Please be patient as we answer your questions. We will be answering questions from 1pm-2:30pm, and we will continue to answer questions over the course of the next 24 hours.

First off we want to sincerely express how sorry and upset we are that the festival had to delay opening and then eventually evacuate yesterday. We work all year round on the festival, and yesterday’s chain of events was the very last thing we ever wanted to occur. We are sending you this email to give you the truthful and transparent backstory on how the day played out from our side, and we encourage you to read through it all, and chat with us about it.

On Sunday June 2nd at 8am, the festival management team spoke with our professional weather service about the day’s forecast. At that time we were told that there was a high likelihood of thunderstorms and lightning throughout the afternoon, with 4pm-6pm being the most problematic and the most threatening. We relayed this information to The Parks Department, The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Special Events, and New York Police Department, and given the moving nature of the storm, we all agreed to regroup with the meteorologist for an updated forecast at 11am. Immediately after our conversation with the city agencies, we communicated to all Sunday and 3-day ticket buyers (as well as all wristband registrants) that due to severe weather, patrons should not come to Randall’s Island, and an update on the festival would be made no later than 11:30am. This message was sent via email, social handles, app push notification, and our website, in an effort to communicate to as many people as possible.

At 11am, the festival management team and all aforementioned city agencies (in addition to others) called our weather service for an updated forecast. We were informed at that time that the forecast had not changed. We were also told that after the expected weather cell hits between 4pm-6pm, a cold front was moving in which would reduce the likelihood of severe weather for the rest of the day. Given this information, a decision was made to push gates back to 6:30pm. This decision was made in an effort to save the festival day and deliver the most amount of music to you, our fans (15 of the 22 acts were rescheduled). After this call, we communicated through all of our channels about the delayed gates.

At around 5pm, the expected weather system did in fact come through the NYC area and hit Manhattan and Brooklyn with thunder, lightning and heavy rain. This weather was close enough to the festival site that we would have had to cancel and evacuate had it been a normally operating festival day. It moved fast through the city, and by 5:40pm the festival grounds were clear from imminent threat. Doors opened around 6:30pm, and the music started at 7pm.

At 9pm, we were alerted by our weather service that two weak weather systems had formed in New Jersey, and while weak, they needed to be monitored closely in case they intensified. We decided to check in with them every ten minutes, and while on the phone with them at 9:20pm, the two systems combined to create a very strong and very severe threat. There were reported sustained winds of 50+ MPH, a very strong likelihood of thunder and lightning (including cloud to cloud lightning & cloud to ground lightning), and the threat was moving in our direction. We immediately spoke with City officials and began to implement the part of our emergency management plan that calls for evacuation. Music stopped, stage managers instructed people to leave the venue via the PA system, stage screens showed evacuation instructions, and we messaged out via our socials and the festival app that an evacuation was in effect due to approaching severe weather. Working hand in hand with NYPD, MTA, DOT, TBTA (Tri-Borough Transit Authority), and a number of other agencies, we carried out our evacuation plan until the site was clear of attendees.

While we are happy that no injuries were reported during the evacuation, we aren’t going to sugar coat things here. When you are evacuating tens of thousands of people from any site, it is a challenging endeavor. We simply had no choice given the data we received about the approaching severe weather. Your safety is always our number one priority, and yesterday we did everything in our power to give you the most amount of music and Gov Ball as possible.

Less than two hours after the evacuation went into effect, we announced that all Sunday ticket buyers would be refunded and all 3-Day ticket buyers would be refunded pro-rata. There was no doubt in our mind that this was the right and necessary thing to do.

— Tom, Jordan and Team Founders Proof: https://twitter.com/GovBallNYC/status/1135713326384766976​

Comments: 1330 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

canned-ass173 karma

Would you ever consider making the festival 18+? There were so many unders passed out or belligerently drunk, and it just made the experience those first two days a little too uncomfortable to enjoy.

rickny056 karma

In my opinion it’s not teenagers, it’s teenagers drinking. Better enforcement of drinking laws would go a long way. Maybe only serve alcohol in 21+ areas.

liagikash33 karma

Honestly, there should be enforcement outside the gates too. People were selling drinks to underage kids on the RFK bridge and by the 125 st station.

