Surviving Mudball 2013 (a.k.a. Governors Ball)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm not gonna lie: Last week, when I first stepped foot on the Governors Ball grounds and took in the apocalyptic muddy mess I was expected to dive into for the love of music, I thought, "What the f@*% have I gotten myself into?"

Governor's Ball was one of the most highly anticipated festivals of the year, with its killer lineup and location in the Big Bad Apple.

But Mother Nature literally rained on our parade, as tropical storm Andrea dumped record amounts of rainfall on New York on Friday. Day 1 of Governors Ball had music-lovers contending with a Waterworld-meets-Woodstock scenario, with the main grounds transformed into a shallow lake and festival goers braving pneumonia to see Of Monsters and Men on stage. By Day 2, the festival grounds had turned into a treacherous swamp that could and did suck off the sandals and sneakers of some poor, unfortunate souls.

Over the years, I've become somewhat of a music festival ninja so I did not end up on the casualty list. As I trolled Twitter and Instagram on Saturday morning to figure out what state Randall's Island was in, the only question on my mind was whether I should wear short rain boots or tall wellies—any other type of footwear was inconceivable. My short Hunter boots turned out to be quite perfect; they protected my feet from the ankle-deep mud but weren't stiflingly hot in 80-degree temps.

Wading through the mud on Saturday to get from one stage to another was time-consuming and exhausting. But once we were on solid cement in front of the main stage dancing to Cut Copy, singing along with Kings of Leon, and head-banging to Guns n' Roses, it was all too easy to forget the mud and mayhem behind us.

Sunday was a cakewalk in comparison to Saturday. While rubber boots were still an absolute necessity, a lot of the mud had solidified, making treks between stages far less arduous. My happiest moment was watching The Lumineers and the adorable kids from Success Academy Bronx 2 perform "Stubborn Love" and "Ho Hey" just as the sun was setting. I found The Lumineers to be one of those bands who you end up loving more after seeing them live. They are absolutely charming. 

The main event on Sunday was, of course, Kanye. For the love of Yeezus, we crammed ourselves in with thousands of other festival goers an hour before his set began. I'm partial to his Coachella performance in 2010, but it was pretty fun to be in the thick of the crowd throwing my hands up and bouncing in unison with everyone as he performed hit after hit. His new tracks are a bit rough for my taste, but we'll see. He might wear me down.

As challenging as it was to trek through all that mud, I still had an amazing time. It helped that I was as prepared as possible. If you're Type A like me and cannot stomach being on an island feeling utterly helpless, may I suggest a few things that would be great to have for the next (mud)fest?
  • Wet wipes. I know, it seems like something only a Mommy should carry, but it is positively luxurious when you're feeling sweaty and grimy. And after that inevitable porta-potty visit when the antibacterial gel has run out and the handwashing stands are piled with muck, you'll be thankful you have them. 
  • A portable cellphone charger. My friend Ajay sent me this little gizmo and it is an absolute lifesaver in these situations. Poor cell reception at festivals + phone calls and texts to locate friends + those videos and photos that you must take + adding filters to said photos on Instagram + posting on IG, Facebook and Twitter to #humblebrag = one dead phone. Yes, festivals have started putting up charging stations but they're not open all night (particularly at that moment when you phone breathes its final gasp) so it's better to take matters into your own hands. The MiiPower charger also has a built in flashlight, which is a nice little bonus.
  • Cash. Seems like a no-brainer but easy to forget. There are ATM stations in festivals but who really wants to pay all those additional fees on top of the exorbitantly priced cheapo beer? Not I, and I'm sure you'd rather not, too.
  • For the ladies: a bikini underneath your fab festival outfit. Whether or not you're able to summon up the courage/shamelessness to disrobe, it's always nice to have that option once the summer sun starts relentlessly beating down.
That I now have festival ninja tricks up my sleeve could mean that I've probably been to too many ... OR maybe it means it's time to hit Burning Man? Food for thought ...

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  1. Me gusta mucho tu blog, lo encontré de casualidad, y lo voy a poner entre mis favoritos.
    Sigue así.
    ¡Muy bueno!
    Te mando un abrazo.

    1. ¡Muchas gracias por sus palabras simpaticas, Kike! Espero que siges leyendo mi blog. Abrazos.