NYC’s Governors Ball Music Festival Returns in 2021


Eliza Auslander

Billie Eilish performing at the 2021 NYC Governors Ball Music Festival.

As a festival with a New York heart, it was no surprise that the Governors Ball Music Festival came back bigger and better than ever this year. With New York’s beloved summer tradition being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Governors Ball Festival returned with a new location and safety measures, with the same food vendors and great music acts that are loved by many.

At the beginning of June every summer, Governors Ball invades Randall’s Island, situated between northern Manhattan and Queens in New York City. With this year’s Gov Ball being postponed from summer to fall, Gov Ball took place in Citi Field in Queens instead of Randall’s Island Park, from Friday, September 24th, to Sunday, September 26th. With the new location comes accessible transportation via the subway, Long Island Railroad, bike, bus or by foot. In 2022, the festival plans to return to its summer kickoff schedule in early June.

In light of COVID-19, Gov Ball’s health and safety policies reflected the growing trend in the festival arena, requiring all attendees to show proof of vaccination by September 10th or to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within three days of each day attended. Regardless of vaccination status, masks were not mandated throughout the time onsite.

Tickets went on sale back in May, with three-day passes, single-day passes, and VIP passes available. Single-day passes began at $129 plus taxes and fees. Once purchased, physical wristbands are mailed to the attendees, which is why shipping time must be planned in advance. Before heading to Gov Ball for entry, wristbands must be activated. Activated wristbands also serve the purpose of making quick and easy cashless purchases throughout the park.

With many eager to see live music after a year and a half hiatus, the lineup did its job in satisfying the East Coast’s long-needed major music festival. Billie Eilish, A$AP Rocky, J Balvin, and Post Malone were headliners. Many other viral artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Phoebe Bridgers, Young Thug, Burna Boy, Carly Rae Jepsen, 21 Savage, Ellie Goulding, Leon Bridges, 24kgoldn, Cordae, Future Islands, Big Thief, Portugal. The Man, and Dominic Fike were in the lineup. However, rapper DaBaby, was dropped from the lineup due to his homophobic remarks and comments about AIDS/HIV victims at Rolling Loud Miami. After his removal, two new artists were added, Kehlani and BJ the Chicago Kid. With the incredible lineup and diverse food vendors, attendees were enthralled with the long-awaited festival.