It’s a wonder Governors Ball went on as long as it did last night (June 7). New York’s Randall’s Island was flooded, festival-goers were up to their knees in mud in some areas, and the storm continued to rage overhead.
Those who braved the at-times dangerous conditions were likely doing so in order to catch Kings of Leon’s first U.S. festival set in some time. (By the looks of it how it played out, the band had planned to play up yesterday’s announcement of new album Mechanical Bull during the set. They’ll make up their Gov Ball set Saturday at 6:45, and Friday tickets will be honored; the also rained-out Pretty Lights, however, will not play today.) Just minutes before KoL’s 9:30 performance, however, the organizers behind the expanding fest called it off, via Twitter and an update to their mobile app, citing “high winds and unsafe stage conditions.” Some attendees got the message immediately, quickly swarming the buses back to the mainland, but others were not as aware. After an entire day of consistent storming (including a flash flood warming for the NYC area), why then would they finally cancel?
An insider source tells Radio.com that Governors Ball organizers fought tooth and nail with NYC Parks Dept. all day long regarding Friday’s shutdown, trying to prolong it as long as possible. Unlike the weather-related shutdown of Brooklyn’s Great Googa Mooga fest shutdown last month – which came prematurely to preserve the condition of Prospect Park – there’s little doubt that Randall’s Island took a beating last night. By the end of the day, it was downright dangerous.
At the conclusion of day one, it was clear who the big winner was: not the bands, not the attendees (shout-out if you caught a cold last night), but rather, the dudes selling ponchos. Leave it to crafty New Yorkers to capitalize on unprepared festival-goers, using keen intuition (OK, they checked the weather forecast) to tally up as much money as the vendors inside the gates of Randall’s Island.
Posted up outside the entrance where the incoming crowd was being dropped off by buses or shuttles, “dryness vendors” sold ponchos for $5 a pop. From a look at the crowd at Governors Ball, the majority of them opened their wallets to get one. Sweet Leaf Tea and Miller Lite ponchos began to make an appearance as the rain and wind picked up during the day, but not before the freelance vendors in the parking lot raked in the dough.