daisy” and “Slumber Party” are sexually explicit, empowering anthems that exemplify this confident personality. Her signature blue hair and attention to costuming makes her a true visual performer as well. This performance will certainly be a party that you will not want to miss. 

Sunday, June 12

Soccer Mommy (Bacardí)

Although the indie pop singer-songwriter is relatively young in her career, Soccer Mommy has already come out with two studio albums with a third, entitled Sometimes, Forever, scheduled to be released a mere two weeks after the festival. The album suggests an evolution of Soccer Mommy’s sound with Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never fame on as producer. It will be interesting to see how she balances her 90s and ‘00s nostalgia with new songs like “Unholy Affliction” that use elements of electronic and ambient. 

100 Gecs (Bacardí)

Performing live in their trademark wizard robes, this is a band that knows no other way but pure maximalism. The duo burst onto the main stage of the hyperpop scene with the single “Money Machine” and haven’t looked back since. Although Governors Ball comes before the release of their second LP 10000 gecs, the band has played several yet-to-be released songs live. Their second single “Doritos & Fritos” sees Dylan Brady and Laura Les dabble in alternative rock and hints at possible new sounds in the future. If you’re going to the festival for a loud, deranged time, 100 Gecs is the band to see. 

Japanese Breakfast (Bacardí)

Japanese Breakfast’s Jubilee was a breakthrough album for the band, garnering 2 Grammy nominations and a recent live performance on SNL. This project sees band leader Michelle Zauner infuse joy into her music after experiencing much of the tragedy documented in her memoir, Crying in H Mart. This culminated into more pop-oriented tracks featuring warm melodies and sentimental lyrics. With these songs in the band’s arsenal, their set will be perfect for the summer weather. Be sure to watch out for the gong that Zauner enthusiastically plays during “Paprika”. 

Both three-day and one-day tickets for Governors Ball are still available here.