It was an abbreviated last day of Governors Ball. Due to thunderstorms, the gates were delayed until 6:30 that evening and after only a few hours of music, an emergency was declared and all festivalgoers were ordered to evacuate.
A majority of performer’s sets had been canceled, while those that remained had their times pushed out and shortened. Lily Allen was one of the first shows of the day and greeted the crowd while a recording of people chanting “Lily! Lily! Lily Fuckin Allen” played in the background. She opened with “Come On Then” and showed off her custom designed, pink power suit embroidered with the NHS logo, a pint, a dog and flowers. It was a warm and humid afternoon and Allen debated taking off the jacket of her suit and realized the sheer, lace top underneath would reveal everything. She took it off anyway and performed the rest of her set fashionably exposed. Lyrically, Allen is extremely open and exposed as her lyrics are largely non-fiction and her obscured nudity lent itself to the performance. When she sang, “Oh why can’t I rewind/ who did I offend/ cause I can be unkind” from the unreleased “Party Line” the listeners were able to soak in all of Allen’s vulnerabilities. She closed with “Fuck You” and slipped on her jacket and red-bottomed shoes before waving and thanking the crowd for coming to her short set.
The crowd slowly continued on to the American Eagle stage where Canadian electronica duo Bob Moses performed. Their original set, slated to go for an hour, was cut down to 30 minutes and both Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance used their time to play as many songs as they could. Their James Blake meets Breakbeat sound pulsated within the tent as they played “Nothing But You” and “Like It Or Not.”
The unexpected last act for the night was Nas. He started his set with “Get Down” and over the course of his performance, he shuffled through songs both old and new. The crowd erupted when he played “N.Y. State of Mind” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” even though Lauryn Hill wasn’t there. Festivalgoers danced and sang, “Life’s a bitch then you die/ that’s why we get high” from “Life’s a Bitch.” On “The World is Yours” Nas blended jazz piano with astute, political lyrics. “Classical audience here’s some classical music,” he said before pictures and videos of children played in the background and he performed “I Can.” The entirety of his set was a journey into Nas’s mastery of writing. He songs are accessible without being vacuous. To listen to Nas is to be informed and he challenges the listener’s views of the world and emboldens them into looking deeper into social and political conventions. Towards the end of the set, the rain slowly and steadily picked up, but he revived the crowd when he brought out rapper Dave East for “Forbes List” and Havoc from Mobb Deep for “Eye For An Eye.” He closed with “One Mic” shortly before the rest of the festival was canceled.
After Nas, blue screens lit up the video monitors over the stages and instructed people to evacuate quickly and safely. Chaos ensued as hoards of people threw bottles and trash at stage managers pleading with people to leave, teenagers destroyed art installations and stampeded over gates to get out and off the island.
Photo Credit Sharon Alagna