Governors Ball Music Festival 2017 Review

Governors Ball Music Festival 2017 Review

Governors Ball 2017 went off without a hitch. Friday and Saturday were blessed with beautiful weather, and Sunday’s rain forecast wasn’t as menacing as predicted. It only drizzled for a bit on Sunday, and the clouds brought a cool, brisk air that was refreshing relative to the days prior.

The festival featured a decent amount of pop, hip-hop, and rock acts, branding themselves as a contemporary music festival. Contemporary music is another word for popular music, which is exactly what Governors Ball brought.

I didn’t get my act together in time for press passes this year (we have them for Bonnaroo next week), so I’ll call this a review from the real fan’s perspective; one who didn’t obtain the luxury that is a press pass. My plan was to go in with the rBeatz Radio Station, Twitter, and Instagram at my disposal, a Nikon D3400 camera, and run a bit of a narrative in conjunction with insight from the days acts.

The narrative consisted of a friend of mine, Paul, who came from England to the United States to find LOVE. He figured a music festival could be a good place to do that.

After each set, Paul and myself would find eligible bachelorettes interested in playing along with a live interview on rBeatzRadio. We would ask them which act they liked the most and which act they were most looking forward too. We would then ask them three questions to see if they were compatible with Paul. The questions were…

1) Where would you take Paul on your first date?

2) What is your favorite Ice Cream flavor?

3) If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Paul’s favorite Ice Cream was cookie dough and he would go to New Zealand if he could go anywhere in the world right now. The first question was just for fun 😉

If one of the eligible bachelorettes matched with Paul on the last two questions, they would win an rBeatz prize pack.

We used the hashtag #HelpPaulFindLove to connect the radio narrative to social media (Twitter and Instagram). People were very receptive to the game because it was a nice, quick change of pace, and who doesn’t like to play games and win prizes?!

Below are reviews from the acts I saw.


Jenaux Gov Ball 2017

This was one of my favorite acts because Jenaux plays one of my favorite genres: electro-funk. Read my full Jenaux recap here.

After Jenaux, I wanted to get the lay of the land. I walked over to the main stage and noticed a small gathering around a crew and their boombox. It was NYC based LiteFeet Entertainment Crew Waffle NYC with America’s Got Talent Season 8 finalist, Kid The Wiz. Take a look at the magic I witnessed below.

#govballnyc ????????????@KidTheWiz @WAFFLENYC

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Michael Blume

Michael Blume was soulful, inspirational, fun, and energetic. His message was positive. He hit his talking points on materialism, LBGTQ rights, and civil rights, and the ensemble behind him added to his grandiose ambiance. He even retweeted my Tweet below

Francis and the Lights

Francis and the Lights was definitely interesting. The guy has worked with Kanye and Chance the Rapper, so to see his individual performance was something I yearned for. The guy is definitely a good musician and knew how to manipulate a crowd. I got a Bo Burnham vibe from him because I felt he was making fun of the entire facade of the musical performance. Yet, I was captivated to see what he’d do next. Comedy in the musical performance isn’t something you see often. I enjoyed the change of pace.


I caught the end of Kehlani. She was stunning and really owned the stage from what I saw. I interviewed some of her fans below. Take a listen to what they had to say.

I walked around after that and took some pictures.

Gov Ball Day 1 2017


Gov Ball 2017 Day 1

Gov Ball day 1 2017 nyc

Day 1 governors ball 2017

Gov Ball review

Charli XCX

@charli_xcx Fancy ??#govballnyc

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I caught a bit of Charli XCX, who was jumping around on these large silver boxes with her drummer, Deborah Knox-Hewson, and a DJ. The energy was up, and I was impressed with Charli’s stamina and enthusiasm on stage. Her energy was infectious. I showed up just as Charli’s hit song, Fancy, was being played. From afar, I thought it was Iggy Azalea on the drums. It was not. It was Charli’s drummer, Debbie. Killin’ it.


Lorde rocked the stage with dancers in a giant glass container conveying the young artist’s emotions. Click below to hear the enthusiastic Monica describe her passion for the New Zealand pop-star.


@flumemusic performing @disclosure – You & Me (Flume Remix) #GovBallNYC ??❤️

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Flume’s set was magical. He took us to another auditory spacial level with ambience, dynamic percussive arrangements, unexpected peaks & valleys and frequencies for all ages. The light show was certainly a highlight, with animation that appeared to burst out of the screen in 3-D. Tove Lo joined Flume on stage for a live rendition of their hit song, Say It. Flume is known for his fantastic control over the musical space, which was evident in his final song that ended with Flume banging his kick drum to an alien-like synth.

