January 23, 2013

Hello Govna’!

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Yesterday, something beautiful came across my Facebook feed. It was brightly colored, yet unassuming. I expected nothing from this small block of text that I passed by on my leisurely scroll. Another festival announcement for a show I probably wouldn’t get to go to. I clicked and scanned anyway. Better to look at this than begin my first assigned readings of the year. Blurgh.

This was no ordinary festival announcement. It was an announcement more glorious than I could imagine. It was the list for the  Governors Ball. A festival that last year had been mildly exciting — but not quite exciting enough to blow 200 dollars on — had transformed into the lineup of all east coast concert lineups. Or, as my roommate put it ever so succinctly, “Holy shit.”

The official lineup for Governor’s Ball in New York City was released online on Tuesday. The festival, which takes place each year on Randall’s Island in early June, may be far away, but the general excitement surrounding it has made all of the time between then and now seem insignificant.

Let me put my excitement in perspective. Last year the big headliners were Passion Pit, Duck Sauce, Chromeo, Beck, Modest Mouse and Explosions in the Sky. Those were the biggest names on there. One of them has only one recognizable song in its arsenal, “Barbara Streisand.” This year’s festival will be headlined by Kanye West, Kings of Leon and one more big name that has yet to be announced. The full list includes the artists behind at least five  of the top 20 albums of 2012 on most major yearly rankings. Last year’s artists would have landed on the middle tier of this year’s supped-up lineup at most.

Moving from a two day event with about 20 artists to a three day extravaganza with over 60 acts, the Governor’s Ball has graduated from another blip on the summer festival radar to what is sure to be a major and well attended concert of 2013.

What is even better than this list of names, you ask? That the festival is taking place only five hours away from our campus, and only about 20 minutes to an hour from where most Cornellians hail from, the Tri-State Area.

Although the artist selections for Governors Ball are not quite as forward-thinking as some of the west coast festivals like Coachella, a festival that has a knack for recognizing talent far ahead of the general public, the Gov Ball staff did develop a cache of artists filled with recent up-and-comers. Some of which, like Feist, Azealia Banks and The Vaccines, look as though they were hand picked off of Coachella’s past lineups. But certainly not all.

Beach House and Dirty Projectors who produced two of the Cornell Daily Sun’s top albums of the year and the Lumineers will be making appearances in our lovely big apple. I take a little pride in that.

If fingers crossed I am able to attend, one of the shows I will literally fight people to get to is Kendrick Lamar. I can think of nothing better than blissfully gangster rapping along to good kid, m.A.A.d city as awkwardly and enthusiastically as only a white girl from Westchester can. I spent half of my car rides during winter break sitting with friends, turning Lamar’s music up and dancing like a complete G. I got some weird looks. Worth it.

Alt-J will be a must. The British band released its first full length album, An Awesome Wave, was released last year and won the prestigious Mercury prize, past winners of which include PJ Harvey, The xx (another Gov Ball attendee) and Franz Ferdinand, to name a few. The band earned it. The energetic and eclectic beats guided by the smooth and commanding voice of Joe Newman cast a powerful aura that made me want to bask in it forever.

Beach House’s Bloom, Best Coast’s The Only Place and Grizzly Bear’s Shields were incredibly well received last year, and The xx, Of Monsters and Men and Local Natives have created some great music over the past years that have been popularly sampled and added to film and T.V. soundtracks like 90210.

Kanye West is an obvious choice. Cocky or not, he is amazing. Maybe we’ll spot a very pregnant Kardashian in his midst. Or the festival will get a visit from his good friend, and Scarsdale dweller Jay-Z … Well, I can dream can’t I?

I wish I had room to talk about the Vaccines, Azealia Banks, Nas, and Japandroids. But, alas you will have to research for yourself, good readers.

New York, we officially have a festival we can be proud of (and gloat  about a little), an event that may cause as much travel congestion as a presidential visit. An ode to the best of 2012, and hopefully an indicator of more good to come, the Governors Ball is a place that all music lovers should try to get to this June.

Original Author: Arielle Cruz

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