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Posted Jun 9th, 2015 (12:06 pm) by James Hughes
Governors Ball Music Festival 2015: Day 1
Image by Bethany Rees/DOLA Photography

Back again for another weekend on New York City’s Randall’s Island for Governors Ball 2015. The Big Apple bash brought in a large crowd for the fifth year’s inaugural day, and, as many would soon realize, the day one fans were there to see the two big stage headliners – Drake and My Morning Jacket.

Starting off with a Brooklyn subway trek, that I would later come to realize will encompass most of my days, Governors Ball 2015 started off with rain and an excited crowd. Highlights from day one included Future, Benjamin Booker, Florence + The Machine, Ratatat, Drake, Charlie XCX, Chromeo, The Decemberists, ODESZA, People Under The Stairs, and My Morning Jacket.

Governors Ball packed the island with a diverse lineup of acts popping up throughout the day. Day one’s lineup power had fans running from stage to stage; while many chose to forgo seeing acts all together to claim their spot in the front row for Friday headliners, My Morning Jacket and Drake.

With a sea of even parts sun dress, OVO hat, and just a pinch of Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, the hunt for the day’s first show began sadly through; I missed the end of The People Under the Stairs' show. In my depressed state, I needed to be cheered up by what I would come to know as my favorite food choice of all at Governors Ball – The Momofuku Milk Bar. Serving an array of cookies and other confectionery concoctions, the NYC based milk bar stand was serving up chilled pints of cereal milk. For under 10 dollars I grabbed myself a sweet and thick cookie and a glass of milk. Comfort food like that does the mind and the body good for a long day in the sun.

Finding my way over to the covered driving range, evident by the rampant number of golf balls embedded in the ground, Benjamin Booker led off the early run with a grungy, punk rock style that was suitable for pulling people’s attention away from the weather. Performing on the Big Apple stage, away from the other main stages, Booker's sound was not flooded with background bass and crowd noise produced by the other performances. While I headed over to the GOVBALLNYC stage for the Chromeo set, I did oBut, for the instance of time I proceeded over to hear the Atlanta-based rapper, Future, so I could find a worthwhile spot for the Chromeo set on the GOVBALLNYC Stage.

The Montreal born and New York based, Chromeo, put on an electro funk show for all the lovers of the zombie that is disco. The highlight of the set was a surprise cameo from Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend for a collaborative cover of the long lost band’s track “A Punk.” This surprise hopefully means that Vampire Weekend will return from their long touring hiatus.

As the set closed out, many fans flooded away from the main stage, but many knew it was only a mere five hours until Drake hit the stage. That being said, ODESZA was ready to go over at the Gotham stage, and fans were showing up. The positive energy from the young pair of producers was consistent and no one was leaving early.

In an almost underrated fashion, Governors Ball scheduled the early show to be the skyrocketing star that is Florence + The Machine. The rock band brought a joyful, yet powerful, presence on the stage. During the middle of the show, a young woman was called upon to join Florence + The Machine on stage due to her sign which simply said “HUGS.” The crowd propped up the woman and surfed her to the front to share a smile and embrace with Florence + The Machine’s lead guitar player Robert Ackroyd and lead singer Florence Welch. Florence + The Machine played until sunset, which provided a beautiful backdrop for the set’s finale.

Now, one would think that when a show finishes that the crowd would disperse…that was not the case here. Fans bull rushed to the front for the opportunity to be as close as possible to the Young Money emcee. The crash to the boards forced a cramped couple hours waiting for the set to start, and not a single fan was looking to give a single inch of leeway. The front row experience is a hell of a time, but does come with it’s own set of challenges.

The OVO General entered the stage on his best behavior, providing fans with tastes from his new album If You're Reading This It's Too Late as well as some hot throwbacks. Tracks like "Energy" and "10 Bands" were crowd favorites. I found myself in the middle of two avid fans who knew the word to every song, which made me appreciate the fans of Drake just a little bit more. Drake's popularity brought many fair-weather fans to the main stage show as well. The tickets for the Friday show were priced at a single day for $200, compared to the $100 price tag for days two and three.

With a cavalcade of fireworks, Drake exited the stage and the day was over. All of us in attendance left for wherever home was ready to return another day. I snagged a final Compost Cookie for the road to cap off the night. Check out IYS for more coverage from Governors Ball 2015.

Photography by Bethany Rees/DOLA Photography

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