Growing up in Greenwich Village, Tom Russell fell in love with live music, attending shows at clubs like Coney Island High and Wetlands. Later he started attending big music festivals, and wondered why his hometown didn’t have its own.
What You Need To Know
- The 10th Governors Ball Music Festival is taking place this weekend in the parking lot at Citi Field in Queens
- The 2020 Governors Ball was canceled because of the pandemic
- Attendees must be vaccinated or show proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of entering the festival
- The first Governors Ball was held on Governors Island in 2011, and moved the next year to Randall's Island where it stayed until 2019
"It was a dream of bringing a music festival to New York and one that New Yorkers could call their own," said Russell, who along with Jordan Wolowitz founded Governors Ball in 2011. The first was held in 2011 on Governors Island, hence the name, which stuck when they moved to Randall's Island for 2012, where the festival stayed through 2019. The 10th Gov Ball will be held in the parking lot of Citi Field in Queens, where a unique circle layout includes four stages, assuring fans don't have to go very far to move between acts. The asphalt of the parking lot also comes in handy for wet weather, avoiding muddy shows of the past.
"10 years — it’s been a wild ride," said Russell. Last year's Gov Ball was canceled due to the pandemic. The return of Gov Ball in Flushing is sold out, with 60,000 folks attending each day to see acts like Post Malone, Billie Eilish and A$AP Rocky. Fans will have to be vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of walking through the gates.
"We are following the guidance of the state and city health departments and we are going above and beyond what is required of large events of our size," said Russell.
Gov Ball has attracted superstar acts like Kanye West, Drake, The Killers and Wu-Tang Clan in past years. In some cases, artists like Post Malone and Billie Eilish performed in early daytime spots and returned as headliners. Brooklyn-Based indie pop band Nation of Language plays Saturday afternoon, hoping this could be a similar springboard for them.
"I'm really excited to play this show and find out what it's like to play a daytime festival show to a bunch of people that have never heard of you before," said band members Ian Devaney and Aidan Noell, who hope to win over the crowd, like Gov Ball has won over music fans over the past decade.
"After last year we are just so happy to be back and we are hoping to have a sold out show this year so it's going to be a rocking affair," said Russell.