Governors Ball 2022 Recap

Governors Ball returned big at CitiField for 2022....
Governors Ball 2022
Governors Ball 2022
Governors Ball 2022

Last year, New York City and the world was trying to reopen after the long COVID lockdown, and that included the return of the Big Apple’s Governors Ball, now at CitiField (home of the currently #1 Mets). While in ’21 the festival was still delayed until September (like many festivals), this year it returned to its regular early June slot, Friday-Sunday, 10th-12th. There were only three main stages this year, but still lots of music, lots of sponsors, and lots of kids.

In this strange, post-pandemic world, TikTok has proven its power, and for three days Gov Ball ‘22 felt like a celebration of its most trending stars. Even J. Cole dominated the social media app with his classic hit, “She Knows”, and Becky G was more than happy to thank the platform for making her old song, “Shower”, a current hit. Thus, more than ever, the festival’s opening acts were a powerful platter of upcoming tastes/ tastemakers.

Governors Ball 2022 Friday

Julia Wolf

From Samia to Julia Wolf, introspective rock felt like the prime serving of Gov Ball’s first day; inadvertently, declaring that the future of music comes with chill chords and a lot of self-analysis. Opening the festival, which is never easy, Plastic Picnic set an admirable tone at the main GovBallNYC Stage. They are a band that 100% proves being considered “one to watch” or “on the rise” in no way means you do not know your sound or what makes you watchable. They truly are a great band.

Blu DeTiger

Even if you only knew Blu DeTiger from appearing with Bleachers on Saturday Night Live, it only prepped her to be the lead in her own music. She swung her guitar like a hammer on the Gopuff Stage and was giving pure Courtney Love “Celebrity Skin” vibes. It was awesome and matched the very rocker energy of Friday.


There are certain artists that, from their beginning, capture the internet. They captivate a portion of it because they totally encompass a certain aesthetic and vibe. Watching beabadoobee on the GovBallNYC Stage was like listening to all your fave, ‘90s rom-com soundtracks, 10 Things I Hate About You or She’s All That. She is perfectly vintage and fresh, all at once, and garnered one of the biggest crowds in Gov’s three days.

Channel Tres

Being groovy is hard work, but Channel Tres brought a disco flavor to the Governors Ball ‘22. He was one of the funniest acts of all three days, in part, because he music felt like the lightest in every way. Next to Becky G, he had one of the most danced to sets, hands in the air, great bass lines. Though his Gopuff Stage might have been a bit too close to the Bacardí Stage when JPEGMafia took to that, but the sonic bleed did create a neat juxtaposition in styles, Tres’ more dance-party compared to JPEG’s harder edge.


A notable import for Gov Ball ’22 was Skepta, and at the Gopuff Stage one could have thought you were going to see The King of London Grime. Yet, he has changed in sound and style; giving Drake a run for his R&B laced rhythms. Meanwhile on the Bacardí Stage, The Knocks were playing their first festival since COVID, mixing DJing other people’s hits (such as Len’s “Steal My Sunshine”) with their own.

The Knocks
Black Pumas

Like Black Pumas on the GovBallNYC Stage, there are certain artists that are a guarantee. They never give a bad show, and whether or not you know their work is irrelevant to the fact that you will like their show. Quinn XCII is one of those artists, and, to his die-hard fans, he was the ultimate “feel good” performer at the Gopuff Stage.

Quinn XCII
A$AP Ferg

In the week running up to Governors Ball ’22, hip-hop super-trio Migos cancelled (amid rumors that they are going to break-up), but the festival was able to get a replacement in Lil Wayne. Yet, in a direct parallel to him canceling the day of at NYC’s Panorama in ‘18 (QRO recap), he had “flight delay” which cause another cancellation – only for Governors Ball to get another replacement in A$AP Ferg, announced only an hour-and-a-half before his GovBallNYC Stage appearance, and the local had a pretty impressive delivery, all things considered.

Jack Harlow

While his start at the Bacardí Stage was late, there was a huge crowd for Louisville hit Jack Harlow. He has gotten very big, thanks to being able to both give off a goofy & accessible atmosphere, but also harder slinging harder rhymes. Plus, fire…

Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi

You cannot defeat Mr. Rager, and to a few lucky fans in the front row of the GovBallNYC Stage, the apparent sighting of Timothée Chamalet rocking to Kid Cudi’s set was like a peach for their soul. In a way, Cudi was the perfect, opening headliner for Governors Ball 2022. Its most varied line-up, Kid Cudi’s music spans genres, aesthetics, and, ultimately, vibes.

