Why Does This Keep Happening To Governors Ball?

Photo: David X Prutting/BFA/REX/Shutterstock.
If you attended Governors Ball Music Festival this year, then you know it was a mess. Depending on your mood, it was either a wonderful mess, full of dancing in the rain, standing in mosh pits with soaked strangers, and letting your worries wash away with every continuous rain drop that fell. Or, you were wet, muddy, cold, and literally trapped on an island. It's a make-or-break situation. But this year felt pretty broken. Especially after the cancellation of the third day of the festival, which featured Kanye West, Chvrches, Gary Clark Jr., Death Cab for Cutie, and many more highly anticipated artists. Since 2011, Governors Ball has brought an eclectic mix of artists to perform in a festival-like atmosphere on a tiny island off of Manhattan. First, it was held on Governors Island (hence the festival name) and featured a jam-packed lineup for one day of music. In subsequent years, Gov Ball moved to Randall's Island, which is more conducive to the growing crowd and also features food trucks. But, in the festival's six years of existence, it has been severely impacted by rain multiple times, despite its claim to hold the festival rain or shine. Yet, the fest continues to be scheduled for the same weekend despite the foul weather. In 2013, the festival also had to cancel a full day, losing headliners Kings of Leon. In the end, the weather is out of anyone's control, but maybe the dates of the festival should change. Gov Ball's handling of inclement weather has been a topic of conversation over the years.

And 2016.
While refunds were offered, that still didn't cover the disappointment many of the fans felt at missing their favorite artists. To appease this, a few artists and bands tried to put on last-minute shows for their fans elsewhere. But venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan are not fit to accommodate thousands of people. While not a solution to the problem, it was a nice gesture. But it didn't really work out. Two Door Cinema Club announced a discounted show in Williamsburg, and fans stood in a line of nearly one thousand people to score a wristband ($10 for those who were forced to miss Gov Ball, $20 for everyone else) for nearly two hours, many of them walking away empty handed yet again. Another in a string of disappointments.
Vic Mensa bought the first 150 wristbands for his #raincheck show at Webster Hall. But 150 people out of the thousands of Gov Ball ticket holders? That's nothing.
Courtney Barnett held a free show in Brooklyn, but it was first come, first serve with no priority for Gov Ball ticket holders.
Prophets of Rage played for a small crowd, far short of the audience they would have had on the Bacardi House Stage at the festival.
Kanye West tried to have a surprise show at Webster Hall, but instead ignited some sort of mass crowd riot.
Cold War Kids just packed up and left, leaving a flood of tears behind them.
Let's all hope for some sort of improvement for next year, whether it's trying out new dates for the event or providing more accommodations for those who traveled all the way to New York and are left empty-handed and without music. Otherwise, the rain might just wash away future ticket holders with it.

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