In the past, I've assumed Randall's Island was in both the Hudson River and the Long Island Sound, so it was only when I actually Googled how to get there did I realize the journey wouldn't be so bad. Once inside the uptown 4 express train on Saturday, it wasn't more than 3 minutes before I heard a teenaged guy with a drawstring backpack say to his other teenaged guy friend with a drawstring backpack, "I can't wait to roll." Up in Harlem, I opted to walk over the 125th street Bridge instead of the bus, because I was wearing a tank top that I made with scissors and feeling super "Why not?" The bridge walk felt very dystopian with hungover hordes of people trying to psych themselves up for another day while surrounded by hot cement and metal fences. At one point, I heard a girl in front of me say, "Honestly, though, Joanna knows, like, everyone." I was very happy for Joanna.
2. Fucked Up Sound
Though this might sound like an oxymoron, the best way to make your band set memorable at an outdoor music festival is by having your sound fuck up midway through. On Day 2, the first show I saw was Tanlines. The two good looking Brooklyn gents smiled and made corny, "most likely-straight guy-in an indie band-from-Brooklyn who-talks-like-he-has-a-cold" jokes in between sets that everyone ate up. (Side note: Is every "most likely-straight-guy-in-an-indie band-from-Brooklyn still making "tropical electro-rock fusion"?) Anyway, they were really good, and it was a nice way to start a sunny weekend. But midway through, the computer that one of the one "most likely-straight-guys" was using for the drum machine got overheated, and it made the bouncy beach drum sound like it just took a Valium. They tried a few attempts at other songs, but a minute into each, that same glitchy, slo-mo sound took over. For at least one song, the guitarist slowed down his pace, and they actually made it work. Alas, it was overpowering the set, and during one small technical break, I felt like I was in the scene from Matilda where the titular character gets the school to cheer on Bruce Bogtrotter in finishing off the Trunchbull's mountainous chocolate cake. "You can do it, Brucie!" "You can do it 'tropical- electro-rock fusion-most-likely-straight guy-indie band-from-Brooklyn!'" The crowd started cheering for the duo to keep on trucking, and when the sound was fixed, they finished off great, and everyone left thinking, "Aw, I'm so happy for them." Including myself.
3. André 3000's "Art or Fart?" Jumpsuit
Don't worry guys, it's already sold.
4. Coordinated T-Shirts
Bros really do synchronize T-shirts to "rage" events. I saw several examples this weekend but this trio on Sunday won me over. I kept imagining the extensive email chain they must've had going on planning out the design of this shirt, where they'd get it, and how much money it'd cost. They'd have started the chain MONTHS before the fest, all ending their e-mails with a GovBall countdown at the bottom.
"Gentlemen, T-minus 77 days. GovBall'14"
"Kev, it's actually 75 days."
"OK. T-minus 75 fucking days. GovBall'14"
5. New Yorkers Being New Yorkers
Call me naïve for thinking otherwise, but I learned that just because you're at an outdoor music festival, it doesn't mean strangers are going to be friendly when you try to chum it up. Several times I'd walk up to someone and, in a moment of pure "I am literally so chill right now" confidence, I'd say, "I love your shirt!" or "I love your hat!" "I love your mesh!" "Thanks," they'd say flatly, and carry on with their lives. Even though people are wearing face paint and walking around barefoot, it's still New York. At one point, my roommate dared me to take a selfie with the first person I saw. "Of course they'll take one with me!" I thought. "This is GovBall!" Then I remembered my phone had been dead for hours so some girl had to endure a gangly, sweaty, gay spider-person (me) walking up to her on the lawn at dusk and asking "Wanna take a selfie and can we use your phone?" To the girl I made take a selfie with me on your own phone because mine was dead: I'm very sorry.
Maybe these parents should pass up on GovBall for a few years so they can afford therapy for this baby when he's older.
7. This Shirtless Angel
On Sunday my friends and I spotted this man slowly climbing up the grassy hill we were sitting on while Lena Dunham's boyfriend's band, Bleachers, played. He sat near us, and looked over and smiled a few times. I was 100% certain that this man woke up from a nap he took in 1974 on the shore of the East River, grabbed a Fairway bag, and was like, "Oh, here's a music festival," and walked on in. We saw him a few more times throughout the day.
8. This Jeff Goldblum Poster
It was omnipresent and it was everything.
9. Discovering that Silent Raves Are Only Cool In Theory
My friend and I walked into the "silent rave" tent, and stayed for approximately two-and a-half minutes. At one point, I turned to her with gigantic headphones on -- house music screaming through the speakers -- and loudly said, "I kind of like this," before remembering what we were actually doing. "What?" she loudly asked back, also with gigantic headphones on. We left immediately.
Swedish House Mafia. (Note: This is not Governors Ball.) [Photo via Instagram]
10. Giving Into EDM
By the end of Sunday night, Randall's Island was just about ready to swallow us all into the earth. After Interpol did an amazing -- and long -- set, we headed over to watch Vampire Weekend. We were all trying our best to keep our frail bodies in motion and at one point I even joined a spontaneous square dance happening in front of me that some foreign people had organized, hoping it would keep me awake. It was a fun minute. Soon after, a middle-aged woman with a towel draped over her shoulders, holding a lit cig and a cup of vodka, sauntered by us and I thought "She gets it." On our last legs, my friends and I decided to check out Swedish House Mafia, who was closing out the weekend. I'm usually a little EDM-averse but whether it was not wanting to face the trek back to Brooklyn/life or the relentless fireworks flaring or just jumping up and down while wearing ugly jorts or all of the above, in that moment, I thought "Wait! I literally love Swedish House Mafia!!!"