The Belles of Governors Ball: 6 artists worth showing up early for
After several failures over the past decade, the conventional wisdom was that big music festivals just didn’t work in New York. In the last few years that started to change, and Randall’s Island is now host to two of them — the electronic-focused Electric Zoo and this weekend’s Governors Ball, which includes rock, folk, R&B, hip-hop and dance music. The headliners of the three-day festival are Kings of Leon, Guns N’ Roses and Kanye West. Here’s a look at some lesser-known artists worth showing up early for.
Of Monsters and Men
An Icelandic folk-rock band, Of Monsters and Men has earned comparisons to Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire for its anthemic choruses and huge sound that features trumpet, accordion and glockenspiel alongside acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies.
Despite being just two people, Beach House makes dreamy, cinematic songs that contain big emotions and are tailor-made for twilight on a warm summer night.
Japandroids are known for high-energy shows, complete with mosh pits and shout-along choruses. The duo nearly broke up after years of struggling, so its excitement over finally finding an audience is contagious.
An indie-rock supergroup, Divine Fits includes members of Spoon, Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks. The mixture adds up to songs that incorporate ’80s synth pop, classic rock and post-punk.
Deerhunter pulls off the rare feat of sounding both classic and modern. The band’s new album, “Monomania,” is noisier than some of its recent work, but doesn’t sacrifice the group’s gift for melody.
The three sisters in Haim take a little bit from each of the last four decades of music. There are elements of Fleetwood Mac’s California soft-rock, ’80s new wave, ’90s R&B and current pop and hip-hop.
Q&A with Jordan Wolowitz
An organizer of this year’s Governors Ball
This year’s Governors Ball is one of the biggest concerts ever staged on Randall’s Island, with more than 40,000 people expected each day.
amNewYork spoke with Jordan Wolowitz, a partner with event producer Founders Entertainment, about how it came together.
How do you put together each day’s lineup?
We look at feel — which acts match up well, but also provide good diversity for fans. We also have to look at what day works best with a band’s schedule.
What are the biggest challenges of staging a festival in NYC?
There’s so much to do in NYC in a given day; it’s the greatest city in the world. To get people to pay attention to a music festival is a challenge. We tried to put together the best one we could so people couldn’t say no.
Why do you think so many NYC festivals failed in the past?
One is that they weren’t in the best locations. Another is that festival culture is just starting to bloom in America. It’s been popular in Europe for decades. Now it’s becoming a rite of passage here.
Governors Ball runs Friday through Sunday at Randall’s Island. Gates open at 11:45 a.m., $95 per day; $220 for three-day pass, governorsballmusicfestival.com