I went to the Gov Ball Music Festival in New York after a year without concerts

  • After more than a year without concerts, I went to Governors Ball NYC with 50,000 other attendees.
  • This summer’s festival season marked the return of live music for most fans, raising high expectations.
  • Between Bleachers and King Princess, I learned what I missed – and what I didn’t miss – on big events.

Like many people, the closest thing I’ve had to living out of music over the past year and a half has been blowing up Olivia Rodrigo in my car on much-needed escapes from my childhood bedroom. .

As we collectively turned to singing in the shower, live music revenue declined 75% in 2020, according to Goldman Sachs. Overall, the US concert industry has lost about $ 30 billion, concert publication Pollstar said in its year-end report.

Along with (too) others, I boarded Train 7 on Saturday to Citi Field, ready to end my concert drought with Bleachers, King Princess, Phoebe Bridgers, Amine, Cardi B and ASAP Rocky.

At first my friend and I hovered beside the crowds. While it was heartwarming to know that a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test was required for entry, my pandemic brain wasn’t quite ready to dive into a tight audience.

Soon we were screaming “I want to get better!” during a cathartic back-and-forth between Bleachers saxophonist and the crowd, as frontman Jack Antonoff shouted “the louder you scream, the louder he blows.”

The throaty roar of fans that followed was the exact reason I came to the Governors Ball – to hear and feel something visceral again after spending my day at home on a screen.

billie eilish gov ball

Billie Eilish performs at the Governors Ball in New York on Friday.

Taylor Hill / Getty Images for Governors Ball

This summer’s festival season marked the return of live music for most fans, with major festivals such as Pitchfork Fest, Electric Zoo, and Firefly Festival scattered throughout September.

Artists and fans alike have high expectations of the live music renaissance, as Billie Eilish succinctly put it on stage in response to a sheepish crowd at the iHeartRadio Festival: “I didn’t wait a year and a half to watch this. .. let’s have fun and dance and jump everywhere. “

Beyond my main desire to have a good time, I also felt a second more powerful motivation playing in the background in the days leading up to the Governors Ball: the hope that maybe a day of dancing. , adrenaline and song could erase the stress. I had accumulated over the past year and a half.

From overpriced kombucha to quickly running out of social drums, I realized that a clean slate was not yet achievable, even indulging in post-pandemic fantasies like Governors Ball.

While the festival did not live up to my life-changing expectations, I bought another concert ticket for a smaller show the next day. I am optimistic that as the live music industry recovers, so will we.

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Gerald R. Schneider

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