Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

Governors Ball and Woodstock 50 present New Yorkers with an epic summer festival decision

There may be no better place in the United States to be as a fan of music festivals than New York City. Even with the loss of Panorama and The Meadows, the Big Apple still has close to a dozen major summer festivals within easy reach, from Made In America in Philadelphia, Electric Zoo for EDM fans, and the steadily growing Afropunk. Even a trip to Delaware for Firefly or Massachusetts for Boston Calling isn’t out of reach.

However, this year’s competition is heated way up with the introduction of Woodstock 50, a three-day event in August celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the first festival of the same name. While it isn’t attempting to be a returning event like Governors Ball is, the stellar lineups with few repeats make it one of the biggest decisions NYC music fans will have to make. Here is our analysis of both festivals to help you make your decision a little bit easier.

Headliners

This year, Governors Ball has Tyler, The Creator, Florence and the Machine and The Strokes at top billing. Also scheduled to appear during the three day weekend are Kacey Musgraves, Brockhampton and The 1975. The festival has always struggled a bit on Friday, bringing in a younger crowd that is either at school or work for most of the day and can’t get out to the island til the evening, and Friday is by far the slowest line-up day. The Strokes closing out Sunday is a nice choice, but it’s unclear who will open for them on the main stage as most of the remaining big acts that day are hip hop or electronic artists.

Woodstock 50 held nothing back with their lineup, bringing classic acts that will draw the attention of attendees of the original Woodstock (or at least people who wish they’d been there) and mixing in some impressive younger acts, too. Dead and Company headlining Saturday is going to be an incredible experience, and Jay Z and The Killers may not be the hottest headliners this summer but they will certainly draw all ages crowds.

The Verdict: Of course Woodstock 50 wins here. We have to assume they got some excellent deals from artists eager to be a part of this weekend festival, and the results are nothing short of amazing. Only Lollapalooza, which splits acts over four days, comes close to the massive nature of the Woodstock 50 lineup.

The Rest of the Bill

The most impressive thing about the Woodstock 50 lineup is realizing that Jack White, Carlos Santana and David Crosby are all going to be playing the same festival as Chance the Rapper and Princess Nokia. Scheduling, stage management and weekend flow will be crucial here. At Governors Ball, Saturday is absolutely killer, with the perfect mix of rising acts like Calpurnia and King Princess that will draw fans later, and plenty of amazing acts at the top of the bill.

The main difference between the two is that Governors Ball has a number of “cool” acts who may not have the same longevity as some of Woodstock 50’s acts, but there are some artists performing at Woodstock 50 that you just won’t get to see again for a while.

The Verdict: A tie, with maybe a slight edge to Woodstock 50. If you’re going to a festival where you can discover new music, Governors Ball is the way to go. If you want a mix of throwbacks, radio hits and maybe a few new bands in genre’s you aren’t as familiar with, Woodstock 50 gets the nod.

Jay Z at the Meadows in 2017. Photo by Brian Benton.

Location

Is Randall’s Island at all comparable to Watkin’s Glen, New York, where Woodstock 50 will be held? Probably not, but we don’t actually know. The issue Woodstock 50 will undoubtedly face is managing massive crowds at a first time (well, at least first in a while) festival. The team behind the festival is certainly going to be stellar, but who’s to say how things like bathrooms, parking, and crowd maintenance will be until the weekend actually begins. We assume there will be camping options too, but no information has been released about that yet.

Meanwhile, Governors Ball just gets better and smoother each year. Randalls Island is a pretty nice place for a festival, accessible by the subway for visitors on a budget and also accessible by ferry for more exclusive, unique access. Each year, the festival manages to utilize the space better and better.

Watkin’s Glen is also not Bethel, and it is almost twice as far of a drive from New York City than the original Woodstock was. We know the festival is not just for Manhattan-dwellers, but fans should be wary of the location before committing to it. A 5-hour drive back to the city Sunday night is much less doable than a 2.5-hour drive.

The Verdict: Governors Ball gets a slight edge just because it’s guaranteed to be good. Woodstock 50 will definitely not be a repeat of Woodstock 99, but there’s just something a little scary about attending a festival that hasn’t been done for a while.

The Rest

Who will have the better options for food, VIP-packages or on-site entertainment? Only time will tell. Woodstock 50 seems to be a bit behind schedule on announcing some of this information, but surely it will be coming soon. Even ticket prices aren’t out yet, while most other August festivals have early bird packages going already. Meanwhile, three-day Governors Ball passes are $305.00, and one-day tickets are currently at $115.00.

We’ll keep you updated on both festivals as the summer draws closer. In the meantime, more information about Governors Ball is at governorsballmusicfestival.com and Woodstock 50 is at woodstock.com.

