Road Trip Time: Governors Ball Brings Kanye, Kings of Leon and The Lumineers to NYC

If you haven’t heard about Governors Ball Music Festival until now, you may want to adjust your summer schedule and clear June 7, 8 and 9. Music festivals like Osheaga in Montreal and Coachella in California are a favourite pastime of many Canadian young professionals (YPs), offering a chance to watch a gathering of favourite artists, sans an overcrowded indoor concert hall or arena, and party like our parents did once upon a time. Last year saw the emergence of another player on the summer music festival scene. Now in its third year, Governors Ball is all the buzz in New York City. This isn’t a surprise considering the festival features acts like Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Guns n Roses and The Lumineers, plus hot up-and-comers, all coupled with some of NYC’s most delicious handpicked culinary options.

With the festival on Randall’s Island in NYC – a short road trip or Porter Airlines flight from Montreal and Toronto – we thought we would give you the lowdown on the festival from Jordan Wolowitz himself, one of the partners of Founders Entertainment, the group that founded Governors Ball. Along with his associates, fellow YPs Tom Russell and Yoni Reisman, Wolowitz and Founders Entertainment are making a major mark on the outdoor music scene with Governors Ball. Here is why:

What is Governors Ball all about?
We are the premiere New York City music festival that features some of the best acts in entertainment and performance art today. Featuring contemporary music, we have a similar urban vibe to something like Osheaga.

What should guests be most excited about?
Everything. We have an amazing lineup of artists from different genres, from Kanye to Kings of Leon, along with some great up-and-comers. We also have some of New York’s finest food trucks along with other things to see and do like art installations. The after parties will be really fun, too.

Which artists are generating the most buzz?
Well, of course a lot of people are excited about the bigger name acts, but there are also other artists who have been riding a pretty big wave for the past nine months, like Of Monsters and Men, who are selling a lot of records and blowing up social media.

Which artists are you most excited to see?
All of them. I have a big role in the curation process of the festival and handpick and book all of the acts – so I am genuinely a big fan of all of them.

Do you have any emerging artists on your radar?
A lot of the young acts. I think there are big things in store for St. Lucia, Reignwolf, Wild Nothing, Moon Hooch and Robert Delong, just to name a few.

What was your inspiration to start the festival?
I grew up in the industry and have worked different roles in the industry to some capacity – from being a music critic for my college paper to working at a record company and for a top tier booking agency – so I have been exposed to all sides of the business. I was most inspired by the live side of the music scene and noticed a void in the festival world; we needed something in New York City.


Greatest challenge?
It is difficult to answer this question because we are still relatively new, with Founders Entertainment being only in its third year. The first two years were smaller and the main focus was to get our name out there. We obviously needed to compete in a huge market in the indie world, in the most competitive city of the entertainment world.

How did you market yourself?
We do most of our marketing online. Ninety percent of our advertising budget is spent online. We use resources like YouTube, Google advertising or Facebook. We really utilize social media, especially since many of our acts appeal to a younger demographic of 16-30 year-olds that literally live online.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Being the first people to have a festival like this in New York.

Enough said. Check out Governors Ball yourself with fun road trip or overdue girls or guys weekend to kick off the warm weather and set the stage for what will surely be an epic summer.

Find more information on the festival, artists, eats and after parties here.

Images courtesy of The Governors Ball