Governors Ball Music Festival Brings a Lineup for the Ages to New York’s Randall’s Island
It’s rare that one comes across a music festival on an island, let alone an island at the edge of one of the world’s great metropolises. Governors Ball Music Festival takes place on Randall’s Island in New York City and as one of the most unique music fests on the festival circuit today. Governors Ball brings the heartbeat of New York into an atmosphere of revelry with music at its center.
Governors Ball began in 2011 with a lineup featuring the likes of hip-hop greats Big Boi, newbies like Mac Miller and indie giants Empire of the Sun and Passion Pit, alongside many other equally impressive acts. The reviews were instantaneously positive leaving spectators and critics alike eager to see what the festival could conjure up in the years to come. Fast forward to 2016 and Governors Ball once again brings the heat with a lineup and festival ambiance for the ages. Headlining this summer’s event is none other than the mystery wrapped in a riddle, the self-proclaimed ‘modern-day Picasso’ himself, Kanye West. With the recent release of his latest album “Life of Pablo,” the man continues to exude enigmatic behavior . . . and he couldn’t be a more perfect headliner.
Alongside Yeezus on the main stage, rock will rule. The Strokes and The Killers share the top of the bill with alt-rockers Beck and Death Cab for Cutie close behind. Scandinavia will proudly showcase some of their best with Iceland’s own Of Monsters and Men set to share their signature folk-rock sound. On the opposite end of the music spectrum, Sweden’s Robyn will be dropping electro-pop for eager stateside dancers. L.A.’s rock queens, and siblings, HAIM will also be gracing the Governors Ball stage. It’s been three years since their breakout album “Days Are Gone” and fans are enthusiastically awaiting new music that will likely be showcased at this very event.
The Governors Ball lineup is so eclectic, so vast and goes so deep into all discerning music lovers’ playlists that the entire roster is worth mentioning, though for the sake of brevity, here are some highlights; Thundercat, M83, De La Soul, Chet Faker, Chvrches, Father John Misty, Jamie XX, Miguel, Big Grams, Gary Clark Jr., Bloc Party, Joey Bada$$, Eagles of Death Metal, Courtney Barnett, Cold War Kids, The Knocks, Vic Mensa, Miike Snow and Matt and Kim.
Given that the city which holds this annual event is so ripe with options for eating, drinking and sleeping, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create a go-to-guide for those of you planning an ambitious Governors Ball weekend.
Randall’s Island Park is located in the center of New York between Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens so finding a food joint will be a non-issue. For a one-stop-shop situation, look no further than the Plaza Food Hall. The name really says it all as this culinary court houses everything from sushi and noodles to lobster and desserts. The NoMad Bar is another option for modern eating. Located in the NoMad Hotel, the bar offers diners a chance to experience a taste of the famous Michelin-star NoMad restaurant in a more casual atmosphere. Cask Bar and Kitchen, on the other hand, take bar food to a whole new level. With a full menu until 11 p.m., a late-night menu until 2 a.m. and cocktails until 4, this is the perfect spot for post-festival eats.
Looking for libations? Manhattan’s Skylark offers a location fit for a true urbanite. Thirty stories high in the heart of Times Square, file Skylark under classic yet contemporary with upscale flavors served by true mixologists. For a taste of old New York, head to The Rum House in Times Square. It’s the perfect place to wind down, listen to some jazz and sip on a dark and stormy. Just across the street from the aforementioned Cask Bar find Middle Branch, a sophisticated Murray Hill joint serving one of the best Manhattans in the city.
When it comes time to lay your head in NYC, look no further than midtown’s Hudson Hotel. This contemporary classic respite invites urban adventurers to witness “daredevil design” in a social atmosphere. The lobby houses numerous bars including Hudson Common, Private Park, Library Bar and their newest addition to the family, Hudson Bar. For art and architecture lovers, The William has what you crave. Located in the heart of downtown, The William features specially curated, design-centric décor as well as a plethora of bars including Raines Law Room, The William and The Shakespeare. Lastly, Royalton in midtown is the self-proclaimed “stylish living room of Manhattan.” As a boutique hotel with designs fit for sophisticated international travelers, The Royalton features hand-upholstered leather throughout and a bronze fireplace for an extra touch of class. Also featured is the hotel’s popular Forty Four bar and restaurant where New York’s fashion elite often convene.
Suffice it to say, Governors Ball picked quite a city for which to plant its roots. Whenever one gets a chance to pair the party atmosphere of a music festival with a high caliber city such as New York, well, what more could you want?