Governors Ball 2021 Preview

The return of the big music festivals comes to the Big Apple with Governors Ball, which returns to Randall’s Island Friday-Sunday, September 24th to 26th....
Governors Ball
Governors Ball

The return of the big music festivals comes to the Big Apple with Governors Ball, which comes to the home of The Mets, CitiField, Friday-Sunday, September 24th to 26th:



GOVBALLNYC Stage presented by Verizon


Billie Eilish, 8:45 PM

Just try to catch electro-pop sensation Billie Eilish (QRO photos at a festival), who turned a lot of heads and hips with her debut single “Ocean Eyes” and EP Don’t Smile at Me, and then debuting at #1 in 2019 with the hit “Bad Guy” and WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (QRO’s #1 Album of 2020, duh). She has since become one of, if not the, biggest stars on the planet (QRO photos), from the No Time To Die Bond theme song (QRO review) to playing the Democratic Convention with “My Future”. “Future”, fellow single “Therefore I Am” (QRO review), and much more came together this year for killer follow-up Happier Than Ever (which also saw Eilish go blonde) (QRO photos at a festival).

COVID canned her massive tour last year, so it’s been rescheduled for next year, and in the meantime she did some great livestreams (QRO photos at a taping), but before that, just watch out for her hordes of screaming female fans (QRO photos) as she returns to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) to headline.

Billie Eilish

Kehlani, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Kehlani Parrish (QRO photos at a festival) first got notice as part of America’s Got Talent finalist teen pop group PopLyfe, but then made her own name with two killer mixtapes, 2014’s Cloud 19 and 2015’s You Should Be Here. More importantly, she’s released two great records, 2017’s SweetSexySavage and last year’s It Was Good Until It Wasn’t, now returning to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival).


Leon Bridges, 3:50 PM – 4:40 PM

Leon Bridges’ (QRO live review) afternoon set will be one of the more popular ones on the first day of Governors Ball (QRO live review). With his debut “Coming Home” and old school voice, the Texan (QRO live review) was compared to Sam Cooke and Otis Reading. He comes to New York City (QRO photos at a festival) behind this year’s Gold-Diggers Sound.

Leon Bridges

Tate McRae, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

While Tate McCrae first got notice at the tender age of thirteen by being the first Canadian finalist on America’s So You Think You Can Dance, but we also think she can sing, thanks to viral hits “One Day” and “You Broke Me First”, even last year getting on Forbes magazine’s precious ‘30 Under 30’ list.



Laundry Day, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Tate McRae

Bacardí Stage


Portugal. The Man, 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Governors Ball draws from very farther up north with Alaska/Portland’s Portugal. The Man (QRO photos at a festival). The rambling grunge outfit garnered new fans with 2007 sophomore release Church Mouth (QRO review), and its unhinged alt-rock (QRO live review), though slipped somewhat since then, even while finally playing Europe (QRO photos at a European festival) and becoming a festival favorite (QRO photos at a festival).

Their major label debut In the Mountain In the Cloud (QRO review) was more psych-lite, but they still bring it live (QRO live review), and even went Down Under (QRO photos at a festival) after 2013’s release of follow-up Evil Friends (QRO review), hitting both the festival circuit (QRO photos at a 2013 festival) and live gigs (QRO 2013 live review). They come to Tampa (QRO photos at a festival) touring 2017’s hit Woodstock (QRO review), which has vaunted them in popularity (QRO photos at a 2018 festival) thanks to big, Grammy-winning hit, “Feel It Still”. Now they’re back on the road (QRO photos at a festival just before everything shut down) and returning to Governors Ball for a third time (QRO photos at a festival).

Portugal. The Man

Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, 4:40 PM – 5:30 PM

Originally from Gary, Indiana (QRO photos in Middle America – hey, that’s the same hometown as the Jackson clan…), Freddie Gibbs (QRO photos at a festival) has been compared to none other than Tupac Shakur – and even got shot at outside of Rough Trade NYC (QRO venue review) to boot! He comes back to Governors Ball behind last year’s Grammy-nominated Alfredo, his second team-up with The Alchemist, who he brings with him to the festival.