Timothée Chamalet

Governors Ball 2022 Saturday

With such a perfect opening day, Saturday at Gov Ball ‘22 had a high bar to reach. Since Astroworld, festivals have a certain nervousness and quietness to them because no one goes to a music event to feel or become unsafe. The smoothness of one of the biggest festivals of the year was super impressive, and matched a lineup that was equally serene and entertaining. There were moments of light rain this day, but nothing that came close to serious.

Tom Odell

Being the “Piano Guy” of a festival is really hard. For however much you “rock out” in front of a keyboard, it is not too often that you don’t look like a man jiggling in place. Yet, Tom Odell’s voice and presence always reverberates with love and nostalgia at the Bacardí Stage. One of the openers, he set the tone that Saturday’s lineup was for the lovelorn.

Gus Dapperton

While Gus Dapperton was on the Bacardí Stage, his fellow collaborator, Benee, was on the GovBallNYC Stage at the same time, but both proved that being the biggest personality, in a room, does not mean you cannot be the biggest personality in a parking lot turned stage. Known for his eclectic style, next to Joji, Gus was a favorite.

Tove Lo

Fierce is an understatement, and freeing the nip seems necessary for a Tove Lo show. I have yet to see her perform without going topless and serving you a show that makes you feel so free and feisty, you could join Cobra Kai. Yet, Gopuff Stage became her prime opportunity, between costuming and lighting, to show she is truly a pop star.


Of certain note when looking at the Gov Ball ’22 line-up is Diesel, a.k.a. a DJ set at the Bacardí Stage by the one-and-only Shaq. Admit it, you want to see the NBA legend (and Kazaam) spinning at the tables. The giant had his personal unabashed enthusiasm, didn’t skimp on hits & beats, and even repeatedly demanded a mosh pit (can you imagine seeing Shaq in your mosh pit?…). And he’s actually a pretty good DJ, with harder, bigger beats (the kind that you can mosh to).

Still Woozy

One of the surprisingly favorite acts, Still Woozy has gained a cult following through his bombastic energy and heartbreak croons. Seeing him live on the GovBallNYC Stage, one got “woozied” as he proved that Governors Ball has become one of the best places for rising acts to show why they will soon be festival headliners.

Chelsea Cutler

Another rising star was at the Gopuff Stage in Chelsea Cutler, who nicely started out by announcing, “I know it’s early, but I need you all to jump as high as you can!” She noted that the last time she was supposed to play Governors Ball, it rained, but this time the drops held off. The hometown girl got the crowd to meet their neighbors, asked her fans to sing at the top of their lungs, and even asked those dragged to the fest by their significant others (or just waiting for Flume) to enjoy. She brought a nice mix of up-pop and downbeat feelings, like enjoying “Sad Tonight”.


When it comes to loyal fans, you cannot beat the Joji’s at the Gopuff Stage. Readying for a new tour. Joji showed that he is more confident than ever in his lax, rocker style. Emanating an aura of calm and chaos, he oddly embodied the emotional range of the day.


Unfortunately, Roddy Ricch’s set at the GovBallNYC Stage was cancelled, only announced halfway through when it should have happened. Rumors flew, but apparently it was that the good ol’ NYPD had arrested him upon arriving for having a gun in his car, only for the charges to be subsequently dropped later that day.


Before Day Two’s leadingest lady came Ashnikko on the Bacardí Stage, with her own great kiss-off woman-first attitude from this “Working Bitch”. Just her up there with a DJ, you might have thought that she would have needed a band behind her for stage presence, but pulled it off (extra points to great outfit).


The “Halsey Heads” were out to play for her headlining GovBallNYC Stage performance, and ready to sing in full-voice, how they were “bad at love.” Performing “So Good” for the first time, live, Halsey showed that she one of the best, thematic entertainers out there. This time, she gave rocker edge (including covering Kate Bush’s both-classic-and-of-this-moment “Running Up That Hill”), and for Saturday’s lovelorn theme, it was perfect.

