Music

Governors Ball Day Two Packs Artists Across Genres From Kacey Musgraves To Major Lazer

Emily Rosca | The PhoenixZhu performed a set at Governors Ball’s Bacardi stage Saturday, June 1.

Governors Ball festival-goers made it halfway through the weekend chock-full of performances from established top-tier and fresh up-and-coming artists without ceasing dancing late into the night. By Saturday, three-day fest-goers learned the lay of the land, the muddy grounds became less so and music fueled most people’s days.

Day two kicked off pride month and brought performances from headlining artist Florence and the Machine, Clairo, Lord Huron, Vince Staples, Zhu, Playboi Carti and Ty Dolla $ign, among others. Governors Ball celebrated pride month with a parade, drag queen shows and many performing artists supported the community with rainbow accessories and flags.

Governors Ball has become known for its impressive lineup of food from some of the most well-known places in New York including Melt Shop, Doughnuttery, Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, The Bao Shop and Ramen Burger. When people aren’t dancing at a concert, they’re sitting in the grass enjoying some food and drink or taking photos with friends at one of the many Instagram-friendly locations on the grounds.

As weather often plays a large role in the success of a day at a music festival, skies remained clear Saturday, allowing fest-goers to see their favorite artists without the worry of getting drenched from the rain.


Kacey Musgraves, Gov Ball NYC stage

4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Fresh off touring in Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan, country-pop singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves landed in New York City for Governors Ball and had a crowd of country and non-country fans “yee-hawing” with her for an hour.

The Grammy-winning artist, wearing a red and white floral two-piece jumpsuit and heels, switched off between singing and playing her guitar, performing songs including “Rainbow,” “Butterflies,” “Lonely Weekend” and “Oh, What A World,” during which inflatable Earth-like balls were released into the crowd.

Showing love to her family — blood and touring — Musgraves introduced her band, all of whom wore burnt orange jumpsuits with matching Vans, and told her audience what state they were all from. She went on to give a heartfelt performance of “Family Is Family,” a single from her 2015 album “Pageant Material.”

Preparing to close out her set, Musgraves took off her heels and sang fan-favorite “High Horse,” which had audiences dancing and singing the lyrics. While crowds flowed far back from the stage, Gov Ball NYC stage wasn’t tightly packed, leaving much-needed breathing and dancing room for Musgraves’ high-energy set.

King Princess, Bacardi stage

5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.

King Princess — the stage name of 20-year-old artist Mikaela Straus — made her way on-stage at Bacardi promptly at 6:45 p.m. and greeted her audience, comprised of many loving fans who shouted their adoration. The artist celebrated pride month with her audience and cheered, unifying herself with the LGBTQ community.

Having “grown up all over Randall’s Island,” the singer-songwriter expressed her gratitude for playing Governors Ball, which she called her “childhood festival.”

Sporting a New York Yankees-turned-King-Princess jersey and white cargo pants, King Princess traversed the stage and climbed the yellow couch on-set for the duration of her hour-long show. The artist performed songs from “Upper West Side” to her latest single, “Cheap Queen,” released Friday.

The 1975, Gov Ball NYC stage

6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The northeast end of Randall’s Island transformed into a dance party as beloved British boy band The 1975 stepped out on the Gov Ball NYC stage and performed for a crowd of ready-to-dance music lovers.

The band — comprised of lead vocalist Matt Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald and drummer George Daniel — emerged in black suits and ties as they have in previous shows. Healy rocked red converse with his pinstripe suit, and the group kicked off their show with “The 1975,” the opening track of their latest album, “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” (2018).

The band ebbed and flowed from album to album, indulging audiences in hits across “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” (2016), “The 1975” (2013) and their newest album. Audiences sang the majority of lyrics from songs including “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” “I Like America & America Likes Me,” “She’s American,” “Somebody Else” and “Robbers.”

Zhu, Bacardi stage

8 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

For the first few months of his career back in 2014, Stephen Zhu — known simply as “Zhu” — remained anonymous, wanting to be judged only by his music. His albums have since received critical acclaim, and one fan deep in the pit for Zhu’s Governors Ball performance called him the best electronic artist of the century.

Elevated on-stage with his laptop and soundboard, Zhu emerged wearing a coat covered in festival wristbands. In an initiation-manner, Zhu stepped off his platform to come closer to his audience. Taking his Governors Ball wristband off his hand, he said he knew it would be a good show and tied the band to his coat.

Electronic music might be the most ideal situation to rave and form mosh pits, and Zhu’s audience did just that for an hour and 15 minutes. The crowd went wild to some of the artist’s well-known songs such as “Still Want U” and “Guilty Love,” as well as songs he remixed from artists including Queen.

Surprising his crowd, Zhu brought out a live band for his set — a saxophonist and guitarist. They didn’t interact much with his audience, allowing their attention to be focused solely on the music at hand. Both the saxophonist and guitarist took turns performing solos, complementing the electronic music and riling up the crowd.  

Major Lazer, Honda stage

9:45 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Some Governors Ball’s attendees might have felt torn between Florence and the Machine and Major Lazer’s two synchronous sets. Florence’s set started at 9:15 p.m., so those indecisive fest-goers were able to hit up both her set at Major Lazer’s, which began at 9:45 p.m. at the Honda stage.

Encouraging the crowd to put their hands up throughout this whole set, people standing close to the stage to everyone gathered far back obeyed, putting their hands up and dancing with their friends. The electronic trio — headed by record producer Diplo and disc jockeys Ape Drums and Walshy Fire — played hits and remixed songs, which by the end of the night began to bleed into one another.

Halfway through the show, Major Lazer brought out a special guest performance: MØ. The Danish singer-songwriter performed a set at Governors Ball the previous day and made an appearance to sing “Lean On,” her 2015 collaboration with Major Lazer.

This final show at the Honda stage Saturday brought not only tunes for the ears but a light show to accompany it. The Honda stage was crafted with the New York skyline, and it was brought to life late into the night as Governors Ball danced the night away.

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