Somehow, the big annual New York festival Governors Ball always seems to have trouble with weather. If you have ever attended this particular festival, there is a very good chance that you have, at the very least, been soaked. And maybe you’ve been forced to change your plans. Three years ago, the festival had to cancel its final day because of severe weather. This year, the final day happened, but the festival was delayed and then evacuated three hours after opening.
Up until that cancellation, it seems like Governors Ball was a fine festival; Stereogum staff reported on sets from Kacey Musgraves, Brockhampton, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. But Sunday, it seems, was a complete fiasco. Because of rain, the festival didn’t open until 6:30, long after the scheduled start time. And around 9:30, festival officials announced that the festival was being evacuated and that the rest of the day would be cancelled. SZA, Charli XCX, and hometown heroes the Strokes were all scheduled to play, and none of them got to.
The Strokes have since released a statement about their set. On Facebook, they wrote:
To our Gov Ball fans:
We want to send our most sincere thanks for sticking with us through the weather today. Sometimes Mother Nature has a mind of its own and unfortunately that didn’t allow for us to meet you on the stage tonight.
We are so thankful for each and every one of you who came from far and wide and stuck around till the last minute to try to celebrate the music with us.
We are glad that everyone stayed safe but we’re just as disappointed as you are that we didn’t get to play tonight.
We love you guys. We love New York. Until next time!
Fortunately, Governors Ball is offering refunds for Sunday. On the festival’s website, organizers posted this statement:
After close consultation with NYC officials and law enforcement, it was deemed necessary to evacuate the site and cancel the Sunday evening of Gov Ball 2019 for the safety of our festival goers, artists, and crew. The safety of everyone always comes first.
All customers who purchased a Sunday ticket and Sunday transportation ticket through the Gov Ball ticketing page will receive a refund directly to the account used to purchase. All customers who purchased a 3-Day Pass and 3-Day Transportation pass directly through the Gov Ball Ticketing page will receive a partial/pro-rated refund directly to the account used to purchase. At this time we expect all refunds to be processed within 21 days.
You can find all the relevant info about refunds here. But unfortunately, it seems like this wasn’t simply a matter of opening up the gates and letting everyone leave. Gov Ball site Randall’s Island is an actual island. If you’ve ever been there, you know that leaving the venue is an absolute biblical pain in the ass even in ideal circumstances. And it seems like plenty of festivalgoers were stranded in the rain, unable to catch a ferry off the site. Check out some of the Twitter complaints below, via Brooklyn Vegan:
First my girlfriends got STRANDED waiting 3 hours for governors ball gates to open, only to get KICKED OUT, then TRAPPED and unable to exit! The bad news keeps coming.#govballfail #govballnyc #govball2019 pic.twitter.com/uMP1P8ezmv
— Nez B (@NezAlpha) June 3, 2019
People stuck on Randall’s island for #governorsball – ferries stopped running. Nowhere to go. Thunder and lightning. People scared – it’s a disaster. Theme for this year is #you’redoinggreat – not kidding. Like Stuart smalley was running this shitshow pic.twitter.com/i1hS3SGG0r
— Paula Froelich (@Pfro) June 3, 2019
My fav performance of gov ball is the crowd of ppl who knocked down this giant fence so we could get the fuck off this island pic.twitter.com/XeqaUx0ruH
— AP (@xpetite) June 3, 2019
So many people on bridge off Randall’s island it’s not moving. #escapefromrandallsisland #governorsball maybe one of the sponsors who load millions should help @Americaneagle @budlight pic.twitter.com/vKvJmx6dXU
— Paula Froelich (@Pfro) June 3, 2019
As someone who has supervised an event staff/fireguards of hundreds in the past I can say that gov ball’s evac plan tonight was a shitshow. Shrugging off attendees with questions and giving out conflicting information is really not cool.
— bad hombre (@badhombreee) June 3, 2019
— hels ❂ (@xHelenhu) June 3, 2019
people tp'ing trees, dragging balloon arches, literally rioting like it's the apocalypse while chanting "refund" "repent" at Gov Ball while evacuating. vid taken before torrential rain and lightning pic.twitter.com/9E000FLgby
— Michael Eisele (@michaeIeisele) June 3, 2019
mother nature and last night of governors ball have the most consistent beef i've ever seen
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) June 3, 2019
It also appears that pissed-off festivalgoers were destroying artwork on the way out:
— emily! (@EmilyHausmann) June 3, 2019
If people leaving your event are yelling the words “Fyre Festival,” then something went terribly wrong.