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This weekend, Governors Ball took over Randall’s Island for the latest installment of “Can New York City Host Its Own Major Music Festival?” Founders Entertainment, organizers of the second annual fest (that’s what All Points West said, too), decided to go the “diverse” route, but at least they were nice enough to not get too mix-and-match, splitting up the lineup roughly day-by-day. Saturday could have been called the dance-y day, or the spring break day; its lineup included Passion Pit, Chromeo, Kid Cudi, Major Lazer, Santigold and Duck Sauce. Sunday, meanwhile, was a bit of a late ’90s alt-rock time warp, with Beck, Fiona Apple, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill headlining amidst guitar-based indie bands from this era.
Sunday was visibly more well-attended—but does that mean it “won” the weekend? Taste is subjective—that much we can all agree on—so if you’re a rave kid, you’d probably say Saturday won, whereas pretty much everyone else would say Sunday won (Beck’s first NYC show in four years!). Since music festivals are often about the overall experience anyway, Sound of the City decided to measure the other ways that festival can satisfy—or annoy—attendees, using a 10-point rating system to score certain intangibles head-to-head (as well as a few bonus categories). Like golf, the goal is to have the lowest score in order to win. Which day emerged victorious? The answer below.
Weak Spots on the Lineup/Strange Order of Acts:
Saturday: 7 (Kid Cudi was, simply put, a fool; Santigold and Major Lazer deserved much higher billing/evening sets instead of afternoon)
Sunday: 3 (Explosions in the Sky given higher billing than Fiona Apple? Um.)
Bands Not Giving a Shit/Getting Into It (Because It’s a Festival):
Saturday: 3.5 (DJs actually care if you’re having a good time)
Sunday: 6 (Built to Spill and Modest Mouse do not)
Obnoxiousness of Crowd:
Saturday: 8 (I don’t like it when you dance up on me, girl in bandeau top that is dangerously close to falling down—this 3-5 times, plus beer-throwing)
Sunday: 8 (Fiona Apple is playing, stop yammering about the sound guy wearing jorts; I get that you looooove Beck, but forcing your way in front of just one short person—i.e., me—isn’t going to get you an invite to Beck’s Scientology church or anything)
Saturday: 2.5 (abrupt cut-out during Passion Pit’s set)
Sunday: 2 (delays on Devendra Banhart, Modest Mouse)
Saturday: 6 (heat)
Sunday: 5 (nice breeze/cloudiness all day, but light rain during Beck)
Saturday: 9 (hello, full-frontal female flash onstage at Major Lazer)
Sunday: 4 (sideboob hippies, mostly)
Intoxication Level/Weed Stank:
Lana Del Rey-Inspired Fashion Crimes:
Best Set Award: Sunday—Five points for Fiona Apple playing a setlist of “hits” from all of her albums and dancing like no one’s watching. Four hours later, Beck expertly did the same thing, except this time, the audience were the ones dancing like no one was watching. Dude’s a(n e-)pro. (Sorry, had to.)
Ass-Shaking Award: Saturday—Three points for Major Lazer getting the naysayers going.
Best Dance Moves: Saturday—This guy was absolutely the best part of Duck Sauce’s set, which was pretty much a huge cocktease for “Barbra Streisand.” He’s worth three points—fuck it, five, it’s Pride Weekend!
Stage Banter Award: Sunday—”We played with Metallica last night [at Orion Fest], and I gotta tell you, you guys are so much more attractive—and you probably don’t still live at home”—Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock. Three points.
T-Shirt Slogan Idiot: Saturday—White dude wearing a “white people make me nervous” t-shirt—ugh, negative one point.
TOTAL POINTS FOR SATURDAY: 55
TOTAL POINTS FOR SUNDAY: 45.5
Remember, the goal is to have the least amount of points… thus, Sunday “wins.”