It’s easy to look at this year’s sprawling Governors Ball lineup and still fixate on just one name: Kanye. After all, Mr. West still has yet to perform any songs from this year’s masterpiece, The Life Of Pablo, here in the United States. As of now, Sunday night’s festival-closing set is as intriguing, mysterious and unpredictable as the man himself.
But if you take a step back and peek at the lineup again, you’ll be in no rush to get to Sunday night. Instead, you’ll remember there are 66 other incredible artists performing at this year’s festival—from Beck to Bully, CHVRCHES to Courtney Barnett, Vic Mensa to Vince Staples, The Strokes to The Killers.
For the sixth straight year, Governors Ball has put together a thrilling wide-ranging, lineup featuring artists of all genres. No longer a scrappy underdog, the festival is now one of the big dogs, a major player in the national scene—and a target for competition. With the Panorama Music Festival coming to Randall’s Island in July (bringing Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Kendrick Lamar along with it) this is a big year for Governors Ball to prove itself as the definitive NYC music festival.
So yeah, we’re super excited, and you should be too. You already know who you should see on Sunday night, but we went ahead and made you a perfect itinerary for all three days. Enjoy.
Meg Mac — 1:30 @ Honda Stage
One listen of stomp-clap jam “Roll Up Your Sleeves” is all it will take to convince you to start your Friday afternoon with the soulful stylings of Meg Mac.
Bully — 2:15 @ Big Apple Stage
If you like your grunge delivered with a grin, check out the scorching ‘90s rock sound of Bully.
Christine and The Queens — 3 @ GovBall Stage
Once you’ve fully rocked out, clear your palate with some shimmering synths and smooth vocals. Héloïse Letissier, the artist behind Christine and The Queens, has become known for passionate, visual live performances full of stunning dance moves, so this is sure to be a must-see.
Action Bronson — 3:45 @ Big Apple Stage
Action Bronson, on the other hand, won’t be doing any experimental dancing. But he’ll certainly be bopping along while spouting his unique brand of casually energetic rap.
Of Monsters And Men — 4:45 @ GovBall Stage
It’s easy to scoff at the shout-along “heys!” you remember from Of Monsters And Men’s big 2011 hit, “Little Talks.” But the Icelandic band has a deeper, denser sound beyond the singles, and they really put on a striking live show loaded with beautiful harmonies—and, yes, plenty of sing-along “whoas.”
Father John Misty — 5:45 @ Big Apple Stage Beck — 6:45 @ GovBall Stage
A two hour stretch of gorgeous melodies and brilliantly constructed, unconventional pop songs.
Jamie XX — 8 @ Bacardi House Stage
Let’s hope Jamie xx does the right thing and drops “Loud Places” exactly at 8:23 for a picture-perfect festival sunset moment.
The Strokes — 9:15 @ GovBallNYC Stage
Over at the Honda Stage, Robyn will almost certainly put on a better show than The Strokes, who aren’t known for having the world’s greatest live presence. But it’s hard to turn down the opportunity to see the hometown heroes headlining a NYC festival. And who knows? With their surprise new EP out this week, maybe Casablancas, Hammond and friends are actually excited to play together these days.
Holly Miranda — 12:15 @ Honda Stage
With a knack for eccentric songwriting and ethereal vocals, Miranda’s beautiful, layered songs will be a nice, relatively calm way to kick off a long, jam-packed day on the island.
Louis The Child — 12:45 @ Bacardi House Stage
Expect good vibes and great beats (like this chirpy jam) for your Saturday afternoon from this up-and-coming DJ duo.
Torres — 1:30 @ Honda Stage
PMA fave Torres is bound to put on a bruising, beautifully cathartic show as usual.
Jon Bellion — 2:15 @ Big Apple Stage
You’ll have to miss festival studs The Knocks to catch this rising star’s set, but it just might be worth it. Bellion seamlessly slides between rapping and singing, with an endearing nasal voice and endlessly earnest vocals that have earned him an adoring fan base.
Albert Hammond Jr. — 3 @ Honda Stage
Hammond, responsible for giving The Strokes their signature crunchy guitars, has had a quietly fantastic solo career on the side. A day after playing second fiddle to Julian Casablancas during The Strokes’ headlining set, you can catch him in full-on frontman mode, most likely rocking his classic red leather jumpsuit.
Misterwives — 3:45 @ Big Apple Stage
With a debut album full of endless, absurdly catchy pop-rock jams, Misterwives is a perfect fit for the summer festival scene. Definitely don’t miss their joyous sound and electric energy.
Lord Huron — 4:45 @ GovBallNYC Stage
Excited to catch the lush, dreamy guitar-pop of Lord Huron, especially with bigger crowds flocking over to Mac Miller at the same time.
De La Soul — 5:45 @ Big Apple Stage
An exciting opportunity to catch the NYC legends in action.
Haim — 6:45 @ GovBallNYC Stage
It’s going to take some time to forgive Governors Ball for making us choose between Haim and Miguel (on the Honda Stage). But since the sisters of Haim are expected to play new music from their highly anticipated sophomore record, you might have to just take the hit and catch Miguel’s sultry soul another time.
Purity Ring — 8:15 @ Bacardi House Stage
The glossy, shiny synths of Purity Ring will make for another ideal sunset set on Saturday.
The Killers — 9:15 @ GovBallNYC Stage
You might think The Killers are goofy (because they are) but there’s no denying the power of their massive stadium anthems in a live setting. Brandon Flowers is the consummate frontman, with all the earnest emotion and energy of his idol Bruce Springsteen...and an even stronger vocal range. It doesn’t matter that they haven’t had a hit single in a while, The Killers will still put on a show to close Saturday night.
Tor Miller — 11:55 @ GovBallNYC Stage
Start your Sunday early with Tor Miller’s heart-on-sleeve piano ballads, driven by his towering, dramatically fragile vocals.
Whitney — 12:25 @ Big Apple Stage
With three singles of wonderfully dusty, country-inspired indie-rock (listen to “No Matter Where We Go”) Whitney is about to hit it big. Sunday’s set will essentially be an album release show, as their debut full-length drops on Friday.
Cold War Kids — 2:40 @ GovBallNYC Stage
Obviously you should probably see Vince Staples at this time on the Honda Stage, but you’re reading a guide from the one music writer who is convinced that Cold War KIds made three great albums, not just one. So this is my one irrational pick, take it or leave it.
Vic Mensa — 3:25 @ Bacardi House Stage
We’re all just waiting for Vic Mensa to blow up. In the meantime, it’ll be interesting to catch his Sunday afternoon set and see if the multi-dimensional hip-hop artist is already performing like a headliner.
CHVRCHES — 4:25 @ GovBallNYC Stage
Pumped for an hour of non-stop jams and Lauren Mayberry’s soaring vocals. I’ve been waiting to hear the cathartic breakdown of “Clearest Blue” at a festival ever since the first time it magically graced my headphones last year.
Courtney Barnett — 5:25 @ Big Apple StageGary Clark Jr. — 6:50 @ Honda Stage
Only a few weeks after she shredded on SNL, Barnett is back in NYC to rock out some more. Right after she’s finished, you can catch a few more boot-shaking guitar solos from Gary Clark.
Kanye West — 9:15 @ GovBallNYC Stage
This is what we’re really here to see, right? As always, we have no clue if Kanye will perform entirely solo or with 100 special guests, if he’ll do mostly Pablo tracks or 808s & Heartbreak front-to-back, if he’ll rant for 20 minutes or barely speak to the crowd at all. Whatever he does, it’ll be worth watching.