Taking place in New York on Randall’s Island, The Governors Ball ― known to locals as “GovBall” or simply “The Ball” ― is the East Coast’s answer to Coachella. The Ball’s reputation musical headliners is well-earned. For example, musicians you would have found in a Governors Ball Festival Guide for 2015 include: Drake, Ratatat, Odesza, Vance Joy, The Districts, Benjamin Booker, Deadmau5, Flume, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, and The War on Drugs.
If this isn’t enough for you, The Ball has since unveiled a series of “after dark” concerts at smaller, more intimate venues around NYC, giving you a chance to see your favorite artists after the lights have gone out at the main event.
The festival has two main entrances: east and west. The west entrance is 20 minutes from the 125th Street 4/5/6 Subway Station. The east entrance is accessed via the 103rd Street footbridge. If you have a limited sense of direction, like me, I recommend leaving the same way you came in.
The Manhattan Ferry departs from the corner of 35th Street and FDR Drive, taking you directly to Randall’s Island’s West entrance. Be sure to book your Ferry Tickets in advance!
Take the 4/5/6 train to 125th Street and transfer to the x80 Special Event Bus. The bus charges $6.50 USD for a round trip.
If you are brave enough to tackle this route, expect to sit in gridlock traffic. Also, it’s crucial to note that you will not be able to request an Uber or a taxi between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., as neither are permitted on the island during those times ― and private parking for attendees isn’t available at all.
Get on the RFK Bridge at East 125th Street or Exit 18 from FDR Drive (left exit from northbound or right-hand exit from southbound Harlem River Drive). Once on the RFK Bridge, E-Z Pass users should stay left for the exit to Randall’s Island Park, immediately after the toll plaza. Those paying cash at the toll should stay to the right and take the entrance ramp to Randall’s Island Park, located about a half-mile past the toll plaza on the right-hand side.
Get on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge from the Grand Central Parkway. Stay right for the exit to Randall’s Island, immediately after the toll plaza.
Take the Major Deegan or Bruckner Expressway to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Once on the RFK Bridge continue toward Queens. After the Queens toll plaza, bear right for the Randall’s Island exit (about 200 yards).
Take the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway East to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Stay right for the exit to Randall’s Island Park, immediately after the toll plaza.
Get on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge from the Grand Central Parkway. Stay right for the exit to Randall’s Island Park, immediately after the toll plaza.
From I-80 or the New Jersey Turnpike, get on the George Washington Bridge. Follow signs for Through Traffic (on the upper level, stay to the left, on the lower level, stay to the right) to get onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, then take the Harlem River Drive/Amsterdam Avenue exit.
Keep left onto the Harlem River Drive, then stay straight to take FDR Drive South to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. On the Bridge, E-Z Pass users should stay left for the exit to Randall’s Island Park, immediately after the toll plaza. Those paying cash at the toll should stay to the right and take the entrance ramp to Randall’s Island Park, located about a half-mile past the toll plaza on the right side.
If you’re like us and want to be footloose and fancy-free, we suggest using personal lockers, which are available to rent for storing valuables. You can reserve a locker via PayPal on the official Governors Ball website.
If you decide to keep your mobile phone with you instead of putting it in a locker, cell phone charging stations are available in the following areas of the festival: VIP area, Samsung Galaxy Experience, PayPal Tent, and Miller Time Lounge
Each year, The Ball releases a newly updated app that let’s you customize your schedule, view the event map, receive tips on places to eat, and see other information you can include in your personal Governors Ball festival guide.
The Governors Ball is a great event for lovers of popular music and large festival atmospheres. But attending the event is even more enjoyable when you’re dressed for the occasion. Shop Packed Perfectly to find apparel and accessories for your trip—and travel in style!
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