@flumemusic Final Song #GovBallNYC #GovBall2017

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Flume gov ball 2017JPG

Chance the Rapper

@chancetherapper Same Drugs #GovBallNYC ???

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Chance The Rapper is always special. Before the show, I even bought myself a GIANT 3 hat (none of this small 3 nonsense) and a “Courage” sweatshirt, totaling $115. I was all Chance fanboyed-out because I love everything he represents. He knows how to drive the crowd up and take a moment to make the crowd feel. He takes you on an emotional roller coaster with an extra heaping of soul and tranquility met by poetic genius. At the end, there were fireworks, and I was exhausted from a long, amazing day.

Chance the rapper gov ball

Gov Ball Fireworks 2017

Gov ball day 1 fireworks

Hear my quick review of Chance and Flume below.


Going from 12pm-11pm got me a bit weary, plus, while leaving the festival, there was a huge traffic-jam of people also trying to leave. It took myself and others an hour-and-a-half just to get off the Island. I was exhausted, so I treated myself to a couple extra hours of sleep on Saturday. Thankfully, the festival organizers made note of the incident and altered the exit strategy for the next two days, issuing express busses to the 125th subway stop in Manhattan.

I entered the festival listening to Rae Sremmurd’s No Flex. I got in just as they ended. I was able to interview Katherine below about the mosh pit that happened at Rae Sremmurd.


A$AP Ferg

A$AP Ferg was one of my favorite acts of the festival. He played some of the more popular trap/hip-hop songs plus a fair amount of his own stuff. Shabba (above) was one of the more hype songs of the afternoon. He made it clear to us that he wasn’t like the other bougie pop-stars. His reckless demeanor was exactly what I came for at a music festival. He even retweeted me below 😉 I took the picture after Ferg told everyone to put their middle-fingers up to all the haters out there.

After, A$AP, I ran into my friend, Paul. Listen below for the introduction.


Amazing drum solo by @rufussounds #govballnyc ???

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RÜFÜS was super melodic and ambient. They were a nice chance of pace from A$AP Ferg. The electronic live performance is something to be sought after, so seeing RÜFÜS’ made me aware that some are ahead of the game. The video above is a SICK drum solo from their drummer, James Hunt.


@marshmellomusic #GovBallNYC ?⬜️?

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Only #science could get a @marshmellomusic to DJ #govballnyc ?⬜️?

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Marshmello was my favorite act at Gov Ball. A true EDM DJ after my heart. He crushed remixes, the lighting and animation behind him was vibrant, he brought a MINI MARSHMELLO out to dance with him, the sun was out, and everything about the set made me super excited. I was dancing like a maniac to most of it.

Marshmello gov ball day 2

marshmello gov ball nyc 2017

Marshmello day 2

We ran into Ariana and Samantha after Marshmello. I gave a bit of a recap, and then tried to #HelpPaulFindLove.

I got a bit caught up after Marshmello trying to #HelpPaulFindLove. Below we played with Alexa.

We then tried to #HelpPaulFindLove with Franchesca, Chloe, Evan, and Papi Shampoo before BANKS.



@hernameisbanks @govballnyc #govballnyc Nuff said ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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BANKS was beautiful. Nuff said. I got a bit caught up trying to find Paul love, so I really only saw the song above, 27 Hours.

Childish Gambino

#govballnyc is #childish ???

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Childish Gambino’s only show in 2017. He is busy filming for the second season of Atlanta, so he just doesn’t have the time.  I caught a couple of my favorite Childish songs; however, due to yesterdays human traffic-jam, I left an hour early to avoid the rush. His first hour was fairly eclectic in rhythm and vibe, showcasing the entertainment renaissance man’s versatility in music. I felt like I missed his best stuff, including him dropping a hint that his next album might be his last.

Childish Gambino gov ball

childish gambino last show

childish gambino last show 2017

childish gambino gov ball nyc 2017


Before I left, I ran into Lina to #HelpPaulFindLove


Before I left my apartment for day 3 of the festival, I tweeted my enthusiasm and endurance for day three with a, “Let’s Gooooooooooooooooooooooo(as many Os as I could fit in a tweet).” Gov Ball staff promptly responded with this Tweet below.


