Top 10 moments from the 2018 Governors Ball Music Festival

General atmosphere at The Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island Park on Friday, June 1, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

The Governors Ball Music Festival took place at Randall’s Island in New York City from June 1 to 3, providing a weekend full of incredible live music, delicious food and an overall unforgettable experience. The festival opened its gates at 11:45 a.m. and ended around 11:00 p.m.

The weekend was like a world unto itself, completely separate from reality and instead full of sunshine (for the most part), glitter-covered teenagers and the best of the best performers spanning many different genres. As everyone that attended any day of the festival is currently suffering from post-concert depression, I counted down the top 10 moments of Govball 2018 to try and relive some of the magic.

10. Learning that Shawn Mendes is actually really talented

I was slightly surprised when Shawn Mendes was announced as the “special performance” on the Friday Govball lineup; his fan base appeared to be more middle school girls rather than the typical Govball goer. However, his set turned out to be very well done and his voice live was incredible. He opened with his radio hit “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” and continued into arguably one of his most popular songs “Stitches.” Mendes had a sweet demeanor about him and was very down to earth, interacting with the crowd and describing how the Governors Ball was the first music festival he had ever attended and how amazing it was that he was now playing it. Mendes ended his set with “Treat You Better” amidst excitement from the crowd.

9. Hearing Pusha T’s diss track live (unless you’re a fan of Drake)

Pusha T was a late add-on to the Saturday Govball lineup, being announced only on May 29 after Brockhampton canceled their remaining US tour dates. Pusha T’s performance was especially charged because of the release of his newest album DAYTONA on May 25 and the ongoing beef he has with Drake. At Govball, Pusha T performed “Infrared,” the song that accused Drake of using ghostwriters and caused Drake to release his response diss track “Duppy Freestyle.” During Pusha T’s Govball performance, the crowd shouted “F**k Drake!” twice amidst crazy energy. It was a performance that will be remembered in this era of hip-hop history.

8. Sitting underneath the balloon trees

Govball has always been known for the interesting art installations erected at the festival by local NYC artists and this year was no different. One of the most unique installations at the festival this year was a set of balloon trees, each adorned with different colored balloons that made up the “leaves.” The base of the “tree” was a platform where people could sit, eat and take photos. The installations were made by NYC-based artist Katie Balloons.

Other notable art pieces at the fest were the mural-like standing walls that have become Govball staples and are a popular place to take photos. Some of these mural artists included Adam Fu, Gordon Stevenson AKA Baron von Fancy and Arianna Margulis of But Like Maybe.

Goldlink performing at Govball. (Lucie Turkel/The Daily Campus)

7. Getting to see GoldLink after he skipped UConnic

Everyone that went to UConnic this year knows that GoldLink never showed up to the first official UConn music festival, due to what he claimed was a “family emergency.” However, seeing him on Friday at the Bacardi Stage more than made up for it. GoldLink’s energy was contagious and he played many songs that hyped the crowd up, including his own music as well as covers such as Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” He played his most famous song “Crew” twice to a lively crowd. Khalid, the headliner at UConnic, also made an appearance at Govball, playing to a huge energetic crowd on the main Gov Ball NYC stage on Sunday.

6. Watching performances from breakout artists like Tash Sultana, Kali Uchis and VHS Collection

One of the best things about music festivals is the process of discovering new artists through their sets. While some people may only go to fests to see the big recognizable names, sometimes it can be the acts at the bottom of the lineup poster that make the most impact. Tash Sultana was one such artist at Govball. The Australian-based multi-instrumentalist put on a wild show on Friday, due mostly to the fact that she played every instrument on stage herself in addition to singing, using a loop pedal in a similar manner to Ed Sheeran. To see such an intricate performance live was a treat. Sultana’s music is laid-back and perfect for summer; her biggest hit “Jungle” got an overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd.

Kali Uchis was another breakout artist that put on a great show at Govball on Sunday. Recently the Colombian-American singer has been gaining more popularity especially after being featured on Tyler, the Creator’s successful track “See You Again.” She recently released her debut album “Isolation” and she told the eager crowd at the festival that this performance was the first time she sang many of her new songs live. Uchis put on a great show with her signature cool-girl style and sultry dance moves.

VHS Collection was a third breakout act that seemed to catch a big break at Govball. The New York City-based alt-rock band played the Honda Stage early Saturday afternoon. Govball was the first big festival the band had ever played and was hugely different from their normal shows in darker rock clubs around the city such as the Mercury Lounge and Music Hall of Williamsburg. On the subject of their Govball performance, keyboardist Nils Vanderlip said, “[The crowd] was great. It was surprising how many lyrics they knew, like I could see a lot of people singing along to it and were really into it, which was great.”  