TeamGovBall28 karma

Thank you, we will alert PD on this. - TR

liagikash12 karma

I think that's a good idea too but I am 19 and I brought my little sister, who is 14, with me purely to see the Strokes because she loves them as much as I do. There were also people selling drinks, before the gates were opened, to underage kids without checking ID. It's a complicated situation but there are some kids who genuinely care about the music.

canned-ass8 karma

That’s very valid and it was great to see kids there enjoying the show with parents, but I think they need supervision. You bringing your younger sister is a perfect example of that. But these kids were running around, evidently without abandon with zero supervision.

JorgeAndTheKraken11 karma

This, exactly. Make it a rule that kids can come, but only if accompanied by an adult, and make the wristbands issued to them fire-engine red so they stand out in a crowd. Have security guards check on kids they see who seem unaccompanied to make sure they are being supervised, the way they were supposedly roaming the grounds to look for underage drinking.

If it's really just about the music, then it shouldn't be a problem that they're being accompanied by an adult, right?

TeamGovBall9 karma

I think this is a valid and good suggestion and we will review. - TR

PeteFromNJ56 karma

** MAKE THE FESTIVAL 65+ PLEASE? **

I am tired of all of these young people. The following are steps I would like to see happen.

-Have your security check social security and AARP cards at the gates.

-Shut the music off at 6 pm. Nothing good ever happens after 6 pm.

-Matlock

Can you please confirm here and now that Gov Ball will prioritize its seniors?

TeamGovBall29 karma

Thank you for this, it has made this all a bit easier for my soul. - TR

pozz144 karma

I have a few points to make regarding Sunday’s debacle and the festival in general.

Firstly, the weather forecasts running up to and including Sunday consistently showed that the chance of storms was higher in the evening than the afternoon. That being the case, opening at 6:30 was irresponsible given that the delay was due to “public safety” concerns”.

Secondly, the behavior of some CSC security staff was severely over zealous. After the announcement of the evacuation, I witnessed a young man in his late teens throw an empty plastic bottle toward the main stage in frustration. Immediately, he was shoulder barged to the ground by a member of the security team and three further security officers joined in to hold him down. When he finally was allowed to get up he was bleeding from his forehead and visibly upset. As far as I saw he posed absolutely no threat to anyone.

Thirdly, if public safety was your primary concern, why once the storm hit were people not allowed to shelter within the festival grounds? They would have been far more protected from the weather and potential lighting strikes than walking over the bridges back to Manhattan.

I have attended the event for that past 4 years, but this will be my last given the shocking way Sunday was handled. There are also other annoyances, such as the price gouging that occurs by charging $15 to collect a “will call” wristband.

amberrlampss17 karma

And $15 to "ship" a bus shuttle pass. That's obscene and I took public transportation instead. EDIT: It was $10 plus a $3 service fee.

TeamGovBall15 karma

We will change the transpo shipping price for just transpo tickets next year, i agree with you, too much for that. - TR

TeamGovBall9 karma

The weather forecast running up to Sunday did call for isolated thunderstorms, and as mentioned we were talking with our weather folks so so so so often throughout the weekend and throughout sunday. They did identify that the strongest likelihood of severe weather was between the 4pm-6pm time window, and the aforementioned cold front that came after would reduce the likelihood of storms. We can only relay the exact data and information that was given to us and other agencies. The weather changed and was unpredictable.

Thank you for informing us about CSC. We have CCTV cameras around the grounds that recorded everything and we will look through footage to identify the guard, as that behavior is completely inappropriate. We will review and talk with CSC immediately.

A huge part of the weather system that was so concerning was the wind. The meteorologist said on the phone at 920 that the newly formed combined weather cell had sustained winds up to 50+ MPH, and that amount of wind is incredibly dangerous. Some structures on-site wouldnt have been able to handle that wind which would led to collapsed structures, flying gear/projectiles, etc. Because our severe weather plan takes high winds like this into account, we determined the safest couse of action was to get everyone off the island as quickly as possible via busses, ferries, over the bridge, etc. The wind concern was a huge pat of this.