There was a bit of rain to start Sunday’s festivities; however, that didn’t stop GRYFFIN from rocking it on the guitar, piano, and turntables. I caught the end of his set so was lucky to see him bring out Daya to perform their hit song with Illenium, Feel Good.

GRYFFIN gov ball 2017



I think we came close @skepta_official #HelpPaulFindLove ❤️❤️❤️

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As you can see above, Paul almost found love at Skepta.

Skepta was one of my favorite acts of the entire festival. He absolutely crushed his set, calling out all the phonies, paying tribute to his organic come up, and murdering his quick witted rhymes. His energy was filled with rage, grime, and hype. His authenticity was real. He was so “real,” that he made a point about it by smoking joints with the fans in front. I tweeted this in the moment.


We met up with Paul after Skepta.

Mac DeMarco

Mac Demarco’s set was cool. He wished happy birthday to his keyboardist, brought a fan on stage, and brought mellow/psychedelic vibes to a hazy, but beautiful, cloudy day. Mac’s personality was genuine. After I left, GRYFFIN, I noticed screeching fans by the Honda Stage. These were Mac fans lining up and shrieking at the sight of this guy. After his set, I could see why. He’s just a super cool, musically talented, authentic, chill dude. The tweet below was sarcastic. Mac DeMarco was great.

Mac Demarco gov ball 2017

The Avalanches

The Avalanches were fun. They came with an eclectic mix of Hip-Hop/Soul/Funk and Pop. Paul almost found love here as well. They played Because I’m Me, and Frankie Sinatra as the first two songs of their set. Two of their most popular songs right off the bat really had people dancing early.

I gave Paul some space, and spoke with Janice to see if her and Paul were compatible.


I witnessed a bit of Phantogram from afar. What really stood out was the vibe they put on. The entire Honda stage area seemed to have an ambiance. This is what Phantogram does best. Creates ambient soundscapes that lean slightly towards the pop genre.

phantogram gov ball 2017

We ran into Ashlee and Kaitlyn at Phantogram, who tried to #HelpPaulFindLove


Logic brought a message of Peace, Love, and Positivity. I caught him saying this, and my tweet got swept up in the moment. He paused a lot to talk about whatever was on his mind. The guy is an improv master, and his breaks were refreshing.

Damian Lemar Hudson absolutely crushing his solo @logic301 @damianlhudson #GovBallNYC #GovBall2017

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Some of the best parts of Logic’s performance was when he freestyled with Kat, signing for the hearing impaired (below), the positivity he was preaching throughout, and when he brought out Damian Lemar Hudson for his killer solo (above) on their new hit single, Black Spiderman.

Logic Gov Ball 2017

I did a bit of a recap of Logic’s set on rBeatzRadio and we met, Darian, to try to #HelpPaulFindLove

Wiz Khalifa

No jobbin, no sleepin, live it up like, it’s the #Weekend @wizkhalifa #govballnyc

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Wiz Khalifa is one of my favorite performers because I fell in love with his Cush & OJ and Rolling Papers mixtape way back when. I think he sounds extremely similar live to how he sounds on his albums (which is hard to do!). He played Mesmerize, his Chainsmokers’ Closer remix, No Sleep, brought out Ty Dolla $ign for Blasé, Roll Up, and more. I left an hour early to avoid the traffic, but I thought I got plenty from Wiz’ first hour.

wiz gov ball 2017

Wiz Khalifa Gov Ball

Overall, I had an amazing three days. Paul did not end up finding love, but that’s life. Maybe we’ll find another Paul at another festival this year and help them out. We have press passes to Bonnaroo this weekend, so follow rBeatz on the App, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for live updates. This is my final take for day 3 with my top 10 favorite acts of the entire festival below.

My Top 10

  1. Marshmello

  2. Wiz Khalifa

  3. Chance The Rapper

  4. Flume

  5. A$AP Ferg

  6. Skepta

  7. Logic

  8. Jenaux

  9. Childish Gambino

  10. The Avalanches

Chris Stack

After graduating from Kenyon College, Chris Stack joined a branding and marketing startup, BrandYourself (as seen on SharkTank), in New York City. After leading the company to grow past profitability as a leading account manager, Chris set his sights on his passion: music. He currently runs his own LLC in New York City, helping musicians in the city with their online presence and marketability. A native of the Washington DC area, Chris Stack's passions and hobbies include music production (8 years on Ableton), marketing, baseball (Mets), football (Ravens), Netflix n chillin, and the experience economy.

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