When it comes to festivals, California has Coachella, Tennessee has Bonnaroo, England has Glastonbury, and New York City now has Governor’s Ball. For the third annual music celebration, Randall’s Island prepped to host thousands of guests and over 50 artists, but nothing could have prepared festival go-ers for this year’s experience. Though the weather gods smiled upon Governor’s Ball on Saturday and Sunday, offering up perfect temperatures and sunny skies, Friday was not so lucky. Tropical Storm Andrea rained down on the field, turning the entire venue into a pool of mud, quickly leading everyone to nickname the event #MudBall. Despite the less than ideal conditions, the show must go on! Here’s a diary of my weekend, which was full of music, friends, fun … and yes, mud.
Saturday, 9 a.m. I’m up bright and early, more than a little excited about my first day at Governor’s Ball. I’ve never been and I skipped out on Coachella this year, so I really can’t wait for the great mix of performers. I throw on the Spotify playlist my friend made for the weekend, and start prepping for the day. The last thing I want to do is carry around a heavy bag, so I’m editing myself down to only the essentials and stuff them into my Rebecca Minkoff mini MAC: the hot pink Beats by Dr. Dre neon Mixr headphones that are only available at Target, CoverGirl’s jumbo gloss bomb, floral sunnies, Clinique sunscreen for my face, and the star crown I made in anticipation. (Flower crowns abound at these sort of events, so I wanted to stand out a bit.) Oh, plus my wallet, phone, and keys. Need those too, of course.
10:30 a.m. Time for outfit inspiration. I have three gorgeous dresses from Juicy Couture that I was planning to wear, but it looks like the rain and the mud are going to ruin that plan. All of my friends who went on Friday say that you have to wear rain boots – meaning my maxi dresses are out. I pick up my phone and start scrolling through the #GovBallNYC hashtag on Instagram to see what everyone wore yesterday – rain boots and jean shorts it is!
12 p.m. Dressed in a pink floral kimono from Topshop, light pink top, jean shorts and flip flops, I make my way over to my best friend, Brittany’s apartment with rain boots in hand. The plan is to have breakfast on her roof and then catch a cab up to Randall’s Island.
1 p.m. I’m pleasantly surprised by how many of my friends are braving the mud. Over bagels and iced coffee, a fruit plate and mimosas, a group of about 20 of us make plans for the day, setting up meeting points in case cell phone service is too spotty and chatting about which bands we’re most excited to see.
2 p.m. Soon enough it’s time to take off for Randall’s Island in a taxi. Twenty minutes later I hit the (muddy) ground running with Brittany and Katherine and we decide to take a lap before we commit to a location. From the huge Governor’s Ball letters on the hill to the endless food options, and the four stages to the fun activities like lawn games, there’s too much fun to be had. I make a mental note to come back to the face painting station tomorrow before the line gets too long.
5 p.m. After snapping a few photos of the balloons in the sky – which are the same as the ones at Coachella – we head to our first show of the weekend, Cut Copy! Luckily they’re playing at the stage with cement, so we’re more than happy to stay in one place for a while. We
finally meet up with my friends from the roof, so we have a pretty strong crew.
6:30 p.m. Due to high winds, Kings of Leon had to cancel their set on Friday, but made it up to fans by performing on Saturday. We decided to stick around and listen to their first show in NYC in three years – definitely a smart move!
8:15 p.m. My friend Sapna and I start to trek through the mud to see Nas, but halfway through we decide to call it a night. The mud’s just too deep, even despite our boots, and we have another full day tomorrow. We turn in our boots and head towards Manhattan.
10 p.m. Finally home! I love the fact that NYC’s transportation system can bring me almost anywhere in the city. Instead of waiting in line for the ferry, we walked across the bridge back into Manhattan and took the subway down to the East Village. I leave my muddy boots outside the door of my apartment, take a quick shower and hop into bed, making sure to rest up for Day 2!
