Governors Ball Day 3 Recap: Thunderstorms Make For a Three-Hour Fest, But Bazzi, Lily Allen & More Still Shine
After two days of near-perfect festival weather, Governors Ball didn't get so lucky for its third and final day. At 11:30 a.m., the festival announced that it would be postponed until 6:30 p.m., resulting in several set cancellations. Though the announcement left many fans peeved, perhaps the even bigger buzzkill was that the predicted storms occurred before five sets were able to happen: Beast Coast, Kaytranada, Aaron Aye, SZA and Sunday night headliners The Strokes.
Even so, those who showed up for the fest's three hours were treated to sets from the likes of Bazzi, Lily Allen, Sheck Wes, Nas and Louis the Child. Billboard braved the potential (and eventual) downpours to get a piece of the unfortunately short-lived Day 3 action.
6:01 p.m. Fans are eagerly lining up at the main entrance for the delayed gate opening time; some are doing the wave to pass the time. Ten minutes later, a cheer erupts -- the gates have opened. (Some fans are able to use a fast lane courtesy of an activation from IdentoGO, which is providing TSA Precheck enrollment all summer at select US festivals.) -- GAB GINSBERG
6:59 p.m. SHAED originally had a 12:15 PM slot on the main stage and a 2:20 PM Bud Light Dive Bar Session. The latter is now happening, with a small but dedicated crowd gathered in the brand’s designated area. Frontwoman Chelsea Lee is rolling with the punches, and invites the crowd to “rock out for like 10 minutes, yeah?” She jumps up next to the left and right speakers throughout the short set, with the band running through “Melt,” “Name On It,” and their alt hit “Trampoline,” plus a strong cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” -- G.G.
7:16 p.m. Lily Allen takes to the main stage in an embellished pink suit, sky-high Christian Louboutin stilettos and big hair. “Fucking hot out here today, isn’t it? Humid AF,” she comments in between cuts from her 2018 album No Shame, such as “Trigger Bang” and “Come On Then.” It is indeed steamy, and a few songs later, the English singer yells, “Oh, fuck it,” and strips off her jacket to reveal an extremely sheer nude bodysuit underneath. -- G.G.
7:21 p.m. After breezing through her sunshiney, horn-inflected hit “LDN,” Allen salutes the artist most adversely effected by the rain delay: Charli XCX, whose afternoon set was cancelled entirely. “In pride month I think that’s a crime against LGBTQ,” she says. — CHRIS PAYNE
7:44 p.m. There’s a mass exodus from the Honda Stage after Sheck Wes bulldozes through “Mo Bamba” -- which sparked quite the crowd eruption -- but anyone peacing early is missing a chance to turn up to the almost-as-fiery “Live Sheck Wes.” — C.P.
7:49 p.m. Fans begin a roaring "Bazzi! Bazzi!" chant before he takes the stage while Lily Allen finishes her set. Once Bazzi begins with his latest single "Paradise," the singer delivers a mix of fan favorite tunes and lighthearted quips -- a few targeted at the rain delay that cut his set to 30 minutes. "How about that rain though... That didn't happen... Kinda fucked up," he jokes. After declaring "we gotta turn up for the time we have left," the crowd happily obliges as he sings "3:15" and "Mine." — TAYLOR WEATHERBY
8:29 p.m. Taylor Bennett's rescheduled set (which moved from the Gov Ball stage to the Bud Light Dive Bar) was supposed to last until 8:15, but the overflowing is vibing so hard that it lasts until beyond 8:30. After bringing out frequent collaborator and Tay Bennett Entertainment signee Bianca Shaw, Bennett performs his Chance the Rapper collab "Broad Shoulders." "We gonna do this one for big bro," he says, later reminding fans that his own project The American Reject just dropped on May 28. — T.W.
9:06 p.m. Rain finally begins as Louis the Child drops beats during mixes of Ty Dolla $ign's "Blasé" and Kendrick Lamar's "Element," but instead of turning fans away, it turned fans up. "That rain took it to a whole 'nother fucking level," the duo's Freddy Kennett says. The pair later debut their new single with Wrabel called "Too Close" before closing with their 2018 hit "Better Not," which sparks a similar vibe-heavy dance party despite the rain stopping. — T.W.
9:02 p.m. Nas’ main stage set is kicking into high gear with the first taste of tracks off his unassailable classic Illmatic: “The World Is Yours,” “NY State Of Mind,” and then, “Life’s A Bitch” — whose message more than a few fans are lighting up to. — C.P.
9:16 p.m. In light of her canceled set, Charli XCX is throwing an impromptu party downtown at Greenwich Village's intimate (Le) Poisson Rouge venue; $15 tickets went online for the last-minute gig mere hours before and sold out in 20 minutes. Charli is ready to give her Angels everything they missed at the fest and more, with "Blame It On Your Love," “I Love It” and “1999” all in the rotation. “I just want to say, thank you guys for making this show possible,” she says. “It’s a fucking hardcore Angels show.” Charli also teases her album -- “it’s really fucking good” -- and performs her new (and still unreleased) collab with Christine and the Queens, “Gone.” It’s one of the sweatiest shows LPR has ever seen, and even Charli is fanning herself amid the heat. “My name is Charli XCX,” she declares at the end of the night, “the best pop star in the world.” Who’s to disagree? -- G.G.
9:21 p.m. As Nas’ set nears its close, the Queensbridge native welcomes another New York hip-hop legend: Mobb Deep’s Havoc joins him for rousing performances of “Eye For An Eye (Your Beef Is Mines)” and “Shook Ones (Pt. II).” In the background, the image of fellow Mobb Deep MC Prodigy (who passed away in 2017) looks on. This wasn’t meant to be the closing performance of Gov Ball 2019, but in terms of NYC folklore, it’s hard to top. —C.P.
9:31 p.m. As Kaytranada and Beast Coast are set to take the stage, a voice comes over the speakers to announce that festgoers need to evacuate due to approaching severe weather. Angry fans yell "Fuck Gov Ball!" and "I want my money back," and chants for refunds ignite as people exit. But their frustrations are quickly ceased by 9:50 -- when The Strokes would've been five minutes into their original set -- when a torrential downpour begins and lightning strikes. (Fortunately, it seems no one was severely injured during the evacuation.) Despite likely getting doused, fans get what they asked for: Around 12:20 a.m., Governors Ball posts that refunds will be available at govball.com/sundayrefund. — T.W.