“You’re Doing Great.” That’s the official Governors Ball mantra, which jives with the festivals quest to promote encouragement, positive reinforcement, good vibes, good laughs and good times amongst its patrons. Whether you are raging at the main stage, feeding the beast at the GOPUFF stage or sippin’ something strong at the Bacardi stage, the good people at Founders Entertainment have made it their mission to ensure everybody at Citi Field is living their best possible life.
Since its inception in 2011, concert-goers have been treated to an eclectic array of artists with set schedules perfectly in-step with the vibe of the time. And while this year’s headliners are amazing, the festival is truly driven but the incredible lesser-known acts scattered across the weekend.
Basically, come for Kid Cudi, stay for De’Wayne.
This is my first-ever Gov Ball, so I did a deep-dive on all the artists to fully prepare and immerse myself. Here are a few of my must-catch acts this weekend.
FRIDAY, JUNE 10
Aly & AJ
The GOPUFF Stage – 1:10 PM – 1:56 PM
If this act sounds familiar, it’s because you were clearly born at the right time. Aly & AJ Michalka have been on the scene since 2005 when they released their debut album Into the Rush. There is a reason these talented ladies have stood the test of time – their music is fun, energetic and pure and the harmonies will make you weep sweet, happy tears. Jam along to “Rush” or rock out to “Potential Breakup Song” or just sway to “With You.” There are so many amazing female acts featured at Gov Ball this year so make sure to catch Aly & AJ’s set for a little mood boost to start the weekend off right.
The Bacardi Stage – 5:45 PM- 6:45 PM
The first time I heard “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” off of the NYC-based duo’s 2016 album titled 55, I was hooked. In fact, 55 remains my favorite album James Patetrson and Ben Ruttner have produced. Their upbeat, carefree sound is perfect for summer in the city or anywhere really. They draw from all genres of music so there is something for everyone. I also like “Classic” ft. Fetty Wap & POWERS. If you like Flight Facilities, ayokay, Aluna and of course Foster The People then you will enjoy The Knocks. Plus, Jack Harlow hits the stage right after, the perfect Friday night sound bytes.
SATURDAY, JUNE 11
Bacardi Stage 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM
Saturday is a hype day for sure. So, after you’ve caught some groovy vibes from Almost Monday on the main stage and gotten your fill of YG bars at the GOPUFF stage, head over to the Bacardi stage to kick it up a notch with 27-year-old Florida-born Denzel Curry. Granted, his latest album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future is definitely more mellow -a reflection of the growth spurt Curry has been on since the more hardcore ZUU in 2019. But there will still be some beats that knock. My all-time favorite Curry track resides on ZUU so make sure to give “Ricky” a listen before you head to his stage Saturday. Curry’s verse on Rob $tone’s “Chill Bill REMIX” is worth a mention as it showcases his smooth flow and significant swagger. Fans of artists like Vince Staples and Chief Keef will enjoy this set.
Bacardi Stage 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Another incredible female artist, Ashton Nicole Casey, known professionally as Ashnikko is a must-see this weekend. Don’t judge her for the Tik Tok fame – her song “Stupid” ft. Yung Baby Tate became a favorite on the app for those reclaiming their independence or just wanting to laugh about a dumb significant other. Either way, Ashnikko’s music is fun, funny, bad-beat heavy and will definitely be worth your time this weekend. We all need more of the “I’m not a princess, I’m a king” mentality in our lives. Her debut album DEMIDEVIL, which dropped last year is filled with spunky, quirky, amped-up tracks to keep you bouncing around. I recommend “Daisy” or “Toxic.” She’s the perfect blend of BIA, Iggy Azalea and 070 Shake and I’m so here for it.
SUNDAY, JUNE 12
Del Water Gap
Bacardi stage 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM
The solo project of songwriter S. Holden Jaffe, Del Water Gap is intriguing for me not only because of the soft, bubbly sound and addicting vocals but for the clothes. He recently became a YSL muse and the fashion house will be dressing him for the festival. All my couture concert-goers unite. Also, his name was inspired by the actual Delaware Water Gap and one of his EP’s, 1(646) 943 2672, is literally titled after a burner phone he bought to see who would call it and connect with him. Jaffe’s songs are the type of music I picture playing during pivotal moments of self-discovery or unrequited love in indie movies. It’s the perfect set to close your eyes and connect with the crowd or fall in love with a stranger. Give “New Song” with Maggie Rogers a listen and tell me I’m wrong.
GOVBALLNYC. Stage presented by Verizon 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Feeling good is clearly the theme of this preview if that wasn’t already abundantly obvious. So, to continue down that wellness path, Glass Animals on the main stage is one you are going to want to hit. It all started with “Gooey” off their 2014 debut album Zaba, continued with “The Other Side of Paradise” and finally the infamous “Heat Waves” off their latest effort Dreamland. This English indie rock band is the perfect way to end the weekend. Think Surfaces, Empire of the Sun and a little of the Kid LAROI. Plus, sultry-sweet Clairo is on right before creating the right blend to end the weekend. You might recognize her from her viral “Pretty Girl” but definitely check out the soulful “Reaper.”