Summer is around the corner, and unlike last year’s unusual postponements that largely took place in the autumn, festivals are back in full swing. New York City’s biggest music festival, Governors Ball, is one of them — after nearly 10 years of being held on NYC’s Randall’s Island, organizers made the decision last year to move the festival to the parking lot of Citi Field in Queens, ensuring that if there was an onslaught of summer storms, no one would be stuck on a literal island trying to get out of the wind and rain.
Though it’s only been a little over eight months since the previous edition of Governors Ball, the festival is back in its usual June slot and boasts an exciting and relevant lineup of music. Headliners Kid Cudi, Halsey, and J. Cole will certainly draw the biggest crowds, but festivals are never just about the names at the top of the bill; each year, Governors Ball’s organizers do a terrific job of booking rising talent, both locally and internationally. (Check out the full lineup for 2022 here.)
This year features some massive showcase spots, even if that means getting to the festival a bit earlier. One thing that has changed from last year, however, is the total amount of stages. Instead of four stages with sets staggered back to back, there are only three stages this year, which will solve some of the heavy crowd funneling that occurred in previous years while also allowing rising artists to play with less competition for viewers.
If you’re heading to Gov Ball this weekend, it’s definitely worth it to give some of the smaller names a try — after all, they may just be headlining this very festival some day in the near future.
Here are five rising artists to catch at Governors Ball 2022.
Saturday, GoPuff Stage 12:10pm – 12:40pm
Chicago trio Dehd have just released their glowing fourth album, Blue Skies, and though their tight-knit sound is relatively pared down compared to their indie rock contemporaries, they take every opportunity to transcend. Newer track and standout album cut “Stars” feels equally classic as it is fresh and unique, howling and gentle at the same time.
Though nearly every song is short, they resist letting the songs on Blue Skies fall headfirst into a shoegaze-y mist, instead allowing for jangly guitars to paint bright streaks of color amidst driving drums and urgent, deeply heartfelt vocals. But within it all is an infectious air of patience and lightness, proving once and for all that you don’t need an album of four-plus minute songs to land an impression.
Friday, Bacardi Stage 12:20pm – 1:05pm
Pop duo Between Friends have transcended far beyond their bedrooms, and their new singles reflect that dynamic change well. The two siblings are currently on tour supporting Halsey with fellow Gen Z bedroom-to-big-room artist Beabadoobee, and are gearing up to release an exciting new project titled cutie, which features a visual component that hearkens back to ’90s nostalgia. But one listen to their introspective pop and it’s easy to see why they’re blowing up so much — they aren’t just talented singers, but they bring relatable lyrics and exquisitely crafted production to the table.
Del Water Gap
Sunday, Bacardi Stage 1:30pm – 2:15pm
Del Water Gap has skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, from appearing at big 2021 music festivals and Consequence‘s Protect Live Music livestream, to playing Late Night with Seth Meyers earlier this year. His anthem “Ode to a Conversation Stuck in your Throat” is a full-hearted plea, a brilliant slice of driving indie rock that makes the request “I don’t want anybody else touching you like I do” feel like an urgent, powerful act of devotion.
Not only is Del Water Gap attracting the attention of high fashion designers, he’s clearly on track to be a festival favorite throughout the next couple years — catch him now before he starts headlining these things.
Friday, Bacardi Stage 1:30pm – 2:15pm
Paris Texas is a remarkably unique duo, champions of a genre-less style and indicative of the way traditional hip-hop has morphed into wildly different, experimental, and thrilling arena in the last few years. To say they combine rap with rock doesn’t do their vibrant output justice — in their intoxicating cocktail of music are traces of everything, from pop punk, emo, and metal, to R&B, electronic, and trip-hop.
Fans of Injury Reserve’s left-of-center production, Jean Dawson’s hybrid angst, and JPEGMAFIA’s enthusiastic deliveries will be all over Paris, Texas, and their Gov Ball appearance is set to be a high-energy romp.
Sunday, Gov Ball NYC Stage 1:00pm – 1:45pm
“Classic” is perhaps the perfect word to describe The Brummies’ brand of indie rock. With their core members growing up around Birmingham, Alabama, the trio has affinity for country and folk-influenced pop, but with a dreamy, nostalgic glow found in ’60s pop and psychedelia.
They’re currently gearing up for the release of their third studio album, and appear to have padded out their sound even more; new track “Cosmic Space Girl” is truly effervescent, evoking not just the cosmic glow of space, but the warm haze of a beach at sunset. As Gov Ball’s final day begins, fitting The Brummies in is a perfect way to cap off a wonderful weekend of music.