The final day of the Governors Ball festival on New York’s Randall’s Island was evacuated due to thunderstorms on Sunday night, causing the cancellation of several acts.
The festival had started approximately seven hours late, at 6:30 p.m., due to approaching storms, but proceeded with an abbreviated lineup. However, after 11 artists — including co-headliner Nas — had performed, fellow top-billed acts the Strokes and SZA were among the artists forced to cancel.
“Due to severe weather, Governors Ball was evacuated tonight. At this time, the island is clear of all guests,” the festival said in a statement at around 11 p.m. ET. “After close consultation with NYC officials and law enforcement, it was deemed necessary to cancel the event for the safety of our festival goers, artists and crew. We are as devastated as our fans by this decision, but nothing is more important than the safety of all attendees. While the festival is always rain or shine, we can’t proceed in weather as severe as tonight’s storm and lightning. Evacuation procedures were followed.”
Refund information is available on govball.com.
The audience was warned to leave the festival, which was held on Randall’s Island in New York’s East River, at around 9:30 p.m.
“Due to approaching severe weather, all persons should move quickly and calmly to the nearest exit,” read a warning posted on the video screens surrounding the stage.
The crowd responded angrily and rushed for the exits as the storm arrived, although no injuries or arrests were initially reported.
“It was pandemonium,” said one concertgoer. “People walking around aimlessly trying to find their way off the island, hopping over barricades to bum-rush busses.” The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which connects the island to Manhattan, was jammed with people exiting the festival in the rain — many choosing to walk rather than wait for the overcrowded busses.
Some 27 acts were scheduled to perform on the final day of the festival, which began on Friday. At around 9 a.m. on Sunday, the festival’s social media accounts advised fans that a weather warning was in effect. “Until we have posted an update, please DO NOT come to Randall’s Island Park for the festival,” it read.
Around two hours later it announced that the gate entrance had been delayed until 6:30 p.m. and a revised lineup would follow. Charli XCX, who was among the acts cancelled, complained on social media and trended on Twitter for several hours Sunday, announcing a rescheduled show at Le Poisson Rouge in New York’s Greenwich Village — which was presented by Governors Ball, a rep for the fest confirmed.
Acts who performed on Sunday were Noname, Chelsea Cutler, Shaed, Lily Allen, Sheck Wes, Bazzi, Bob Moses, Taylor Bennett, 070SHAKE, Louis the Child and Nas.
Acts scheduled for Sunday who did not perform included the Strokes, SZA, Charli XCX, Kaytranada, Aaron Aye, Beast Coast, Soccer Mommy, Flatbush Zombies, SOB x RBE, Parcels and others.
The festival’s first two days went off without a hitch — read Variety’s report on day one here — with headlining sets from Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne, Brockhampton and more on Friday; and Florence & the Machine, Major Lazer, the 1975, Kacey Musgraves, Vince Staples, Playboi Carti and others on Saturday.