Freddie Gibbs


Sasha Alex Sloan, 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

99 Neighbors, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Loony, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM

Sasha Sloan

Honda Stage


RÜFÜS DU SOL, 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM

Sydney’s RÜFÜS DU SOL – a group, not a person – come back over to Governors Ball (after having to cancel last year) behind 2018’s Solace, which ‘only’ hit #2 in their native Australia, unlike prior Aussie chart-toppers 2016’s Bloom and 2013’s Atlas.


Future Islands, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Baltimore’s Future Islands (QRO photos at a festival) play a highly acclaimed, darker form of synth-pop (QRO photos at a festival) as they come back to Governors Ball (QRO photos at Governors Ball ’15) as they finally hit the road (QRO 2021 photos) behind last year year’s As Long as You Are.

Future Islands

EARTHGANG, 3:50 PM – 4:40 PM

Atlanta hip hop duo EARTHGANG (QRO photos) is rappers Olu (a.k.a. Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (a.k.a. Doctur Dot). They released a trio of EPs before 2019’s acclaimed Mirrorland, and finally come to Governors Ball (after having to cancel last year) with word of new LP Ghetto Gods.



Bartees Strange, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Bankrol Hayden, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Bartees Strange

GrubHub Stage


24kGoldn, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Things look golden for trap rapper 24kGoldn, who rode the success of hit single “Valentino” and recently “Mood” to this year’s debut full-length, El Dorado.


Orville Peck, 4:40 PM – 5:30 PM

While it’ll likely be hot at CitiField in this global warming extended summer, don’t expect the unknown cowboy Orville Peck to take off his signature fringe mask, which has gotten him a ton of attention. So, check out Peck live to see whether or not he’s all mask, no cattle…

Orville Peck


Odie, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

RMR, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Forgivers, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM







GOVBALLNYC Stage presented by Verizon


A$AP Rocky, 8:45 PM

Governors Ball has always had the beats & rhymes, such as this year with A$AP Rocky (QRO photos at an NYC festival), of the acclaimed A$AP Mob – so expect shouts for schwag (QRO photos at a festival) as he comes to the festival (QRO photos at a festival), after the international incident of his arrest in Sweden (Trump got involved…).

A$AP Rocky

Megan Thee Stallion, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

From freestyling on Instagram to massive success for thee Megan Thee Stallion. She had a hit mixtape, 2019’s Fever, hit EP, last year’s Suga, hit LP, last year’s Good News. Her “Savage (Remix)”, featuring Beyoncé, was a number one hit, as was the song that got everyone hot, when she was featured on Cardi B’s one-and-only “WAP”. Grammy winner for Best New Artist, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, catch her on the big stage, but get there early, as you know there’s going to be a so-big-she-should-be-headlining crowd.

Megan Thee Stallion

Bleachers, 3:50 PM – 4:40 PM

Once upon a time just the guitarist from fun. (QRO live review), Jack Antonoff launched his own indie-pop side-project, Bleachers (QRO photos at a festival) that has quickly become his ‘main’ gig – when he’s not producing pop hits for the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde, St. Vincent & more. He returns to Governors Ball for a third time, behind the recent Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night (QRO review).



Charlotte Lawrence, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Chiiild, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Charlotte Lawrence

Bacardí Stage


Phoebe Bridgers, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Nobody in music has had as good a COVID pandemic as Phoebe Bridgers (QRO photos from just before everything shut down). Bridgers already had critical acclaim with records like Stranger in the Alps (QRO Top Albums of 2017), and a great team-up with Conor Oberst (QRO photos together) as Better Oblivion Community Center (QRO photos) on their 2019 self-titled record (QRO review), plus her supergroup boygenius with Julien Baker & Lucy Dacus.

