Governors Ball Music Festival 2023
Flushing Meadows Corona Park – Queens, NY – June 9-11, 2023
Words and photos by Brittany Isaacson
Governors Ball 2023 debuted at its new home at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, N.Y. this weekend. Dubbed “New York’s Biggest Party,” the action-packed festival immersed attendees in its vibrant ambiance, great music, and interactive activities. The three-day event featured headline performances from Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo, ODESZA, and more. Here’s our review and photos from the Governors Ball 2023 weekend.
Festival-goers flocked to Flushing Meadows Corona Park early Friday morning to kick off the weekend. After a straightforward trip on the subway and a short walk to the festival entrance, attendees were greeted with the lush greenery of the park and the spirited atmosphere of Gov Ball. One could fill their day with the numerous immersive installations alone. Interactive experiences included the Dunkin’ Rhythm Room, the Aperol Spritz Piazza, and About-Face Beauty Stop.
Beyond the fun pop-ups and photo ops, the festival offered a seemingly endless variety of food. From vegan burgers to gourmet nuggets and decadent mac n’ cheese, there were plenty of options for everyone. The event organizers further prioritized attendees’ comfort by installing numerous free water stations and restrooms throughout the venue.
As for the music, the first day of Governors Ball featured a stacked line-up of diverse artists. Indie-pop artist Alexander 23 dazzled the crowd at the Bacardí Stage with his smooth vocals and relatable lyrics. The indie-pop tunes continued at the Gopuff Stage with New York’s own MICHELLE. The six-piece collective captivated the crowd with their groovy sound and playful choreography.
As the day went on, hip-hop artist 070 Shake hyped up the Bacardí Stage crowd with her infectious beats. Meanwhile, rising singer-songwriter Tai Verdes put on his own action-packed set on the Gopuff stage. Verdes interacted with the crowd as he performed his uplifting hit song, “AOK.”
Award-winning DJ Diplo kept the momentum going on the Gov Ball NYC Stage with his punchy beats and exhilarating bass drops. Singer-songwriter Remi Wolf treated her crowd to soul-infused pop and overall upbeat melodies.
In the evening, HAIM rocked out on the Gov Ball NYC stage. Meanwhile, breakthrough rapper Ice Spice performed a short but sweet set at the Gopuff Stage. The crowd packed in to watch the Bronx native perform hit tracks like “Bikini Bottom” and “In Ha Mood.” Additionally, Ice Spice brought out rapper Sexyy Red to perform her track “Pound Town.”
After a lively performance from dance-pop artist Kim Petras, it was finally time for Friday’s headliners. Lil Uzi Vert shook things up on the Gopuff stage with hit tracks like “20 Min” and “XO Tour Llif3.”
Simultaneously, GRAMMY-winning artist Lizzo closed out the night on the Gov Ball NYC stage. Her high-energy performance included hit songs “About Damn Time” and “Truth Hurts,” as well as iconic flute solos. Lizzo dazzled in a sparkling silver outfit as she performed choreography alongside her talented backup dancers.
The energy picked back up Saturday afternoon for a second day at Governors Ball. The beginning of the day was marked by notable performances from alt-pop artist Zolita, indie rock group Lovejoy, and alt-pop singer Sarah Kinsley.
The afternoon continued with a heavenly set from Suki Waterhouse. An energetic performance from indie-rock meets pop-punk artist KennyHoopla followed, serving as a pleasant divergence from the pop-heavy lineup. KennyHoopla hyped up the crowd as he jumped into the crowd and surfed his way back to the stage.
Other standout performances throughout the day included a dreamy set by R&B artist Amber Mark, the lo-fi sounds of indie rock artist Snail Mail, and energizing dance-pop tunes from Rina Sawayama.
Back at the Gopuff Stage, GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Finneas sent chills down attendees’ spines with his soaring vocals and impeccable piano. The first K-pop group to grace the Governors Ball stages, aespa enchanted their crowd with their history-making performance. Additionally, genre-bending artist Oliver Tree had the crowd jumping up and down to his iconic alt-pop-meets-dance music.
With the night coming to a close, Lauv hit the Bacardí Stage with his hit feel-good songs like “I Like Me Better” and “i’m so tired.” Finally, Saturday at Governors Ball ended with a high-energy performance from rapper Lil Baby and a hypnotic light show and thumping bass drops from EDM duo ODESZA.
The final day of Governors ball, Sunday seemed to also be the busiest. It’s no surprise why– legendary rapper Kendrick Lamar was on the bill.
Sunday kicked off with a variety of artists, including Haiku Hands, Ella Jane, Cat Burns, and Phony Ppl. Maude Latour hooked the audience on her bouncy pop tracks, including the viral “One More Weekend.” Festival-goers packed into the Gov Ball NYC stage for rising rapper PinkPantheress. The artist came out with her signature Y2K-esque purse in hand and performed her hit song “Boys A Liar Pt. 2.”
Additional notable Sunday performances include soulful R&B singer Ari Lennox, GRAMMY-nominated rapper Pusha T, and house duo Sofi Tukker. R&B singer Giveon captivated with his suave baritone vocals and live band.
As the sun started to set, indie-pop artist girl in red and iconic Altanta-based rapper Lil Nas X closed out the Bacardí and Gopuff stages. Despite technical difficulties, Lil Nas X put on an energetic performance, including an arrival on a larger-than-life horse for “Old Town Road” and a giant metallic snake.
The crowd extended as far as the eyes could see as the lights dimmed for headliner Kendrick Lamar. The explosive performance kicked off with pyro and tracks like “N95,” “Element,” and “A.D.H.D.” Throughout his set, the multi-platinum certified artist played hit songs like “HUMBLE.,” “Money Trees,” and “LOVE.” Lamar also performed songs from his 2022 album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, including “Worldwide Steppers” and “Rich Spirit.”
Our Thoughts on Governors Ball 2023
Featuring a lineup spanning numerous genres and endless onsite fun, Governors Ball 2023 was a great way to kick off summer in N.Y.C. The festival’s new easily-accessible stomping grounds at Flushing Meadows Corona Park made attendees feel right at home. The spectacular performances, delicious local food offerings, and overall vibrant atmosphere at Governors Ball 2023 left us excited to return next year.
In the meantime, follow along with Governors Ball here. If you’re itching for more festival fun, check out the nearby Sound on Sound Music Festival in Connecticut this September. The two-day festival is produced by the makers of Gov Ball and promises a similar action-packed weekend of fun.
Check out our Governors Ball 2023 photos below!