Live Music Music & Culture

The Governors Ball Music Festival 2021: The Comeback

New year, new lineup, new restrictions and even in a new location, The Governors Ball Music Festival was finally able to make its comeback. To say this past year and half has been a rough one would be an understatement. Luckily, thanks to science, live shows have disappeared from our screens and we’ve actually been able to attend them again, of course, with restrictions. Gov Ball was supposed to celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2020, but to play it safe, they postponed it to fall 2021.

For the big double digit anniversary, the NYC fest moved locations to another NYC landmark – Citi Field. While fans and artists weren’t on the field mingling with the likes of Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom, the one and only Mr. Met was in attendance throughout the weekend!

To ensure Mr. Met and all festival attendees would be safe from COVID-19 and all of the variants, they were adamant about everyone needing to be fully vaccinated or test negative within 72 hours of attending.

A new location means a new festival setup. With being in the flexibility of the baseball stadium’s parking lot, the festival was able to create a 360 layout that fans could easily walk 5-7 minutes to their next destination.

Gov Ball went ALL OUT with some of the biggest names in Top 40 and Alt right now. From Billie Eilish to Phoebe Bridgers to Post Malone and Tate McRae, the festival outdid themselves for the anniversary.

Billie Eilish

This year was all about the powerful women in music. Billie Eilish, who is the festival’s youngest headliner, has performed at the festival in the past but she made her triumphant main stage return with an insane amount of fans screaming along to hits from her latest album, Happier Than Ever, and some older tracks like “ocean eyes.”

MUNA brought out Phoebe Bridgers, who also performed later in the day Saturday, to perform their latest single together, “Silk Chiffon.” Watching that live was strictly for the girls, the gays and the theys. Both artists had massive crowds and should have been on the GOVBALLNYC main stage. Maybe next year!

MUNA featuring Phoebe Bridgers

Another highlight was seeing New York-native Princess Nokia storming the stage on the final day of the festival. Despite having an early set time, she made the most of it by dancing around and pumping up the New Yorkers for the rest of the day.

Megan Thee Stallion

Though, we need to note that Megan Thee Stallion deserved to be a headliner this past weekend. Meg’s fanbase, the “hotties,” prepared themselves early by storming Bleachers‘ crowd at the GOVBALLNYC stage, while Jack Antonoff was still performing in order to secure a spot for their Hot Girl Coach’s arrival around golden hour. To have someone with that much power, stage presence and talent perform so early in the day is a bit unsettling but she by far had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, crowd of the entire weekend. Here’s to hoping Gov Ball can take note for the future.

Since the last festival, TikTok has become a major part of the music industry. Due to TikTok’s success, a ton of artists have blown up in the past year and half. Artists like Tate McRae and 24kGoldn can thank TikTok for helping their massive careers. Fans got to hear hits like “you broke me first” and “Mood” live for the very first time!

BABE

Music aside, which we know is why we all go to Governors Ball, there were plenty of activations, art and food to explore throughout the entire weekend. One of our favorite activations were brought to Queens by BABE. BABE brought a Hamptons-esque vibe to the festival by bringing their wine, a ton of free merchandise and prizes, as well as fun photo opportunities. The pink 90s glam aesthetic was a personal favorite.

BACARDÍ

Another great activation was BACARDÍ‘s CASA BARCARDÍ. Directly across from their namesake stage, the famous rum brand hosted their very own 21+ party, providing fans with countless tropical drink options, bracelet making and games. Think mini block party meets fiesta meets festival vibes all in one little section of the festival.

To accompany the various alcohol choices, we were well fed throughout the weekend. As promised, we dug into Friterie and Marty’s V Burger, amongst other options like coconut ice pops from The Better Pop and falafel from Stuffed Pita.

 

Post Malone

After the past year and a half, we all needed this festival. The fans, the artists, the vendors and crew all needed this festival. Artists seemed so thrilled to be back doing what they love. Our favorite part of the weekend was definitely the end of it. Seeing Post Malone close out the festival, after playing the middle of the day a few years back was heartwarming. Throughout his set, you could see and hear how genuinely happy he was to be back on stage in NYC. Before ending his set with his 11-time Multi-Platinum hit, “Congratulations,” Malone started it off by stating, “I know it’s been a hard f*cking year and a half, but I want to say, congratu-f*cking-lations to each and every single one of you.” Instant literal and emotional fireworks exploded throughout Citi Field.

See you in June 2022, Gov Ball.

All Photos: Sarah Waxberg

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