Recap: Lessons Learned at the Governors Ball 2014

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 at 10:00 am by

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Most festivals preside over commercial endeavors as if they are another country, where they feel justified in charging $20 for a burger or $9 for a Corona. Governors Ball, however, was fairly reasonable within the festival realm. You just have to suspend all belief in an “artisanal hot dog” costing less than $5. Water was $3, but they let you keep your cap, and they had free refill stations. The two brands of beer offered were less than pleasing (Miller Lite or Fosters), but beggars can’t be choosers. Pretty cool to see local vendors such as Mile’s End and The Nugget Spot, rather than generic venue food.


Festival culture is, in a word, weird. There’s an unsettling uniformity in the lengths people go to in order to make their physical appearance stand out. A lot of people try too hard and end up looking ridiculous. There were men in V-Neck tribal tank tops as far as the eye could see, and women blurred together in their nondescript bohemian garb. Everyone wore chucks and ray-bans and bracelets and roman hairstyles. Then there were the people who wanted to make a statement; a Burger King crown for King of the Brahs, several tributes to Pikachu, Gossip Girls, Mean Girls, zebra masks, Eyes Wide Shut masks, and so many tropical shirts sprouting chest hair, you would’ve thought you had gone to Brazil… or a Jimmy Buffet concert.

Additionally, many were focussed on capturing the best songs and festival moments for social media posterity, rather than living in the moment. We even saw one chic girl sashaying in an open space, looking back over her shoulder with a frozen smile, in what we thought to be a disturbing number of times, until we saw her friend trailing behind, giggling and snapping pics on her iPhone.

But despite the costumed monotony and viewing the festival through a filter, actual personal interactions were something that festival myths are made of. People danced everywhere, to everything. The level of inebriation didn’t matter, and no one gave a shit or pointed a finger to laugh. Island fever set in; clothing was skint and skin of all sizes was sprawled out everywhere to soak in the sun. People were high fiving like it was one big Saved by the Bell episode. Most people were amiable and chatted freely about where they were from and who they wanted to see. Everyone  was apparently in attendance for the Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment set and agreed that he was incredible. There were, of course, several health casualties that mostly looked like the result of dehydration or claustrophobia (boy drags dazed girl out of crowd).

You have to wonder if the popularity of EDM (GovBall featured several artists, including Skrillex, The Glitch Mob, et al.) is breeding this type of acceptance. There’s no denying the captivating power that EDM has over crowds in a live setting. Perhaps it’s because there are limited words to focus on, so fans instead turn their interest towards expression. Nonetheless, impressive.

Wrap Up

We had to bail a day early on the festival, but are confident it was a rinse-repeat situation of great tunes, eats, and a slightly punchy, enduring crowd. Though an expensive endeavor, and probably not the place you want to see your favorite band for the first time (if you can help it), it is certainly one that leaves a lasting impression, with an eagerness to see who will play next year.

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