Watch CBS News

Governor's Ball 2016 Complete Festival Guide

An estimated 150,000 music fans are expected to converge upon Randall's Island Park for the annual Governors Ball. With one of America's biggest multi-day festivals here this weekend, music lovers are advised to plan ahead to have the best and safest experience at this annual event that helps kick start the summer musical festival season. To help sort out the best of what there is to see and do at the Governors Ball, this concert guide may come in handy before and during this amazing three-day event taking place off the island of Manhattan.For more information on Governor's Ball 2016, including full lineups, photos, videos and more visit
Gary Clark Jr. (credit: Randy Yagi)

The Governors Ball
Randall's Island Park
New York, NY  10035

Dates: June 3-5, 2016

About The Governors Ball 

First held in 2011, the Governor's Ball has risen in status every year and has become of the biggest and top rated multi-day music festivals in North America. Over the years, the biggest names in the music industry have appeared at this annual event. Last year, the very impressive line of big name acts included Drake, Florence and the Machine, Björk, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent, Ryan Adams, My Morning Jacket and the Black Keys. Randall's Island lies in the East River between East Harlem, the South Bronx and Astoria, Queens. The name of the event comes from the original location on Governors Island, at the southern tip of Manhattan overlooking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and the Statue of Liberty. The event moved to Randall's Island Park at nearly the opposite end of Manhattan in 2012. For the latest up-to-date information, concert goers are encouraged to download the Governors Ball mobile app, available for iOS or Android devices.

How To Get There 
Subway And Bus

The best way to get to Randall's Island Park is by public transportation. Subway riders can take routes 4, 5 or 6 to the 125th Street station then transfer to the X80 express bus at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem. The X80 bus will transport concertgoers to the festival entrance. Alternatively, the walk from the 125th Street subway station is one mile.

Manhattan Ferry

Concert promoters say the Manhattan Ferry will be the easiest way to get to and from the show. Ferries will depart from the East 35th Street Ferry Landing near the intersection of East 35th Street and FDR Drive in Midtown Manhattan. The ferries will be operating daily beginning at 11:00 a.m., with departures approximately every 15 minutes. Ferries will continue to operate on the return trip until all ferry ticket holders are off Randall's Island. Tickets may still be purchased online.

Brooklyn Shuttle

Shuttles from Williamsburg, Brooklyn will be available beginning at 11:30 a.m. Shuttles will depart from the Brooklyn Bowl at the corner of North 12th Street and Wythe. Tickets may still be purchased online.


For many concert attendees, it will be more convenient to simply walk to the Governors Ball via the RFK Bridge from Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx. Alternatively, pedestrians can also walk across the footbridge from East 103rd St. in Manhattan. Cyclists are advised to take the 103rd Street footbridge to reach Randall's Island Park. Bike racks will be available near the entrance of the festival. In a partnership with New York City's Unlimited Biking, bike rentals will be available from three locations in Manhattan.


There is no parking available on Randall's Island for the Governors Ball. Additionally, there is no overnight parking and no tailgating on the island. For ticket holders being dropped off, promoters offer driving directions from Manhattan, Long Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey and Westchester.

Related: How To Save Money While Traveling - Taking Public Transportation

Accessible Services

The Governors Ball has an Access Program for accommodations and an ADA Access Info Booth will be on site at the festival, just inside the East Entrance. Additional information for transportation options and a description of the festival grounds are also available online. Also on site are accessible toilets and raised viewing platforms reserved for patrons with mobility disabilities and one companion, and will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • 11:00AM – Buses and Ferries Start Running to Island
  • 11:00AM – Box Office Opens
  • 11:45AM – Festival Gates Open
  • 12:15PM – Music Starts
  • 10:00PM – Box Office Closes
  • 11:00PM – Music Ends
Rain Or Shine

The Governors Ball will be held rain or shine. In the event of rain, concert promoters advise visitors to bring rain gear such as umbrellas and ponchos. In the event of sunshine, promoters advise visitors to bring sunglasses, sunscreen and plenty of water. Complete festival info, including a detailed festival map and entry/exit map, can be found online.


With the exception of single day general admission tickets for Friday, all tickets, including VIP tickets, are sold out. All ticket buyers who purchased tickets online will receive RFID wristbands in the mail which must be used to enter the festival each day. Ticket holders who experience technical ticket-related issues must contact EventBrite for assistance. Wristbands are non-transferable and non-exchangeable.

Brandon Flowers of The Killers (credit: Randy Yagi)

Who's Performing This Year

More than 60 musical acts will appear, including a special guest yet to be announced and hip hop icon Kanye West, who will be making his second appearance at the Governors Ball. Other major headliners slated to appear include The Strokes, The Killers, Beck, Death Cab for Cutie, M83, Gary Clark Jr. and Elle King. Performances at the music festival will be held on four stages, with premier acts performing on the GovBallNYC Stage. A complete list of the diverse collection of music artists and daily lineups are available online.

Festival Food (credit: Randy Yagi)

Where To Eat

More than 50 food vendors will be on hand to offer an eclectic collection of food. Vendors will be situated across the entire festival grounds with large concentrations near the West Gate, Big Apple Stage and Bacardi House State. Many of the food vendors will be offering vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free options, including Beecher's by Chloe, AsiaDog, PizzaNova, Try Vegan and Sweet Chili. Additionally, free water stations will be available throughout the festival grounds, as well as cocktail lounges and several beer stands.

Where To Stay

Although rates and availability will change daily as it gets closer to the start of the music festival, there is still time to find a place to stay. More than 170 properties are located in the proximity of Randall's Island and more than 650 total in Manhattan and other cities in New York and New Jersey. Concert goers looking for lodging at the last minute may want to use the Governor's Ball hotel search engine to find available rooms or a travel site of their choice.

What To Bring

The following items are among items that will be allowed on the festival grounds: sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, non-professional film and digital cameras, phone charging case or phone chargers, small backpacks or bags, blankets or beach towels, valid driver's license for will-call and/or to purchase alcohol. The official Governor's Ball websites offers a complete list of items that are allowed and not allowed.

What Not To Bring

The following are among items that will not be allowed past the entrance gates: weapons of any kind, fireworks or explosives, illegal substances, large or hard sided coolers, picnic baskets, skateboards, large umbrellas, hard back chairs and lawn furniture, pets, glass containers of any kind, alcohol, laser pointers, drones, professional video or camera equipment and selfie sticks. Concert promoters also suggest leaving valuables at home.

Related: First Time Visitor's Guide To New York City

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.