I didn’t expect to encounter Frank Sinatra at the Governors Ball Music Festival (as he’s no longer alive), but he was there alright, blasting from the speakers as he closed out the festival’s last day and Vampire Weekend’s set with “New York, New York.” This classic number, which fully embraces the spirit of the city, was an entirely appropriate closing track to a festival that hosted so many storied and upcoming acts from New York that you couldn’t help but feel swept up in its exuberance.

It was also a festival that, two weeks earlier, I had no idea I’d be covering. I learned of the fest a few months prior when we were in the midst of Outkast’s 40-festival announcement, and Governors Ball just happened to be directly on their radar. Considering the fact that the “festival bug” was still well in my bloodstream from last year, I was eager to discover a new festival in a new city, and while I had been to New York three times prior (a few years ago I crossed “Celebrate New Year’s Eve In Times Square” off my bucket list, among other things), the thought of returning for an entirely new and refreshing reason had an allure I couldn’t deny. Simply put: I love New York (don’t be hating).

All photos by David Fisch

While just the thought of New York brings images of pizza and Katz’s delicatessen to my mind, let me not get ahead of myself. The Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island is the reason I was there, and I’m here to tell you that, yes, Outkast was awesome, but seeing Big Boi and Andre 3000 back together again and performing up and down their discography wasn’t what initially drew my attention to the festival.

After all, Outkast had performed only miles from LA at Coachella not too long ago. Why would I have travelled the 2,700 miles to see just them? (Let me reiterate for you naysayers: Outkast was awesome). Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Disclosure, Grimes, and Earl Sweatshirt were amongst the many artists I had placed on my schedule to see, and I did catch a few of them and more.


I was gratefully joined for my Governors Ball adventure by fellow LAmber and New York transplant Christine Perez, who agreed to join me in compiling a list of “Best Of’s” summarizing our thoughts and opinions on one huge weekend of music. Read on to find out about our favorite acts, best moments, and our good times at this, our first Governors Ball Music Festival in NYC (and most certainly not our last). Hope you enjoy!

Up First: Set With The Best Drummer