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Governors Ball Music Festival Will Go on Despite Flood Warning

By Bryan Graham | June 6, 2013 7:23pm
 This weekend's Governors Ball Music Festival will be Kanye West's first show as a solo headliner in New York since 2008.
This weekend's Governors Ball Music Festival will be Kanye West's first show as a solo headliner in New York since 2008.
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Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy

NEW YORK CITY — A little rain won't keep the city's summer music season from kicking off Friday with the Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall's Island.

Updates on the festival's website and official Twitter account said the three-day event "is 100% happening" despite an ominous weather forecast that includes a flash-flood warning issued Thursday for Friday morning through Saturday afternoon.

"We are expecting rain on Friday so come prepared with umbrellas, rain coats, ponchos, proper footwear and extra dry clothes," the official site reads.

Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Guns N' Roses top a bill that features more than 60 indie, pop, hip-hop and folk acts across four stages, including Nas, the Avett Brothers, Animal Collective, the Lumineers, Kendrick Lamar, Grizzly Bear and Thievery Corporation.

The festival, which runs through Sunday, has expanded to a three-day format in its third year. Independent NYC-based promoter Founders Entertainment launched it as a one-day event with an emphasis on dance acts in 2011 and broadened to two days last year. 

Also performing are Pretty Lights, Beach House, the xx, Feist, Cut Copy, Young the Giant, Beirut, Bloc Party, Beach House, Azealia Banks and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. While three-day passes are already sold out, $95 single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday are still available.

The grounds will also feature art installations, food from local trucks and restaurants, and a range of hipster-focused activities including life-sized Connect Four, ping-pong and other games.

It's not the first time adverse weather has loomed over a multi-day music event in New York, which has long proven a perilous market for festival promoters due to restrictions over noise and congestion, competition with the city's saturated cultural calendar and the increased cost of labor and equipment.

In 2009, heavy storms impacted last-minute ticket sales and prompted artist cancellations at All Points West, a three-day festival in Liberty State Park in Jersey City backed by the promoters of Coachella. The event did not return in 2010, joining a litany of would-be annual festivals — among them Vineland, Field Day, Across the Narrows and Bonnaroo N.E. that have failed to take root in the New York area despite promoters' best-laid plans.

Yet the organizers for Governors Ball, which has made no secret of its hope to become the festival New Yorkers call their own, remain optimistic.

"We are Rain or Shine," the organizers tweeted, "but lets all communally pray for Shine."