Governors Ball is an annual summer music festival that is held on Randall’s Island in New York City. The festival, which first occurred in 2011, is attended by approximately 150,000 people aged 12 and older each year.
Artist lineups in the past couple of years have boasted popular mainstream artists, such as Travis Scott, Halsey, Khalid, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, and Lil Uzi, who were headliners last year.
“Last year’s Gov Ball lineup was one of the best, in my opinion. A lot of good artists were there that I [had] been listening to for a while,” Amanda Veseli (’19) said.
This year’s lineup, on the other hand, has been getting a lot of hate from previous festival-goers since it was released on January 7, 2019 on Gov Ball’s Instagram page. This year, they picked artists that would not be expected based on former performers. Instead of going mainstream, the lineup is considered indie.
The lineup got instant backlash from users, with the majority of people complaining that the artists that were selected were not “relevant enough.” The post announcing the lineup has close to 5,000 comments, many of which are negative.
“I haven’t decided if I will attend this year’s Gov Ball because I don’t really listen to that kind of music,” Nina Bakuradze (’19) said.
Some of the artists playing at this year’s Gov Ball are Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne, Brockhampton, The 1975, Florence+the Machine, Calpurnia, and Sza. Although the festival will be featuring a diverse group of musicians, the lineup is made up of many bands and artists who are not as well known as last year’s headliners.
“I don’t see it as a negative thing. I like the fact that they incorporated different genres within the 2019 lineup,” Guerdie Sajous (’19) said.
This change is nothing new, as the lineups at Gov Ball used to be more indie. For example, the lineup in 2012 was headed by Beck, Fiona Apple, and Cage the Elephant, among others. However, this is the first time the lineup has been headed by more indie artists since Gov Ball introduced more “mainstream” music to their lineup.
Adding a variety of different artists and genres to this year’s lineup was a smart move, as the festival has piqued the interest of a different audience, which means more people with different tastes will take interest in this year’s festival. Despite the backlash, there are people who are happy with this year’s selection, because they finally get to enjoy a festival where the music being played is the genre they like.
Although some people are excited to see a change in genre for this year’s Gov Ball, many are not. The audience that has attended Gov Ball in the past couple of years tend to listen to the mainstream artists that have played in the past, and they were anticipating more of what they have seen before. For many, the Gov Ball they once loved is gone.