This History and Evolution of The Governors Ball Music Festival

Governors Ball NYC

You might not think of something that originated in 2011 as being worthy of looking at from a historical standpoint, but given that it’s getting close to a decade since the Governors Ball Music Festival started up it might bear looking into just to see how things got going. At the start it was a one-day festival that kind of came and went but after a while it did manage to evolve into a festival that became kind of a big deal. Held in New York City, this festival has been known for providing a very diverse lineup that brings in some big artists each year. The first festival saw artists such as Mac Miller, Empire of the Sun, and several others that were noted during that time. In 2012 it hosted Kid Cudi and Major Lazer just to name a couple. Each year until recently it shared Randall’s island with a couple of other events, but after being purchased by Live Nation things changed just a bit.

3rd Year was a Turning Point

It wasn’t really until the third year that the festival showed NYC that it was there to stay as it continued to receive positive reviews and a healthy turnout that indicated the fact that people were enjoying themselves. In fact following that realization the festival would eventually extend from one day to three in 2013. Artists such as Nas, Guns N’ Roses, and Kanye West were added to the bill, and the people kept coming in to see their favorite artists perform. In that same year though when things changed and people were voicing their approval there was a heavy rain and thunder storm that actually cancelled one performance and created a veritable mud pit on the ground. Despite all this however the show went on and the festival closed out on Sunday as is usual.

Big Names Show Up

The major names kept coming the year after and following years as people took the time and consideration to plan for weather from this time on and the performers would not cancel due to inclement weather as they too took precautions. Trey Zenker of Tidal has made it known that this festival has at this time made itself known in the same way as some of the greats such as Coachella and Lollapalooza given that it’s become something of a hit and is a festival that many people are willing to do almost anything to obtain tickets to. The big names, activities, and general good time that is had by all in attendance has made this festival into something that people have come to believe is one of the greatest festivals ever created. How long it will last is anyone’s guess since at this point it would seem that it’s only picking up speed and isn’t bound to go away anytime soon. The draw of a music festival after all is that people will go because they want to listen to good music and have fun in a calm and controlled environment. Okay, so calm and control isn’t always the way things are conducted, but it’s a lot of fun all the same and people get into these festivals since they’re another escape from life in a fun and engaging manner that allows them to cut loose and just enjoy their time and the acts they paid to see.

It’s Here to Stay

Karen Olafson of West Jet Magazine paints a very descriptive picture in her article of how and why the festival came to be and why it was important for it to be in New York. One might think that New Yorkers have more than enough when it comes to entertainment, but music festivals are different than Broadway or tourist traps that are usually avoided by locals. Festivals such as this tend to be social events that strip away the need to see each other as this or that or ascribe class or status to one person or another. It’s a time when you pay the money for your ticket and go in to have fun and listen to good music along with everyone else. There’s an inclusive feel at festivals that makes it unnecessary to worry over whether you get front row or have to sit in the way back. It’s the experience that a lot of people long for and the ability to say “I was there” that some folks truly prize. Though it’s a lot of work and a lot of money to really get something like this organized it’s also worth it since it brings a lot of people a great deal of joy that’s hard to deny is important to both those that travel to experience this sensation and those that live close enough that it’s easy to get to. A festival such as this is where you go to have fun as a group, and where everything else ceases to matter while the performers are on stage.


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