But last year’s Punisher (QRO review) launched her into the stratosphere. Basically the favorite record by everyone you have a crush on (except for the hilariously self-depreciating Bridgers herself), songs like “I See You” (QRO review), “I Know the End” (QRO review), and “Savior Complex” (QRO review) all broke your heart – if not in-person, than in videos (like the “Savior” one directed by her near-namesake Phoebe Waller-Bridge) on TV (QRO review of “I Know the End” on TV). We all were desperate to see her live, whether in her trademark skeleton onesie in a livestream (QRO livestream review) or in her pajamas from home. So, maybe you didn’t see her when (QRO photos from 2017), but catch her now as her tour (QRO 2021 live review) comes to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a 2021 festival).

Phoebe Bridgers

King Princess, 4:40 PM – 5:30 PM

The one of the latest finds by big-name producer Mark Ronson is twenty-year-old Mikaela Straus, a.k.a. King Princess (QRO photos at a festival), so catch her on her king-sized couch (QRO photos at a festival), as she returns to her second Governors Ball in a row behind 2019’s debut full-length Cheap Queen.

King Princess

A R I Z O N A, 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

Actually from New Jersey, A R I Z O N A have rocketed up in the electro-pop scene, from opening gigs & festivals to headlining tours & 2019’s sophomore full-length, Asylum (QRO review). Now they play Governors Ball after having to cancel last year.



Breland, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Nation of Language, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM


Honda Stage


J Balvin, 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM

The first Latin artist to headline American festivals like Lollapalooza & Coachella, Colombia ‘Principe del Reggaetón’ sensation J Balvin is a true crossover hit. Like his number one single says, “I Like It”.

J Balvin

Big Thief, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

It takes a lot for a band to name their album Masterpiece – their debut, in fact. But Brooklyn indie-folksters Big Thief (QRO photos outdoors in Brooklyn) pulled it off, and come to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a 2021 festival) behind 2019’s acclaimed fourth record, Two Hands, after they were supposed to play last year.

Big Thief

Pink Sweat$, 3:50 PM – 4:40 PM

Philly singer & songwriter Pink Sweat$ is making this a Pink Planet, playing Governors Ball after having to cancel last year.

Pink Sweat$

MUNA, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

The electro-pop of MUNA (QRO photos) Saves the World, coming back to Governors Ball after having to cancel last year (QRO photos from 2019), while on tour with Phoebe Bridgers (see above).



Oliver Malcolm, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM


GrubHub Stage


Aminé, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

The young rapper Aminé (QRO photos at a festival) has already had a hit single in “Caroline”, and comes to back to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) behind last year’s sophomore album Limbo.


Cordae, 4:40 PM – 5:30 PM

Formerly YBN Cordae of the YBN collective, ahead-of-his-time rapper Cordae comes to Governors Ball as we await From a Birds Eye View, his follow-up to 2019 debut studio album The Lost Boy.



The Brothers Macklovitch, 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

Mike, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Sarah Barrios, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM

The Brothers Macklovitch






GOVBALLNYC Stage presented by Verizon


Post Malone, 8:45 PM

While he is perhaps best known for being a breakout hip-hop artist (or his many, many face tattoos), Post Malone (QRO photos) traffics in many genres. He comes back to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) now as a massive headliner, having made the long climb like his hit “Circles”. Post Malone tops the main stage (QRO photos at a festival) off of 2019’s Hollywood’s Bleeding.

Post Malone

21 Savage, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Atlanta’s 21 Savage (QRO photo at a festival) became known off the back of two mixtapes, The Slaughter Tape and Slaughter King, and his EPs with Metro Boomin, Free Guwop and Savage Mode. But then he won the Grammy for Best Rap Song last year with “A Lot”, and his sequel collaboration with Metro Boomin, Savage Mode II came out to critical & commercial acclaim.

21 Savage

Burna Boy, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Nigerian crossover success Burna Boy is both a critical and commercial star. His Afro-fusion dancehall is Twice As Tall, and was recently both the first African artist to be nominated for a Grammy in back-to-back years, and this year won the Grammy for Best World Music Album.

