Thousands will flock to Randall’s Island in New York City June 3-5 for the Governors Ball Music Festival. The festival was launched in 2011 and it has grown into one of the premier music events in North America, right up there with the likes of Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. The lineups of past Gov Balls have been stellar and this year is no different. With the Strokes, the Killers and Kanye West headlining this year’s festival, Gov Ball 2016 is the perfect way to kick off the summer.
Aside from the main headliners, the Gov Ball lineup is riddled with household names on the music scene. Let’s take a look at some of these acts on each day of the festival.
Friday’s acts on the main stage, the Gov Ball NYC Stage, Of Monsters and Men, Beck and the Strokes will be playing for the masses. Who knows if Of Monsters and Men’s folky, Icelandic indie music will translate well to such a large stage but I know that the Strokes will surely bring down the house. One of the can’t-miss acts on Friday is Jamie xx on the Bacardi House Stage. After his debut album “In Colour” debuted last summer, Jamie xx has become one of the most in-demand DJs in the world. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to jive during his set. The Big Apple Stage plays host to two great acts: Bully and Father John Misty. Bully might not be on your radar but they should be soon. They released “Feels Like” in 2015 and have risen to the top of the alt-punk rock scene. Check out “Trying,” one of the best songs of last year. Father John Misty put on some of the most entertaining sets of last year’s summer festival circuit and it’ll be interesting if he ups the ante on Randall’s Island June 3.
Saturday’s lineup has a few more niche artists than the other two days of the festival. The main stage is home to great acts like Catfish and the Bottlemen, Lord Huron, Haim and the Killers. Bassist-extraordinaire Thundercat will be playing on the Bacardi House Stage. Check out his grooves which influenced Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” last year. Don’t sleep on the Strokes’ guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s solo act. His latest album, “Momentary Masters,” was one of the most underrated albums of last year. Finally, M83 released their seventh studio album “Junk” back in April. They are playing at the same time as the Killers which is going to make it a difficult choice!
Sunday’s lineup is the crown of the entire festival. If you can make it out to one day of the festival weekend, make it June 5. Cold War Kids, Chvrches, Two Door Cinema Club and Kanye West will be on the Gov Ball NYC Stage. All respect to Kanye but I thought Two Door Cinema Club disappeared forever so it will be great to see them back in action. For rap fans, Vince Staples and Joey Badass will be on the Honda Stage. Death Cab for Cutie will be on that stage too but they are playing at the same time as Kanye, which might leave them with a small, intimate crowd! Please for the love of god, don’t miss Courtney Barnett on the Big Apple Stage Sunday afternoon. The Australian garage-rocker puts on one of the best rock n’ roll acts you’ll ever see and her album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit,” was among the best last year.
Governors Ball is a great time if you don’t mind mingling with the masses and finding somewhere to stay in the Big Apple. For those of us on the East Coast who don’t want to venture out to California or Tennessee for other festivals, look no further — Randall’s Island beckons.