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Governors Ball 2023: Photo Gallery & Review

From Ice Spice cosplays to pickpocketers plotting in the crowd, Governors Ball has it all!

After eagerly applying since 2015, I was thrilled to finally receive approval to cover the iconic Governors Ball Music Festival, NYC’s most highly anticipated festival of the year.

This year, the festival found a new home in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, NY from June 9-11, a change that had been in the works for over a decade. As someone who has attended the festival in past years, I can confidently say that the new venue was a breath of fresh air. Previous festivals held at Citi Field pale in comparison to the new venue. Gone are the days of concrete floors and scorching sunlight; instead, attendees were treated to a more spacious layout. However, in true Gov Ball fashion, this stage layout makes sure that you get your steps in with the immense walking you do to travel from set to set.

Kicking off Day 1 at the GoPuff stage, the six-piece Queer POC group MICHELLE set the perfect tone for the weekend. The band performed their classic hits while also showcasing a new song. Their performance, complete with solo dance breaks, was a hit with the crowd, displaying the festival’s diverse lineup.

070 Shake‘s energetic set at the Bacardi Stage kept the momentum going, with fans enthusiastically joining mosh pits at her encouragement. Though different from MICHELLE’s calm and mellow set, the American rapper and singer maintained a sense of safety in between songs, ensuring that those who didn’t sign up to be in a pit got out while they could. She exclaimed not to be scared and to have fun in the mosh pits! It was a testament to the festival’s inclusive atmosphere, where fans felt free to express themselves.

American singer-songwriter Remi Wolf took the stage after 070 Shake as fans flocked to catch her set before the highly anticipated set of the night, Ice Spice. Remi’s stage presence was one to be noted as she wasn’t shy about jumping around and interacting with her fans, whom she affectionately refers to as “lizards”. Repping a New York Knicks jacket and hat, she stated she had just found out who they were and what they did that morning as she was getting dressed.

With a daily track record of 5-10 fans cosplaying as her all weekend, Bronx, NY, native Ice Spice was finally next. Although she wasn’t considered a headliner, the crowd’s excitement and turnout would convince you otherwise. The crowd’s desperation to catch a glimpse of her forced production to step in 3 times to demand that we take a step back for safety reasons. Ice had to reiterate this during her set.

Groups of shirtless men branded themselves by scribbling “MUNCH” on their chests, people were holding American flags with Ice Spice on them, and fans dawned on their best orange wigs; It was clear she was the driving force behind many fans buying tickets.

Following directly after Ice Spice, Metro Boomin prepared to close off the night. Fans of the latter remained for the set, despite the heavy downpour. Fans were dancing and singing
drenched concluding with a successful end of his set.


070 Shake

Joey Bada$$

Remi Wolf

Ice Spice

Metro Boomin

Day 2

Day 2 was filled with unexpected delights due to the electrifying energy of headliners ODESZA. Artists Lovejoy, Suki Waterhouse, Syd, Rina Sawayama, Finneas, Kenny Beats, and LAUV, delivered unforgettable sets that had fans buzzing with excitement.

The day began with a quick portrait session with bilingual singer-songwriter GALE, whose full coverage you can see here

Though the Gov Ball barricades divide the audience based on VIP and GA, many artists on stage made an effort to perform and interact with the GA sections. Artists were aware of dedicated fans in the GA crowd and ensured that their support would not go unnoticed.

Rina Sawayama was unfortunately one of the few artists who experienced technical errors throughout her set. Regardless, she endured and managed to put on a memorable show with her stage design, multiple outfit changes, and talented background dancers.

One of the standout moments of the day was Kenny Beats’ unexpected set, which drew in a massive crowd of enthusiastic fans. Unlike other artists, Kenny Beats’ invited fans onstage creating an infectious energy that had fans calling and texting friends to share the experience. This, paired with his onstage charisma, created an unforgettable day for all audience members.

As the day drew to a close, I found myself eagerly anticipating the headline set by ODESZA. The duo’s performance, complete with stunning visuals and pyrotechnics, was nothing short of mesmerizing. It was a fitting end to an incredible day filled with music, laughter, and memories that would last a lifetime.


Suki Waterhouse


Rina Sawayama


Kenny Beats



Day 3

Day 3 brought a unique atmosphere to Governors Ball, as the fatigue of attendees who had been enjoying the festival since day one began to set in. Despite this, the anticipation for the headliner, Kendrick Lamar, was palpable throughout the day.

There were some concerns among festival-goers about the behavior of certain attendees, particularly those who were eagerly awaiting Lamar’s performance.

Unfortunately, there were instances of theft reported by some attendees, including myself. It was disheartening to have my entire camera set-up stolen while leaving early from Lamar’s set. The loss of valuable equipment and content was a setback, but it did not overshadow the outstanding performances and overall experience of the festival.

Despite these challenges, the day was not without its highlights. Starting the day with Pink Pantheress set a vibrant tone, despite the presence of some less-than-desirable behavior in the crowd. Sabrina Claudio and girl in red both delivered captivating performances, showcasing their talent and connecting with their fans on a personal level.

As the time for Kendrick Lamar’s set approached, there was a mix of excitement and apprehension among fans. Some debated whether it was worth braving the crowds to secure a good spot, while others eagerly queued up in anticipation.

Once Lamar took the stage, however, any concerns were quickly forgotten as the focus shifted to his music. His iconic songs and dynamic stage presence had the crowd electrified, with mosh pits forming and fans singing along with enthusiasm.

While there were moments of tension and challenges throughout the day, the festival came to a close with Lamar’s performance, it was a reminder of the resilience and unity of the music community, despite the occasional setbacks.

Governors Ball stands as a cherished tradition, offering music lovers in NYC a unique and unforgettable experience year after year. As one of the city’s premier music festivals, it holds a special place in the hearts of attendees, signaling the start of the summer season. With each passing year, we eagerly await the next installment of Gov Ball, knowing that it will bring together diverse artists and passionate fans for another incredible celebration of music and community.

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