Governors Ball 2014: A Chat About What Worked and What Didn’t

By Jeremy D. Larson & Shannon Carlin

Governors Ball took place this year once again on Randall’s Island, New York City, New York. The relatively modest festival brought EDM, indie rock, rap, a few outliers together for a three-day event underneath some of the most beautiful weather you could ask for.

Shannon Carlin and Jeremy D. Larson went to all three days and crossfired with each other after the fest closed down on Sunday night to get a sense of the best, the worst, the wild, the perfucnctory, and what we should really do with all the Bill Murray Stripes t-shirts.


Shannon Carlin: So you were there last year with all the, to put it lightly, weather issues. How do you think this one compares? You think they made necessary improvements?

Jeremy D. Larson: This year, I walked onto totally re-sodded Randall’s Island, so however many millions they spent on fixing the mud pit, it was absolutely necessary for the experience of the fest. Compared to last year’s literal hurricane, there wasn’t a drop of rain throughout the weekend, which of course gave me something else to complain about (“Oh great, now there’s a patina of dust covering these $10 chicken strips”) but overall I thought the landscaping of the fest was wildly improved from last year. You could actually sit down in most places. Landscaping = A+.

SC: Yeah, and there was a lot of people sitting on any grassy spot they could find.

JL: Did you experience any logistical problems with the fest? I didn’t at all, which is one thing I like about Gov Ball is that it’s a very manageable festival — it’s small enough where it seems hard for things to go wrong.

SC: Yeah, I think manageable is the best way to describe it. It’s only four stages, they’re not that far apart so you really can move around very easily. I think I wish there was a little more time between sets so you don’t feel like you’re running to the next thing if you want to catch someone’s full set. I feel like I didn’t really stay for anyone’s whole set, but I guess that’s what you do at a festival. You sort of test out everything you can.

Aluna Francis (Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

JL: Of the headliners, I saw OutkastSkrillex, and Vampire Weekend and am convinced I made all the right choices. I was fortunate enough to see Outkast twice in the early 2000’s and remember those shows vividly. This was on the Stankonia tour, and they opened with “Gasoline Dreams” and at that point in my life I had never seen a whole ballroom full of people lose it all at once before when the beat came in. Which is to say, my excitment and expectations for Outkast were tempered a bit.

SC:. I saw them at Coachella, and obviously, that was not all it was cracked up to be so this was a lot better. I mean, the crowd seemed like they wanted to hear more than “Hey Ya” and “Roses.” People really love “Roses” though that’s something I now know.

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