Gov Ball

Governors Ball 2022 Sunday

Out of all three of Governors Ball 2022 schedules, Sunday felt like the most excited for the headliner. In essence, the J. Cole t-shirts were abound, and while fans of Becky G or Playboi Carti were there. The day was filled with anticipation for him, and a devout appreciation for the phenomenal performances that came before.

Soccer Mommy

Angst is growing, and that means so is the sound. Even if you’d seen Soccer Mommy a few times, at the Bacardí Stage might have been the first time you felt her edge and boiling lyrics on life’s frustrations feel more heated. Like Halsey and Blu DeTiger, the future of women in music feels pulsing with power and emotional release.

100 gecs

Two different types of young alt-pop came up at the same time. On the Gopuff Stage was COIN, who big electro-pop had definite appeal, if perhaps a little thin (or just young). Meanwhile on the Bacardí Stage, 100 gecs have made their own genre in “hyper-pop” – sort of like white kids who started doing hip-hop, but then continued on and made it their own frenetic thing.


Audio issues were unfortunately prominent in Day Three, which makes sense considering the light rain. Yet, Clairo pushed through and had one of the biggest non-headline crowds at the GovBallNYC; serving a unique, orchestral set that left everyone feeling as light as the clouds above.

Becky G

On the Gopuff Stage, Becky G served the most pop performance. She felt like a physical manifestation of everything the music industry loves in an entertainer: catchy hooks, naughty verses, great choreography, and good rhythms. As the only Latina act, she made the Puerto Rican Day parade proud.

Japanese Breakfast

Sometimes festivals catch an artist who is having a big, breakout year, like Phoebe Bridgers at Gov Ball ’21 – or Japanese Breakfast on the Bacardí Stage in ’22. Yes, she’s played a bunch of festivals, and yes, she’s always been a standout. The perfect amount of sunny attitude with sad songs, she was so sweet to us, baby.

Glass Animals

Seeing them in their own concert, can tell you that Glass Animals are worth the ticket to their show. Between visuals on the GovBallNYC Stage and their fans, to enter the “Glass Animal House” is to enter a world. While the grey skies blocked the “other-worldliness,” their set was, definitely, one of the most fun ones of the weekend.

Jazmine Sullivan

She may have been laughing at how tight her leather jumpsuit was, but no one could stop Jazmine Sullivan from belting and riffing through her set on the Gopuff Stage. Out of all three days, Sunday felt the most unconnected or rather varied in its acts. Sullivan being a stand out.


Next to J. Cole, Kaytranada was the second act heard most people mention as a must-see beyond Becky. His mixes are acclaimed for the way they fuse into people’s body and soul. With the potential of a storm looming, his set to close out the Bacardí Stage was lightning.

J. Cole

In some ways, J. Cole embodied everything Gov Ball wanted to achieve: being both mainstream and yet alternative. Nearly every one of its acts, though placed in genres, felt like they spanned beyond the confines of labels, which every artist wants. One of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking artists of our time, J. Cole could not fail to end the fest on the GovBallNYC Stage, because he embodies true success.

J. Cole

Governors Ball 2022

While Governors Ball has a certain edge, it also is certainly in the mainstream, in everything from the acts it books to the heavy presence of sponsors. But these aren’t the nineties of ‘selling out,’ and those sponsors actually helped lift the festival. If you forgot your sunscreen, you could get some for free at the Supergoop! Sunshine Shack. Bacardí didn’t just bring a stage but also a whole Casa overlooking it, with its own tasty frozen cocktails like mojitos & pina coladas.

And if the prices at Governors Ball weren’t cheap, no surprise, as one could see where the money went, including the well-run set-up (though did miss the stairs from last year that made the grounds a full circle), security – and being able to hold it at CitiField itself. There was relatively easy subway access (no shuttles), grass laid over the parking lot asphalt (which had once been Shea Stadium, where The Beatles once played) was a lot less rain-vulnerable than grass fields (no mud). There’s many reasons why that it’s a big festival with the kids, including that their parents are okay sending them there.

The Summer of ’22 has only really just started, it’ll be hard for anything to match the size, and scope, and fun of Gov Ball.

Gov Ball NYC

-words: Ted Chase & Diandra Riviera
-photos courtesy of Governors Ball


Album of the Week