Sunday, 10 a.m. Even though I went to bed with hopes of wearing sandals and my new floral maxi dress, I wake up knowing it’s a rain boot day again. We’re taking advantage of the sun and beautiful weather with round two on Brittany’s roof so I decide to make the most of the solid ground while I can, wearing my Starflower Tank dress, then switching into a more #MudBall appropriate outfit before we take off for the festival.
11 a.m. I quickly fashion my hair into a side swept French braid and tuck the end away, back into the braid so I can stay cool. Grabbing my Minkoff bag from the day before and my muddy boots from outside my apartment, I make my way to Brittany’s place a block away. Love the convenience of friends that live close by!
12 p.m. When I get there, my friend Ali, who is an amazing photographer, immediately hoists me onto the roof ledge of Brittany’s deck to take a photo of my Juicy Couture dress with the city skyline in the background. This makes my outfit change 100% worth it. Sun, the city, and a gorgeous floral maxi? The only thing that could make this better would be a mud-free festival, but you can’t have it all.
2 p.m. Ali is a huge fan of Portugal. The Man, and thanks to his instance, I’m quickly becoming one as well. We hop in a cab in the East Village to make sure we’re inside before the band goes on and I’m so glad we made it in time. It’s an infectious sound, and the perfect way to kick off the second day of our festival experience.
4 p.m. After an amazing show, I swing by the face painting station and meet artist Stephanie Morrison who adds a bit of decoration to my beauty look for the day. My celebrity doppelgänger is Vanessa Hudgens (who is a huge fan of festivals) so I up the twin status with a line of neon dots across my face and nose.
4:15 p.m. Decked out in dots, Ali, Amaad, and I decide it’s time to grab some food. Originally I wanted a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, but the line is way too long to wait. Luckily, I live only two blocks from their East Village restaurant, so I know I’ll be able to snag one of their savory snacks sometime this summer. Instead, we share lo mein from Flaming Wok and tacos from Mexicue.
4:30 p.m. Now that our hunger’s been satiated, we’re ready for more music. Ali, Amaad and I meet up with Brittany, her boyfriend Neal, and Katherine at Foals, happy to be back on the concrete. You don’t realize how hard it is to dance in the mud until you’re three inches deep and stuck! I have to admit, I’ve never heard Foals’ music before, but that’s half the reason I go to music festivals. I love getting introduced to new-to-me music in this sort of scenario: surrounded by huge fans of the different bands, among music lovers who are there to appreciate the talent.
6 p.m. Despite the fact that there are thousands of people in the crowd, my crew always seems to run into people we know. (Result of living in the city for so many years?) We hang out in the center of the field, catching up with friends and extended friends, taking photos of our muddy feet, and talking about plans for the rest of the summer. Katherine, Sapna and I are off to Montauk in two weekends for the first trip of the season, while Brittany and her boyfriend just got back from a Memorial Day trip to Portland.
7:45p.m. While we wait for Bloc Party, I notice my friend, Fatima’s amazing faux tattoos. She snagged little anchor tattoos at Sephora and accessorized with dainty and midi rings, so I ask to snap a quick picture. I love her placement – it’s such a cute new way to dress up your fingers for a party!
8:30 p.m. Halfway through Bloc Party, we decide to take a break and sit for a little while. It’s crazy how walking through mud and standing all day can tire you out so much. We snag a seat on the hill, enjoy the rest of Bloc Party from afar and watch the crowd move across the lawn to set up for Kanye West’s headlining moment at Governor’s Ball.
10 p.m. In true Kanye form, he’s taking his sweet time showing up on stage. But once he arrives, he quickly gains back the audience, performing classics like Power, Heartless, and Flashing Lights. In between fan favorites, West drops new tracks from his upcoming Yeezus album, even ranting a bit about the radio and his true passion for providing the ultimate summer sounds for his fans.
11:10 p.m. My friends and I decide that we’d rather miss the last few songs than be stuck in the crowd, so we begin to head for the exit.
Walking across the bridge, we’re afforded a beautiful view of Manhattan and Randall’s Island, making us realize that despite the mud, the festival provided another perfect city weekend.