Another year passes and another Governors Ball flies by. This year was marked with legendary bands, fantastic emerging artists and others that I hadn’t heard of before, but now know well. With Chance the Rapper, Phoenix, Air, Lorde, Wiz Khalifa and the all-powerful and militant Tool, the 2017 Ball was set to be an amazing weekend. The lines were surprisingly quick and easy, probably the easiest and fastest festival check-in experience I’ve ever had. The wristband technology was also pretty efficient—a bonus was being able to attach your credit card to the wristband, and use it to not only pay for food and drinks, but also access different areas of the festival.
People packed in early each day to max out on sunshine. The weekend held up, bringing ideal weather and positive vibes. I noticed younger (teens, early 20s) crowds at most of the EDM and Hip Hop acts. As a 31-year-old elder, I was asked one too many times to buy drinks for the underage crowd. I gladly declined and went on my way. I have to admit, I was amused watching their faces quickly turn from eager to disappointed, but I knew deep down inside that they’d find a way somehow, just not from me.
Friday was funky, soul-filled, and danceable, and I got my feet moving. I started off my day entranced by the smooth, soul stylings of Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires. With blues, soul, funk, and an elderly man swinging his microphone stand around like he was stabbing all the bad feelings anyone ever felt, I couldn’t help but stay for his whole set. He is currently on tour now—if you’re able to catch him, you should— or you can check out some of his soulful wailing on Bandcamp.
Charli XCX blew me away with how much energy she brought to the stage. Jumping around like she was conducting a Zumba class, she got the entire crowd dancing. I also hadn’t realized how amazingly attractive she was. Hello Charli, you just got a new fan! Let me know if you need some photos next time you’re in NYC. After her, I caught Danny Brown tearing down the Bacardi Tent. Wearing what looked like a sweater that some hungry NYC rats might have feasted on while he was sleeping, he kept the audience on their toes. Throughout the day, being on my own, I conversed with people trying to figure out who everyone was there to see. It turned out Flume was the hot and heavy act that all the youngins’ were dying to see. EDM ain’t my jam but it gets the kids moving and that my friend, is a beautiful thing. The Honda Stage was set with a big drape, and when Flume came out the drape dropped, and arms instantly went flying. I didn’t plan on fighting my way through the screaming girls to grab some shots, but from a distance my Flume cherry was popped. The night wrapped up with a powerful performance from Lorde, and show stopper Chance the Rapper who literally had everyone singing along with him.
The rest of the weekend held up the same, with a solid lineup and mostly good weather. Sunday got a little bleak with a bit of drizzle, but the Bacardi Tent provided shelter along with some tasty alcoholic beverages. Sunday finished up with the artistic metal jams that make up epic rockers Tool. The band hadn’t headlined NYC in more than a decade, and they curated an amazing setlist that seemed tailor-made for their longing fans. Their stage backdrop featured artwork trippy enough to make you feel like you actually could be on something. Maynard was dressed in military-style wear and spoke about the fact that ignorance is our biggest enemy right now; and he couldn’t have been more precise. It was refreshing to hear someone with a powerful and influencing voice tell people they just need to wake the f’ up.
The weekend went out with a perfect bang, and I caught the bus back to Williamsburg without a hitch. After such a successful weekend, I’d be excited to go back again. Thanks Governors Ball and Greenpointers. See you next time.