Governors Ball 2019 Day 2 Recap: Florence Welch Casts Her Spell, Kacey Musgraves Celebrates Pride

Noam Galai/Getty Images.
Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine performs at the 2019 Governors Ball Festival at Randall's Island on June 1, 2019 in New York City.

The Governors Ball Music Festival enjoyed perfect weather on Saturday (June 1). Under the sunshine, there was a particularly festive feel on the NYC island as many celebrated the kickoff of Pride Month, with rainbow flags and attire all over.

Notably, Saturday's lineup was stacked with female-fronted bands, including English upstart Suzi Wu, the fast-rising King Princess and AOTY winner Kacey Musgraves. Florence + the Machine played the fest in 2015, and this time, she made her return to Randall’s as a main headliner.

Billboard was on the scene at Randall's Island throughout the day; here's our hour-by-hour recap of Gov Ball Day 2.


3:19 p.m. "Y'all been going ham all day, do you mind if I slow it down a bit?" Denzel Curry asks his Honda Stage crowd before diving into his hit "Black Balloons." "Don't worry, it's still gonna be good shit, I just got to catch my mother fucking breath!" He clearly catches it before finishing the song, jumping around and starting a rowdy "Hell yeah!" chant by the end and setting the tone for the rest of his energetic set. -- TAYLOR WEATHERBY​

3:52 p.m. The tiny Bud Light Dive Bar stage received a rainbow makeover for Day 2, celebrating the first day of Pride Month. Today’s lineup features all LGBTQ+ artists, and a portion of proceeds from special rainbow Bud bottles will go to to GLAAD. The area is also covered in rainbow and Transgender Pride Flags, and a neon sign that reads "Open For All." As Leland takes the Dive Bar stage, he calls playing a festival on the first day of Pride Month a "dream come true." Bringing lighthearted energy with his pop jams like the Troye Sivan and Allie X co-written bop "Mattress," Leland also makes sure to acknowledge what Pride Month means to him and the LGBTQ community: "It's about those before us, have sacrificed for us, and the work that still needs to be done." -- T.W.

4:51 p.m. Though she's the only country artist performing the entire weekend, Kacey Musgraves proves she fits right in with the rest of the Gov Ball bill. She draws an impressive crowd to the main stage for her late afternoon set, sparking several sing-alongs (especially during her dreamy Golden Hour hit "Butterflies"); and when she smells weed in the air during her Pageant Material cut "High Time," she yells, "Damn, that smells good!" Musgraves brings her Texas roots to the performance, sporting a sparkly floral getup and declaring, "I know that yee haw is having a moment, but I've been yee hawin' all my fucking life." She also makes sure to celebrate her LGBTQ fans and the start of Pride Month, taking off her shoes to run around with a rainbow flag during set closer "High Horse." -- T.W.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

what a w--rld, i don’t wanna leave -- @rohofoto

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5:45 p.m. King Princess (born Mikaela Straus) is not a minute late, and cheers erupt as she struts out in a custom KP jersey (with the initials on the front styled after the New York Yankees’ uniform) and coordinating white pants. “Aw, this is my hometown,” the Brooklyn native tells the crowd. “It’s a big hometown show for me. I’ve grown up all over this island...my fucking childhood festival.” (Gov Ball was established in 2011, so at 20 years old, Strauss isn’t kidding.) KP delivers every fan favorite, including “1950,” “Talia” and “Pussy Is God,” plus the recently-released “Cheap Queen.” And it is June 1, so she’s sure to exclaim: “I see some gays...this is our month, now. This is our time to shine!” -- GAB GINSBERG

6:48 p.m. "You are part of a very important cultural moment," The 1975's Matty Healy says before the group begins their first song "Give Yourself A Try." Though most of Healy's comments were jokingly egotistical ("Being a modern rock star, its difficult, because I don't know how seriously I'm taking myself anymore, and I don't know how serious you can take me," he says at one point), the British rock band's 75-minute set presents a powerful sense of unity as fans belted out every word to message-heavy tunes such as "Love It If We Made It." The performance is a balance of impassioned and euphoric thanks to songs like "I Couldn't Be More in Love" and "Sex," but if there was one thing Healy was hoping fans took away from their set, it wasn't that they're "woke." "Society rests on the empowerment of women," he declares. "That's not woke, it's logic." -- T.W.

7:02 p.m. Like a proper rock star, Healy emerges from side stage with a beer and cigarette he’s lighting between songs. “Don’t applaud for that,” he urges, trying his best to maintain some main stage self-awareness. Substances aside, his band remain a positive sonic influence: next they launch into “A Change Of Heart,” one of the tightest tracks in their catalog. -- CHRIS PAYNE

7:33 p.m. Going up against the 1975 is a tough draw, but Vince Staples is all business over on the Honda Stage. As he tears through “Norf Norf,” the L.A. rapper’s stage show pays homage to the home turf: the Seinfeld logo dominates his background design -- both the iconic hangout Monk’s Café, and the show’s insignia done up adorning his name. -- C.P.

8:48 p.m. Lord Huron ignites a sway-along during their echoing slow jam "Wait By the River." While the indie folk foursome certainly weren't downtempo their entire hour-long set -- bringing serious energy and rock-out moments during "Secret of Life" and "Fool for Love" -- frontman Ben Schneider recognizes that some of Lord Huron's music has a particular vibe. "I didn't come here to tell you how to live your life but this songs good for making out," he says before the group's biggest hit, "The Night We Met." -- T.W.

8:57 p.m. Over at the American Eagle Stage, Lord Huron fans know what they’ve been waiting for. Right after “Ends Of the Earth,” frontman Ben Schneider introduces another crowd pleaser: “This song’s good for making out,” he promises. The track in question is none other than “The Night We Met,” accompanied by a handful of the folk-rock band’s fans fulfilling the prophecy. -- C.P.

9:17 p.m. Florence Welch appears in a gauzy, nightgown-esque dress, perfectly equipped to lift Gov Ball out of the mud (the stuff was prevalent thanks to a rain shower earlier in the week). “We are Florence + the Machine,” the barefoot singer says in introduction. “Would you like to dance with us? It’s easy to dance like Florence and the Machine... It’s just, like, arms and lots of wiggling,” she jokes, waving her arms in an approximation of her signature dance move. Flo later shouts-out her “kindred spirits” -- those who are “both shy and extra” -- and at one point, encourages fans to donate to the ACLU. One of the most magical moments occurs during “The End Of Love” when she sings, “We were reaching in the dark/That summer in New York,” and the crowd reaches their arms right back at her, cheering at the appropriateness of the line. -- G.G.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“We were reaching in the dark/That summer in New York” #florenceandthemachine

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9:42 p.m. It’s not often a harp riff gets people so turnt; but the opening notes of “Dog Days Are Over” are an exception. Florence + the Machine’s crowd is thrown into a frenzy off her seminal hit, heads and hands bopping in unison throughout the Gov Ball crowd. You better run! -- C.P.

9:52 p.m. Major Lazer is celebrating the start of the warm weather season with their fiery beat drops. "If the summer starts right here, I want to see those hands up high," Diplo declares. Backed by a group of fierce female dancers, a multi-level stage setup and massive screens with wildly colored visuals, Major Lazer provides quite the kickoff to summer with teases of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" and Travis Scott's "Astroworld," as well as their own anthemic hits like "Know No Better," "Cold Water" and "Lean On." -- T.W.

Festivals 2019