The 2018 Governors Ball Music Festival is in full swing. Yesterday (June 2) was a day of firsts: Diplo and Mark Ronson performed as their outfit Silk City live for the first time, Halsey made her Gov Ball debut, Pusha T brought his new album Daytona to Randall’s Island and more.
The notorious rain held off until headliners Travis Scott and The Gaslight Anthem took to their respective stages, but even as the skies opened up, New York City simply took that as an invitation to dance harder.
The Billboard team was on the island all day; here’s our hour-by-hour recap of what went down during Day 2 of Gov Ball. You can catch up on the Day 1 highlights here.
3:20 p.m. LANY frontman Paul Klein hops atop the main stage barricade during a performance of “Made In Hollywood,” choosing one lucky front-row fan’s hand to hold through the whole chorus. It’s the California indie pop outfit’s first-ever Gov Ball set, and the group is full of energy. Klein closes out the track with a backward somersault, guitar in hand. — TATIANA CIRISANO
3:39 p.m. The Menzingers are about to close out their afternoon set with their Springsteen-ian rocker “Lookers,” but first, there’s a little shout out to the Asbury Park legends that are actually playing in a few hours. “Who’s ready for Gaslight Anthem later?” yells frontman Greg Barnett. A good deal of this crowd most certainly came out to see Gaslight’s nightcap set, so of course they’re ready to go hard for a Menzingers track that’s basically a big, nostalgic love letter to Asbury. “This one’s for the people across the river,” salutes Barnett before launching into “Lookers.” — CHRIS PAYNE
3:45 p.m. Rock with a capital “R” continues to rage across the Gov Ball grounds, as Vancouver road warriors Japandroids open their set with the fiery living-out-of-tour-bus anthem, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life.” Japandroids are just two musicians — vocalist-guitarist Brian King and drummer-vocalist David Prowse — but they’re seasoned vets at filling festival fields with their righteous racket. — C.P.
3:53 p.m. Kelela struts on the American Eagle Stage — looking like a goddess in an all-white bell-sleeved dress to match her long white acrylic nails — to launch into her slinky R&B groove “LMK.” “Y’all ready to go all night?” she asks before breaking into “Blue Light,” and the outburst of cheers from the crowd is a resounding “yes.” — T.C.
4:05 p.m. Don Julio Tequila x Infatuation host an intimate #AgaveAndEEEEEATS Meetup that involves free drinks and food from Gordo’s Cantina. Mini tacos, elote (Mexican street corn) and watermelon cocktails flow freely in the 21+ Best Kept Secret area. — GAB GINSBERG
4:45 p.m. 2 Chainz takes us to the dirty south, wasting no time digging into his crate of party starters; the rapper opens with his explosive guest verse on Chance The Rapper’s smash “No Problem.” He continues the fun with strip club essentials like “Rich As Fuck” and “I Luv Dem Strippers” and favorites like “No Lie,” “Proud” and “I’m Different.” The rapper even throws one of his best (and classic) collaborations with Lil Wayne — 2007’s “Duffle Bag Boy” — into the mix. The only thing hindering 2 Chainz’s set is that he wasn’t given a bigger stage; it’s a journey trying to maneuver through the ecstatic crowd rushing to get close to him on the Honda Stage. Unfortunately, he also has to pause the show when a young fan faints. — BIANCA GRACIE
4:46 p.m. Aussie synthpop experts Cut Copy turn the GOVBALLNYC Stage into a massive dance party with their epic dance-punk ways. The group plays new jams from their 2017 album Haiku From Zero like “Black Butterflies,” and later takes it back to 2008 with “Lights & Music” and “Hearts On Fire.” At one point, frontman Dan Whitford notices the barriers that divide the crowd and jokes: “So many fences here. Can’t we all just be together?” — G.G.
6:00 p.m. Sporting his signature man bun and a vintage Chris Isaak tee, Diplo spins the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” to open an intimate set at the Citi Viewing Deck. “We’re having a big party in here,” he yells into the mic, and fulfills that promise with a mix of Latin vibes (J. Balvin’s “Mi Gente”), dance (Calvin Harris’ “Slide”) and hip-hop (Saweetie’s “ICY GRL”) — prompting more than one twerk sesh from the crowd. — T.C.
6:18 p.m. Pusha T gazes intensely at a sprawling crowd at the American Eagle Stage and speaks the two words that have come to embody the arms race he knows the coming months will bring: “Surgical summer.” He doesn’t directly address Drake or play “The Story of Adidon,” but these words from the diss track’s opening bars make his stance clear. Also, the crowd is more than willing to chant “Fuck Drake!” without prompting whenever there’s dead air between the songs. Pusha tears through numerous Daytona tracks (the first time his week-old album has been played live), crowd-pleasing GOOD Music posse cuts and one glorious Clipse song (“Grindin’,” naturally). This is what it’s like to watch one of the greats in one of his crowning moments. — C.P.
6:52 p.m. Halsey brings pyrotechnics and her arsenal of radio hits to the main stage, drawing a massive crowd for her debut Gov Ball set. Between favorites like “Bad At Love” and “Him & I,” she tells the crowd about how she attended the festival four years ago to the day. “I was standing somewhere in the back, just like you,” she shouts, ending on an inspirational note. “If there’s something you want to do, just fucking do it — make it yours.” — G.G.
8:00 p.m. Day two of Governors Ball is being taken over by major hip-hop stars like 2 Chainz, Pusha T and Travis Scott, but Silk City (the new mastermind production duo that is Mark Ronson and Diplo) shakes things up with a groovy modern disco. The two DJ friends make their debut festival appearance as a joint project a memorable one, showing off their turntable talents at the Bacardi Stage. They spin mixes that would fit perfectly at the most posh nightclubs in Miami, London or Las Vegas — all cities that both guys frequent often. Set to thumping electronic synths, the lyrics to Kelis’ “Milkshake,” Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” Janet Jackson’s “Go Deep,” Drake’s “God’s Plan” and Missy Elliott’s “Gossip Folks” are flowing throughout the grounds. Ronson and Diplo even manages to twist Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” in such a glossy way that the hardcore anthem sounds like a poppy jam to sing into your hairbrush. — B.C.
9:20 p.m. Travis Scott has the lion’s share of attendees at the main stage, but a passionate contingent of rock fans are going hard for Jersey legends The Gaslight Anthem across the Gov Ball grounds. Their set’s been billed as a complete, 10th anniversary play-through of their ’08 LP The ’59 Sound, but Brian Fallon and friends are warming up their crowd with an opening suite of other tracks, including “Handwritten” and “Boomboxes and Dictionaries.” — C.P.
9:30 p.m. The opening tracks off The Gaslight Anthem’s career-defining album are going hard. With hardly a stray note in between, the quintet powers through “Great Expectations,” the title track, and “Old White Lincoln;” it’s powerhouse chorus after powerhouse chorus. Later, the lyrics from “Patient Ferris Wheel” are unfortunately a little too fitting: “I’d never felt so strange, standing in the Jersey rain.” Swap Jersey for New York, and you’ve got the idea; the drizzle has shifted to a steady shower over the late-night crowd. — C.P.
10:23 p.m. You can always expect a fiercely good time when it comes to Travis Scott’s performances. But the rapper’s headlining set at the main stage tonight was almost overshadowed by a force that even he couldn’t control: Mother Nature. It’s been bright and sunny all day, so when the clouds opened up for a massive downpour, the crowd immediately dispersed among the field like ants looking for shelter. Luckily, Scott is keeping the energy levels high to try to make fans forget about all the rain. It’s time to rage, after all! — B.C.