Burna Boy

Princess Nokia, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Get ready for the in-your-face hip-hop of Princess Nokia, including crowdsurfing and shirt removing (QRO live review, with both), because for her, Everything Sucks and Everything Is Beautiful.



Teamarrr, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Princess Nokia

Bacardí Stage


Young Thug, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Atlanta’s Young Thug (QRO photos at a festival) gained major recognition in 2014 with hit singles “About the Money” and “Lifestyle”, plus mixtapes I’m Up and Slime Season 3. He’s risen further & further, like featuring on “Havana” by Camila Cabello, to being award the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2019 for “This Is America”. While we wait for sophomore full-length Punk, see him play Governors Ball.

Young Thug

Dominic Fike, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Dominic Fike initially came out of Florida thanks to some songs on SoundCloud, and since then has gone on to work with the likes of Halsey and Brockhampton, headlined a concert series in the video game Fortnite, and even contributed a cover of Paul McCartney’s “The Kiss of Venus” for this year’s McCartney III Imagined.

Dominic Fike


Umi, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Amaarae, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Mazie, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM


Honda Stage


Ellie Goulding, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

One of the hottest breakthroughs has been London’s Ellie Goulding (QRO photos at a festival), who went from being unknown to playing the likes of Saturday Night Live and even the royal wedding (QRO photos in the British Isles)! She’s moved on up in terms of venue size (QRO photos) & stage size (QRO photos on a side stageQRO photos on a main stage), so catch her while you can (QRO live review). She comes to Governors Ball after having to cancel last year, behind last year’s Brightest Blue and single “Love I’m Given” (QRO review), returning to the big stage (QRO photos at Madison Square Garden), so come see “Lights” (QRO video).

Ellie Goulding

Carly Rae Jepsen, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Three words: “Call Me Maybe”. With that song, the third-place finisher of the 2007 season of Canadian Idol (the version where even the Simon Cowell clone is polite) reached massive fame, with what became the best-selling single worldwide in 2012. Carly Rae Jepsen (QRO photos at a festival) is still a pop star, but one of those alt-Canadian ones – the kind who’d be on Broadway in Cinderella. She comes to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) after having to cancel last year, behind both 2019’s Dedicated and last year’s Dedicated Side B.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Duck Sauce, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Remixologist Armand Van Helden teamed up with A-Trak (QRO photos at a festival) as Duck Sauce. Under the hip-hop electronic mogul of Fool’s Gold Records, the disco savvy producers have released the hits of “aNYway” & “Barbara Streisand”, and now return to Governors Ball (QRO photos at Governors Ball ‘12).

Duck Sauce

BJ the Chicago Kid, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

From, yes, Chicago, BJ the Chicago Kid (QRO photos at a festival) has worked with everyone from Kendrick to Kanye. He comes to little ol’ NYC (QRO photos at a festival) behind 2019’s 1123.

BJ the Chicago Kid


Riz La Vie, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Riz La Vie

GrubHub Stage


Jamie xx, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

One-third of The xx (QRO photos at Governors Ball ’13), Jamie xx has also been making his own (first) name in DJing & production circles, especially at festivals (QRO photos at a festival), like returning for another solo set at NYC’s Governors Ball (QRO photos in NYC).

Jamie xx

Smino, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

The founder of the musical collective Zero Fatigue, St. Louis rapper Smino comes to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a Midwest festival) behind 2018’s NØIR.


Caroline Polachek, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Late-2000s New York City had its own wave, including numerous dreamy acts, with one of the best in Chairlift (QRO photos at a festival) in records such as 2012’s Something (QRO review). Since they ended in 2016, singer Caroline Polachek has forged her own dreamy career, including 2019 debut Pang and coming on her own to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a 2021 festival).

Caroline Polachek


Faye Webster, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Yeek, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM

Faye Webster



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