5. Eating the vegan ice cream sandwiches at Van Leeuwen Ice Cream (and all the food trucks)

Before further discussion, I am not vegan whatsoever so I was skeptical about vegan ice cream; but these ice cream sandwiches were so incredible, I forgot they had the vegan label. All the vegan ice cream at Van Leeuwen is made with fresh cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter and extra virgin coconut oil and actually tastes like real ice cream. The vegan chocolate ice cream squashed between two vegan chocolate chip cookies was the perfect way to end my Friday night with Jack White performing in the background.

 Tash Sultana performing at Govball. (Lucie Turkel/The Daily Campus)

Tash Sultana performing at Govball. (Lucie Turkel/The Daily Campus)

All of the food trucks at Govball were great. Some personal favorites were Meatoss, which had the best empanadas and truffle fries of all time; Flaming Wok, with the totally necessary late night Chinese food and Wowfulls, which served the Instagrammable waffle with scoops of multicolored ice cream tucked inside (think Milkcraft, but better).

4. Seeing Eminem bring out 50 Cent during his headlining performance

As if seeing Eminem himself wasn’t good enough? About 20 minutes into his set, Eminem began rapping “Patiently Waiting,” and to the delight of the crowd, 50 Cent came out to join him. Fiddy also performed “I Get Money” and “Crack a Bottle” with Eminem, but got the biggest audience response when singing the legendary “In Da Club” (because honestly, everybody loves that song).

The rest of Eminem’s performance was amazing, as was to be expected from a legend such as himself. He played a fair amount from his newest album “Revival” but also did many Slim Shady classics such as “My Name Is,” “Without Me” and of course “The Real Slim Shady.” While all of Eminem’s set was good, he got the biggest response to his older songs. He closed the show early by performing “Not Afraid” in the pouring rain, with an encore of “Lose Yourself.”

3. Being in multiple mosh pits at Lil Uzi Vert

Besides Eminem, Lil Uzi Vert was one of the biggest artists playing the festival on Sunday. However, Uzi performed on the AE Stage, notably the smallest stage out of the four with barred-in sides and a covered tented roof. The result of this artist placement? A bunch of sweaty, jumping teenagers in some of the biggest mosh pits of the festival. These were not for the faint of heart, however. I barely escaped alive with cuts and bruises all over my arms and legs, but it was completely worth it. The energy of the crowd was incredible and made Uzi’s performance that much better.

2. Discovering that Post Malone is incredible live

Before Govball, I had always heard mixed reviews about Post Malone’s live performances. But after his set at the Honda Stage on Friday, the verdict is in: he’s amazing live. Not only did Malone interact with the crowd, telling anecdotes and sharing encouraging words, but the quality of his voice was deeper and raspier than how he sounds on his albums, giving the show a more authentic feel and further adding to his rock-punk-rap aesthetic.

Despite playing many songs from his newest album “beerbongs & bentleys,” Malone opened with the track “Too Young” off his 2016 album “Stoney.” He proceeded to play a good mix of the two albums and got super energetic responses from the crowd, especially when playing some of his most famous songs like “Better Now,” “Psycho” and “rockstar.” Before ending the show, Malone performed “White Iverson,” the first song that propelled him to fame. He ended the set with a note to his haters and a great rendition of “Congratulations” as the sun set behind him.

1. Watching Travis Scott perform “Butterfly Effect” in the pouring rain

Overall, the weather over the weekend of Govball turned out to be surprisingly nice: Friday was a warm day with the sun making a surprise appearance, Saturday started off hot and sunny and cooled down nicely by the evening and Sunday was a moderate and steady temperature throughout the day.

However, on both Saturday and Sunday nights, it began to rain about halfway through the headliners. Because of Sunday’s lower temperature, the rain was unwelcome. Saturday was a hotter night, and it didn’t help that I was surrounded by other sweaty concertgoers while waiting at the Gov Ball NYC Stage a whole hour and a half before Travis Scott was set to perform in order to get as close to the front as possible. However, the wait was entirely worth it, as Travis Scott was by far my favorite performance at the festival. His energy was contagious and the crowd reflected that spirit. While singing his hit song “Butterfly Effect” atop a tall platform, it began to rain, giving the entire performance a mystical, otherworldly effect.

The rest of his set was great, with a good mix from “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” and “Rodeo.” Other notable tracks he performed were “through the late night,” “90210,” “pick up the phone” and “Antidote.” He finished the night early due to the rain but played “goosebumps” and “beibs in the trap” before the show ended.

The Governors Ball Music Festival did not disappoint this year. Between the many different art, food and other attractions in addition to the plethora of incredible artists that performed, it was truly a weekend to remember. Let the countdown to Govball 2019 begin...


Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.