Founders Entertainment gathered 65 music artists and tens of thousands of revelers to the eighth annual Governors Ball Music Festival (commonly known as Governors Ball or Gov Ball) on Randall's Island Park in New York City on June 1-3, 2018. The major draws this year included Jack White, Travis Scott, Eminem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Halsey, Khalid, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert and Chvrches.
Once again, the festival was light on rock and top-heavy with pop, rap and EDM artists. The park featured four stages, with two usually active at any given moment. Timing was very strict, such that the moment one artist finished another artist was starting at a nearby stage. Rappers consistently drew the largest crowds, such that rock fans were able to get closer to their musicians because the rivaling pop artists drew bigger numbers. A string quartet and a brass band also circulated among the crowd away from the live stages.
Between stages, attendees purchased dozens of food and drink vendors and visited many corporate booths. New Yorkers love free, and so attendees took advantage of free caramel M&Ms, four flavors of Lays potato chips and various La Croix beverages, as well as free face painting, hair braiding, tote bags, and Governors Ball temporary tattoos. Love, Tito’s Festival Experience allowed attendees to record a time capsule video that the outfit will send to the participant in a year. Multiple murals allowed for photo opportunities and supersized Jenga, Count 4 and other games attracted competitors.
Day Two Headlines:
- Silk City, a collaboration of djs Diplo and Mark Ronson, made its debut at the festival. Diplo also djed an unannounced set to about 100 people in the CitiBank pavilion.
- Halsey told her audience that on that exact day four years ago, she had signed a record deal for a small amount of money at the top of the Empire State Building, then celebrated by attending Governors Ball. "I was standing somewhere in the back, just like you," she said.
- Before singing "Strangers," her song about same sex love, Halsey announced, "June is pride month. If you are a proud member of the LGBT community, or a proud friend of someone who is, you gotta, you gotta, dance!"
- Pusha T replaced hip-hop boy-band Brockhampton, who cancelled numerous tour dates after member Ameer Vann was removed from the group in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Pusha T steered away from his feud with Drake, but the audience did not; the audience chanted expletives about Drake three times during Push T's set.
- Mosh pits, normally the staple at punk and metal shows, developed during sets by Travis Scott, 2 Chainz and Pusha T.
- The Gaslight Anthem performed a complete, 10th anniversary play-through of the band's The '59 Sound in the rain.
- Although rain was predicted for much of the three-day event, fans on Saturday only scurried for cover during the evening-closing sets by Travis Scott and the Gaslight Anthem.