Fresh off the stage as the opener of the first-ever Governors Ball Music Festival in New York, rapper Outasight could feel the energy. “It’s turning out great,” he told College Magazine. “Everyone’s having a freaking blast.”
That would be music to the festival planners’ ears. The New York area is not known for its stable relationship with music festivals. After failed attempts like All Points West and Bonnaroo North East, Governors Ball, hosted on Governors Island on June 18, decided to go for a slightly different approach. While the other festivals planned for at least two days of music, the Ball kept it at one day and featured only 12 artists, including Empire of the Sun and Girl Talk, as well as up-and-comers like Reptar and Outasight.
Outasight (real name Richard Andrew), a New York native, grew up attending festivals in the area like the Warped Tour. Now, after only six months of performing with his current band, he found himself on stage at what could become a defining event for his city. “I definitely felt honored” to be a part of the inaugural event, he said, adding, “I’m super hyped to be here.”
Outasight gave a strong opening, bantering with his audience and never tiring out, even in the muggy New York air. “I love everything about performing,” he said. “It’s not a job to me.” And as the first performer, he was able to participate in Governors Ball as both an artist and an audience member. Like many who watched his performance, he was particularly looking forward to seeing Big Boi, a source of inspiration for his own music.
Governors Ball was arranged so that none of the sets overlapped, and the acts alternated between two stages on either end of the grounds. “It’s a good way to see [the artists] all in one place,” College of Charleston freshman Emma Levitz said. She had attended All Points West in the past, and described Governors Ball as a “more low-key” event. “The crowd is good,” she said, noting the prevalence of younger, college-aged people.
“It’s a lot of very chill bands,” said University of Vermont freshman Montana Drummond. “They’re not all over the top, and not all under the radar.” This made the venue a great fit for newer artists like Outasight to get their names out there. For the rapper, Governors Ball was only the start of a promising summer. He’ll be playing at the Gramercy Theater in New York on July 12, and his album, tentatively called From Here To Eternity, is due out at the end of the summer.
And Outasight is already looking forward to next year’s festival. “I would hope to be here next year at 5 o’clock,” he said. “It’s going to be insane.” That’s a pretty strong vote for Governors Ball surviving the curse of the New York-area festivals. The sign above the venue’s exit seemed to have the same idea — “Goodbyes are a b*tch, but we’ll see you next year,” it read.