August 8, 2013
I attended my first-ever music festival earlier this summer, traveling to New York City for the Governor’s Ball.
I’m not exactly the type who enjoys “roughing it,” so this seemed like the ideal experience since there was no camping allowed on site. Instead, we had reservations at a nice Manhattan hotel, VIP tickets and plans to take a scenic ferry ride to Randall’s Island for the show each day.
Sounds like a good time, right? Well, I’m certain it would’ve been if Tropical Storm Andrea hadn’t rolled into New York the night before the festival began.
I thought I was prepared, both from a practical and mental standpoint, with my heavy-duty raincoat and fully managed expectations.
Turns out I was wrong on both fronts. On Friday, the rain escalated from “heavy” to “pouring” and we decided to stay dry and sit out the first few hours of music. Around 3 p.m., we headed to the ferry only to find a line of people snaking for about a mile and a half. The two-hour wait in a rain I’d categorize as “driving” was unpleasant to say the least.
Things really got ugly when we arrived at the festival grounds to find that the mud was already calf deep.
But our spirits remained high and we found some high ground as we caught a shortened set from Young The Giant, then headed to the main stage in a “torrential” rain, encountering spots along the way with water nearly knee deep. As we waited for headliners Kings of Leon to take the stage, the rain could only be described as “biblical” and then the unthinkable happened: They cancelled the “rain or shine” show for safety reasons.
Facing another unruly ferry line, we opted for walking across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge into Harlem to catch the subway down to Grand Central Station. Upon arrival at the hotel, I promptly tossed my footwear in the trash, took a long, hot shower and went to bed crabby.
Fortunately, things turned out much, much better on Saturday and I somehow walked away from the weekend with a positive feeling about the Governor’s Ball, thanks mostly to the quick actions taken by organizers.
In only it’s third year, it was a perfect storm (pun intended) of issues that could’ve irreparably damaged the festival’s reputation. However, organizers did the right thing every step of the way.
I’d say that’s going above and beyond. Good show, Governor’s Ball. You’ve earned my respect, even in the face of an actual disaster.
August 13, 2013