Aren’t music festivals the greatest? Yes. They certainly are. Getting together with a bunch of friendly strangers who just want to enjoy music? It’s like paradise!

Every year, as new festivals sprout up all over the country, it is important to know which festivals are great and why so you can make an educated decision about how you’d like to spend your hard-earned cash and have the best time doing it. It’s important to know about things like security, food, booths, people, and of course the MUSIC! That’s why I’m here to review Gov Ball 4 U!!!


Since NYC is a hotspot for chaos, I was concerned that security was going to be super tight at Gov Ball. Like super tight. I was picturing metal detectors and drug-sniffing German Shepherds… the whole nine yards. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were actually quite laid back about it. They only did a once-over on the bags and a quick pat down. The kind security lady even gave me one of her own water bottles after she accidentally threw mine out!

You just have to remember not to act suspicious, and I’m sure you’ll be fine getting past security at almost any music festival. Don’t bring any guns or bombs cuz that shit just ain’t cool, man.


Normally food tents are a major attraction for me at music festivals. As always, some food tents at Gov Ball stood out much further than others. I love Mexican food, but The Taco Tent was a disappointment. The tiny tacos were $5 each (or 2/$9), but they just weren’t the big, delectable tacos I was anticipating. Another disappointment was La Sonrisa. I waited much longer than other people because they would rush to get their food out without looking at who ordered first. And after all of that, the empanadas were not as delicious as I hyped them up to be.

On the bright side, Little Muenster’s gruyere and caramelized onion grilled cheese was a heavenly treat, even though I still don’t know how to correctly pronounce “gruyere.” The Gov Ball app lied about Four Boys serving chicken fingers, so I went to Crossroads Café right next door instead and got a chicken bacon avocado ranch wrap with lettuce and no tomatoes, as well as cheesy fries. They were delicious!

During my stay in Queens, I discovered that many of the restaurants are very local, which is cool. I saw two of them just ten minutes away from the festival grounds. When it comes to festival foods, it can be hit or miss and you definitely got a bit of both at Gov Ball.


This grade is mostly because I didn’t get to go to all the booths I wanted to (I blame the rain). They did have a Silent Disco, which looked like the place to be during the rain on Friday. It seemed like they hit maximum capacity because it was a covered space, but everyone looked like they were having a blast.

There were GIF photo booths and face-painting stations, both of which I regret not going to. You could also buy a Kangol hat… if you really wanted to. The Camelbak-sponsored water stations looked fancy and provided deliciously potable water, but there were often times that the line would be crazy long and the workers moved too slow, but that’s what you get from volunteers, I guess.

My most-frequented booth was absolutely the Ben & Jerry’s booth where they gave out pins, stickers, and cups of ice cream after you finger-painted a Ben & Jerry’s board! Nothing can beat free ice cream. Nothing.


I hate making generalizations about people, but I’m going to. The people who attended Gov Ball generally sucked.

In my honest opinion, a majority of the audience came out for the singles – and the artists knew it. Right after Icona Pop played “I Love It,” everyone left. I just wish they played it first because there were way too many people NOT dancing with me to some of my favorite Icona Pop songs. The crowd loved The Lumineers, but right after they played “Ho Hey” the crowd disappeared. In this case I was glad they left, though, because I was able to get close up to hear them close with my favorite Lumineers song, “Big Parade.”

Maybe it was the rain or maybe there were just too many bodies for the small island to handle, but people were ruthless about getting to the front of the crowd when it was clearly impossible. Here’s a quick PSA that sums up my feelings: DON’T BE A DICK, JUST DANCE!*

* Shout out to all the people that didn’t take themselves too seriously and dressed in funny outfits and danced like no one’s watching and traversed the mud for their favorite artists. I love you people.

Portugal. The Man performing. Photo by Tara McHugh

Portugal. The Man performing. Photo by Tara McHugh


Even if some artists were terrible, the music is what really matters. Gov Ball ’13 had an amazing lineup and the artists did not disappoint. Well, not all of them.

ARTISTS I EXPECTED TO BE AMAZING AND THEY WERE: Beirut, Alt-J, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The xx


ARTISTS I WANTED TO SEE BUT THEY DID NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS: Kanye West (you came late and left early… rude), Kendrick Lamar (you’re so terrible live that I didn’t even recognize some of my favorite songs), Icona Pop (you talked too much and the crowd sucked, but I still love you)

ARTISTS THAT I WISH I SAW MORE OF: Of Monsters and Men, Yeasayer, Animal Collective

ARTISTS I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW, BUT YOU WERE GREAT: HAIM, Portugal. The Man, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

GOV BALL 2013: A –

My housing plans came together perfectly at the last minute, but if you’re a fan of camping out for festivals and you don’t have somewhere to crash, attending Gov Ball might even be more costly because NYC is expensive. But overall, I had a great time.

The rain put a damper on the whole weekend for everyone, so I would definitely recommend being prepared for all types of weather at any festival you attend. For people that live in the tri-state area that can’t afford to get to Bonnaroo or Coachella, Gov Ball is a perfect solution!

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