Governors Ball has Lollapalooza-level ambitions

Governors Ball Credit: Photo courtesy of Governors Ball Music Festival
Governors Ball is set for June 7-9.
Credit: Governors Ball Music Festival

Up until a few years ago, a world-class music festival was missing from New York City. That’s when Jordan Wolowitz and his friends took it upon themselves to create one.

The idea was simple: great music and a good venue located in New York City. Wolowitz left his job in December 2010 and eight weeks later announced Governors Ball.

When the festival first launched in 2011, it was only a daylong concert series with Girl Talk headlining. By the following year, it was a two-day festival with Beck and Passion Pit as the main acts.

“The trend is that it takes a couple of years to build a successful music festival,” Wolowitz says.

This year, Governors Ball is on its way to becoming a city music festival that rivals that of Chicago’s Lollapolooza, Wolowitz says.

“What you’re seeing [this year] is where we wanted to be,” Wolowitz says. “It’s a diverse and contemporary music festival.”

There’s a lot of buzz around this year’s headliners. Kings of Leon are releasing a new album, and for many this will be their first time seeing Guns N’ Roses live. As for Kanye West, well, he’s just everywhere. 

The festival offers an array of activities other than music. A focus point of this year’s festival is the food.

“Everyone agrees that whey they go to a festival and are hungry, the only options are hot dogs and nachos,” Wolowitz says.

This year, New York City staples like Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, Luke’s, Num Pang, Little Muenster and Bareburger will be some of the food vendors on site.

During daylong music festivals, breaks are needed. Other activities on the island include a silent disco, a photo booth, lawn games and ping-pong tables.

“We want this to be a full-day activity for people,” Wolowitz says. “While I would love it for everyone to love all acts performing, people need a breather to do other things.”

While there are some big-name bands playing, the festival is also a platform for younger artists to promote themselves to wider audiences.

“Governors Ball is a festival for die-hard music fans, for casual music fans, and for those who like experiencing the arts and culture,” Wolowitz says. “It’s a place where you can go experience the best music that’s out there while immersing yourself in New York City culture.”

For more information on tickets, transportation and more go to governorsballmusicfestival.com.

Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant



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