I made the trek to Randall’s Island last Friday for New York City’s Governors Ball, a raucous three-day music festival featuring big-name acts like Drake, My Morning Jacket, and the Black Keys.
Held in early June, the festival marks the beginning of a boozy, drug-addled summer for lots of the city’s 20-somethings.
The year’s festival didn’t disappoint.
I tried to hold my own with New York’s wildest partiers, but I’ll be honest: I couldn’t keep pace.
Then came the 15-minute walk to Randall's Island, where the festival was held. There was a huge crowd walking with us.
Just about everyone walking to the festival was finishing their drinks on the way over. Empty beer cans and fifths of liquor littered the bridge.
Before we could make our way inside, we had to pick up press passes. The will-call line looked awful. There were some unhappy people eager to get past the line to the music.
Luckily for us, the line for press passes moved quickly. This guy was hanging out in a piñata costume on the line.
When we got in, we saw a huge area of hammocks. It looked inviting, but we weren't ready to relax just yet.
Lots of people took advantage of the ample opportunities for photos. There were a lot of spots to get a good shot of you and your friends for your Instagram feed.
We found the map. The first band we were trying to see was electro-funk duo Chromeo, who were supposed to play on the main stage.
Bars were everywhere, but the prices weren't cheap. No wonder so many people were tipping back water bottles of vodka on the way over.
And Camelbak had a free water refill station, so long as you were savvy enough to bring a water bottle. I didn't. At least it wasn't that hot out.
The hippy spirit was alive and well at Governors Ball. Tons of people had these flower crowns on their head.
Tons of people were out picnicking. The ground was a little wet from rain earlier in the day, but it didn't seem to bother anyone.
PayPal had a few tents set up to make the festival experience easier. There were lockers and phone chargers, as well as an integration with GrubHub that allowed festivalgoers to order food from vendors and have it delivered to the PayPal tent.
We ordered a few. The prices sure beat those at the bar stands outside! The selection did too -- Don Julio was serving up a variety of tequila cocktails.
After taking advantage of the open bar, it was time for music. Chromeo was on the stage. Ezra Koenig, the singer of Vampire Weekend, even sat in for a song.
The VIP area, in back, looked like it had a nice view, but being in the crowd was definitely more fun. Everyone was dancing. Chromeo isn't the kind of band you can just stand still and listen to.
And then a trip to see folk-rock band the Decemberists. Ah, the perils of being short -- there's always someone blocking your view.
I moved to see if I could find a better view near the cameramen. Also, the free drinks were starting to kick in, and I needed something to lean against.
After, we headed to see indie darling St. Vincent, the stage name of singer Annie Clark. I had never heard her before, but everyone -- from my festival companions to the Governors Ball staff at Will Call -- told me that she was the act not to be missed. She had quite a setup.
The last acts of the night were Drake and My Morning Jacket. While I'm not a Drake hater, I almost always opt for rock acts at festivals. My Morning Jacket put on an amazing show. Every song sounded like an encore.
The performance lasted two hours. They killed it, even if by the end I had a pounding headache -- thanks, sugary cocktails! -- and my body was exhausted from standing the whole time.
Then came the most dreaded part of the evening -- going home. The scene that most came to mind was the evacuation scene during any zombie/apocalypse/disaster movie -- think 'Cloverfield,' 'Deep Impact,' and 'World War Z.'
I didn't know there was such a thing as traffic gridlock with people, and we were at a near standstill for a while. By the time I finished the hour-and-a-half trip back to Brooklyn, I knew there was no way I was making it back to the festival the next day. Oh well -- the night was a blast!
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