Brian Benton
Brian is the founder and editor of Respect Your Youngers. He currently lives in New York City, and previously lived in St. Louis and San Francisco. He enjoys public transportation and coffee, and can be found online at brianfbenton.com

Governors Ball and Woodstock 50 present New Yorkers with an epic summer festival decision

There may be no better place in the United States to be as a fan of music festivals than New York City. Even with the loss of Panorama and The Meadows, the Big Apple still has close to a dozen major summer festivals within easy reach, from Made In America in Philadelphia, Electric Zoo for EDM fans, and the steadily growing Afropunk. Even a trip to Delaware for Firefly or Massachusetts for Boston Calling isn’t out of reach.

However, this year’s competition is heated way up with the introduction of Woodstock 50, a three-day event in August celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the first festival of the same name. While it isn’t attempting to be a returning event like Governors Ball is, the stellar lineups with few repeats make it one of the biggest decisions NYC music fans will have to make. Here is our analysis of both festivals to help you make your decision a little bit easier.

Headliners

This year, Governors Ball has Tyler, The Creator, Florence and the Machine and The Strokes at top billing. Also scheduled to appear during the three day weekend are Kacey Musgraves, Brockhampton and The 1975. The festival has always struggled a bit on Friday, bringing in a younger crowd that is either at school or work for most of the day and can’t get out to the island til the evening, and Friday is by far the slowest line-up day. The Strokes closing out Sunday is a nice choice, but it’s unclear who will open for them on the main stage as most of the remaining big acts that day are hip hop or electronic artists.

Woodstock 50 held nothing back with their lineup, bringing classic acts that will draw the attention of attendees of the original Woodstock (or at least people who wish they’d been there) and mixing in some impressive younger acts, too. Dead and Company headlining Saturday is going to be an incredible experience, and Jay Z and The Killers may not be the hottest headliners this summer but they will certainly draw all ages crowds.

The Verdict: Of course Woodstock 50 wins here. We have to assume they got some excellent deals from artists eager to be a part of this weekend festival, and the results are nothing short of amazing. Only Lollapalooza, which splits acts over four days, comes close to the massive nature of the Woodstock 50 lineup.

The Rest of the Bill

The most impressive thing about the Woodstock 50 lineup is realizing that Jack White, Carlos Santana and David Crosby are all going to be playing the same festival as Chance the Rapper and Princess Nokia. Scheduling, stage management and weekend flow will be crucial here. At Governors Ball, Saturday is absolutely killer, with the perfect mix of rising acts like Calpurnia and King Princess that will draw fans later, and plenty of amazing acts at the top of the bill.

The main difference between the two is that Governors Ball has a number of “cool” acts who may not have the same longevity as some of Woodstock 50’s acts, but there are some artists performing at Woodstock 50 that you just won’t get to see again for a while.

The Verdict: A tie, with maybe a slight edge to Woodstock 50. If you’re going to a festival where you can discover new music, Governors Ball is the way to go. If you want a mix of throwbacks, radio hits and maybe a few new bands in genre’s you aren’t as familiar with, Woodstock 50 gets the nod.

Jay Z at the Meadows in 2017. Photo by Brian Benton.

Location

Is Randall’s Island at all comparable to Watkin’s Glen, New York, where Woodstock 50 will be held? Probably not, but we don’t actually know. The issue Woodstock 50 will undoubtedly face is managing massive crowds at a first time (well, at least first in a while) festival. The team behind the festival is certainly going to be stellar, but who’s to say how things like bathrooms, parking, and crowd maintenance will be until the weekend actually begins. We assume there will be camping options too, but no information has been released about that yet.

Meanwhile, Governors Ball just gets better and smoother each year. Randalls Island is a pretty nice place for a festival, accessible by the subway for visitors on a budget and also accessible by ferry for more exclusive, unique access. Each year, the festival manages to utilize the space better and better.

Watkin’s Glen is also not Bethel, and it is almost twice as far of a drive from New York City than the original Woodstock was. We know the festival is not just for Manhattan-dwellers, but fans should be wary of the location before committing to it. A 5-hour drive back to the city Sunday night is much less doable than a 2.5-hour drive.

The Verdict: Governors Ball gets a slight edge just because it’s guaranteed to be good. Woodstock 50 will definitely not be a repeat of Woodstock 99, but there’s just something a little scary about attending a festival that hasn’t been done for a while.

The Rest

Who will have the better options for food, VIP-packages or on-site entertainment? Only time will tell. Woodstock 50 seems to be a bit behind schedule on announcing some of this information, but surely it will be coming soon. Even ticket prices aren’t out yet, while most other August festivals have early bird packages going already. Meanwhile, three-day Governors Ball passes are $305.00, and one-day tickets are currently at $115.00.

We’ll keep you updated on both festivals as the summer draws closer. In the meantime, more information about Governors Ball is at governorsballmusicfestival.com and Woodstock 50 is at woodstock.com.

Scroll to top