CoS Exclusive FeaturesFestival Coverage

Governors Ball 2014: Top 10 Sets + Photos

on June 09, 2014, 9:15pm
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I used to see all those “I [heart] NY” mugs and T-shirts and think, Those are fucking hokey. Only naïve, cliché-prone tourists sport that shit. But that was before I ever went to New York. That was before this year’s Governors Ball Music Festival, which marked my first ever trip to the Big Apple and sparked a metropolitan love affair that I wish could go on forever.

Yes, I’m aware that Randall’s Island doesn’t really represent the city as a whole. But the fact that the Triborough Bridge is the only thing separating one of the world’s most populous and expansive urban centers from a locale that can feel as wonderfully remote as Bonnaroo despite being nestled between countless skyscapers … that’s magical.

0860 governorsball 060714 dh Governors Ball 2014: Top 10 Sets + Photos

Photo by David Hall

That vibe might be in part due to some of the same organizers’ involvement – these people know how to draw a crowd that genuinely cares about live music, not just the lookie-loo celeb/VIP groups that flock to most major fests. Still, this year’s stellar lineup had as much to do with the abundance of finer feelings. Some of our favorite acts – OutKast, Jack White, Damon Albarn, the Kills, Julian Casablancas + the Voidz, Grimes – have already or will play many of the top multi-day music events. Others – Spoon, TV on the Radio, Interpol, and most notably, the Strokes – made triumphant returns after years away.

Beyond those highlights, priceless moments were made by Phoenix, Disclosure, Janelle Monáe, La Roux, Lucius, and many more. After tirelessly chasing so much talent for three days virtually non-stop, exhaustion is setting in and involuntary sleep is imminent. But first, I’m gonna go buy one of those stupid T-shirts.

–David Hall
Contributing Writer

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Mike Leone
June 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I wasn’t able to see all the acts listed here, but here is my personal top 10:

June 11, 2014 at 11:45 am


June 10, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Pretty good review my top 10 would have been slightly different. I agree with Jenny! The top 10 sets for me would have been Jenny Lewis, The Strokes, Jack White, Deafheaven, James Blake, Interpol, Broken Bells, Disclosure, Vampire Weekend, Axwell, and Washed out. Ok maybe thats 11 but what a great weekend!

June 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

Only one pic of Jenny Lewis and no mention? Hers was the best set of the weekend! Favorites from Rilo and solo, as well as new songs that are leading me to think Voyager might be her best solo yet.

I agree with the others though. Jack White, man.

WMstudio (@BigCube_WM)
June 10, 2014 at 11:18 am

Beat Out Shots is a Hard Soccer Game!It’s NOT Free!!!@App store:

June 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

Great write-up and coverage. Much better then those two morons who reviewed Coachella earlier this year and did nothing but praise shitty pop acts. Glad to see you do have some people who know a thing or two about real music.

We’ve Been There Before
June 10, 2014 at 12:58 am

One of the best lineups of the year. Second only to Bonnaroo. For reviews on festivals, concerts, albums and other music, go to


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