Riley Coyne ’24
The Governors Ball is back and better than ever for its 10th anniversary. In previous years, the three-day music festival took place on Randall’s Island in New York. However, this year, it was held at Citi Field. Despite fans’ excitement to see their idols perform live, they could not help but wonder: why the change of venue?
It seems as if the organizers knew that there would be questions regarding their decision to change the location when they decided to make the switch. The GovBallNYC YouTube channel posted a video titled “New Venue, New Experience” to explain why Citi Field would make for a great live music experience. Organizers also published a lighthearted statement on their website: “Besides, you’re not a real New Yorker if you haven’t moved a couple times ammiright?”
Despite the jokes, one of the major reasons for the location switch-up is because Citi Field is much more accessible via public transportation. The subway and Long Island Railroad stop right outside of the stadium, and it is only a 14-minute ride from Penn Station. When the festival was held at Randall’s Island, the only way to get there was by ferry, car, or bus. Public transportation makes it much easier if there are any emergencies or weather complications, like that of 2019, when unexpected thunderstorms led to an immediate evacuation of Gov Ball and festival-goers scrambled to find a way to get home.
One of the most notable changes in the festival in its new location is that the stages were set up in a 360-degree layout to prevent sound bleeds from occurring. Attendees also had to show either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to be admitted into the venue. Organizers certainly took safety protocol very seriously this year, especially after having to cancel the event last year due to the pandemic, to make sure everyone could have an enjoyable and safe experience.
Despite the change of venue, the 2021 Gov Ball experience was just as much of a hit as the event has been in past years. The iconic New York festival encompasses music, art, and food all in one.
The art itself at Gov Ball is enough to motivate people to purchase tickets. The colorful signs, décor, and even the outfits were totally Instagram-worthy.
Gov Ball is also well-known for the delicacies that the food and beverage vendors have to offer. Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, Big Mozz, and Sweet Chick are just a few of the delicious options to choose from at the festival.
These are all part of the experience of Gov Ball, but most attendees come to see live performances from their favorite artists. This year’s headliners included Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and many other talented artists.
Notably, well-known rapper DaBaby was supposed to perform but was dropped from his record label for making homophobic comments about HIV and AIDS on his Twitter account. As a result, he was removed from the Gov Ball lineup as well as that of Lollapalooza, another major music festival.
While fans of DaBaby were certainly disappointed, those of A$AP Rocky and Rihanna likely felt the complete opposite. Rumors of the pair dating have been swirling around the media for quite some time now. Their relationship was officially confirmed, however, when he referred to her as “the love of my life,” in a recent interview with GQ. To the delight of many Gov Ball attendees, sources speculate that Rihanna was present at the festival when A$AP Rocky winked at someone backstage during his performance of his song “L$D.”
One of the most memorable moments of the festival was when 24kGoldn came out onto the stage and performed his hit single “Mood” featuring Iann Dior.
It was one of the final guests at the Friday night section of the festival, Billie Eilish, who gave the most memorable performance. Eilish recently released a new album, Happier Than Ever, and fans were eager to see some of the new songs live for the first time. When she sang the title track of the album, the audience screamed along with her on the iconic lyrics, “Cuz I’d never treat me this s****y / You made me hate this city.” Eilish’s powerful show, as well as the amazing performances from her fellow musical artists, made the 2021 Gov Ball one to remember.