Shipping cost $15 and after the shipping deadline all tickets went to will-call. If tickets are cheaper closer to the show, then we don't think that rewards the fans who buy early. We want people who buy early to get the cheapest possible price. - TR

feistysara39 karma

Hi Tom, Jordan, and Team Founders:I made a Reddit account today just so I could share the experiences I had this weekend with you. I don't even know how to describe how I am feeling. Profoundly unhappy might be a way to start. Before I go any further I want to clarify that I am upset at how you handled the situation. I know there are factors that go beyond your control. However, there were many things you could have done better to ensure everyone had a much more enjoyable and above all, safer, experience. This post is going to be long, so I am going to break it down into two sections. The first one will be an overview of what I experienced at Governor's Ball. The second part will be a continuation of my experiences and will also consist of suggestions I have on how you can make sure this NEVER happens again.

My experience

I first went to Governor's Ball in 2015. Honestly, it was one of the coolest festival experiences of my life. As my boyfriend and I were broke college students at the time, we could not afford plane tickets. So we rode on Greyhound buses from Los Angeles all the way to New York for three days straight just so we could attend. It was all SO worth it. Getting to see some of my favorite artists with one of the greatest cities in the world as a backdrop was surreal. After moving to Washington DC, we decided we had to go back. We were so excited when the 2019 lineup was released and bought 3-day wristbands and 3-day Williamsburg shuttle passes within the first five minutes of when they were released. The first two days of the festival were sublime. Sure there were little hiccups here and there, but nothing worth mentioning here. As an event planner, I know there is no such thing as a perfect event. Things will go wrong here and there, and that is fine. What is important is to have a backup plan. My understanding is that storms are not new to Governor's Ball. I know that the Sunday show was canceled in 2016. I know that it rained the first time I attended in 2015 (although thankfully it was light). I also know that 2013 was a memorably wet year for attendees. I do not understand how after running for NINE years, you do not have an actual emergency inclement weather plan in place. And no, kicking people out of the venue so they are no longer your liability, is not a plan. As Sunday came, you had a really tough choice on your hands. You knew there was the possibility of two storms that day, one in the afternoon and one at night. Rather than starting the day early and taking advantage of the sun, you postponed the show until after the first storm. It didn't really make sense to us as attendees. In fact, it seemed like you were trying really hard to not have to refund us for the day. You took a gamble in letting us come to the venue at 6:30 and you lost. Of course, as you know, not everyone got the memo about the event starting later in the day, so you had tons of people waiting for 8+ hours at the gates. Additionally, there was ZERO communication whatsoever for those of us who purchased shuttle/ferry passes. I messaged you on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in hopes of getting a response as to when the shuttles were running. I did not receive a response until 7:30pm, after I had already gotten to the venue. You guys never posted anything about shuttles/ferries anywhere which led hundreds of people to wait for hours. When the first storm came and went, rather than letting people in as soon as it ended, you still had them wait until 6:30. This resulted in thousands of people trying to get into the venue at the same time. This really sucked for those of us who had paid for shuttle passes, as we arrived long after the crowds were already there. By the way, the music did NOT start at 7. I know because I got to the venue at 6:30 and was able to get in at around 7, right after Noname finished her set. After finally getting in, we were able to enjoy the last day of Governor's Ball. We were most excited to see Kaytranada and The Strokes. As we started walking to the American Eagle stage for Kaytranada's set at around 9pm, it started to rain. This is at the exact same time you received an alert regarding the two weather systems. We waited at the stage for thirty minutes and received no updates from the festival about the hazard that was potentially approaching. If we had had any sort of warning during that time, getting off the island could have been a lot easier, as people could have left in waves rather than all at once. At 9:20 you were notified that the weather systems combined into a "very severe threat." What did we hear from you then? Nothing. The first notice we received as at 9:30 on the dot, ten minutes after you had that information at hand. At 9:30, the moment when Kaytranada was supposed to start, you decided to warn us about the storm. The updates on social media came after within the next 5-7 minutes. We hung out by the stage for a bit because security wasn't kicking us out and Kaytranada actually came on stage to greet his fans. After he left the stage we decided it was time to head out. As we were walking towards the exit, we saw angry fans start to throw trash at the stage. This scared us into moving further and faster away from the threat. Of course, later we saw videos of fans destroying the art on site. It was crazy to see how quickly people lost their sensibility. That is not at all your fault and I am so sorry that the art was destroyed. However, your security teams did not handle this situation well at all. There are videos of them pulling, shoving, and punching attendees (see second slide: https://www.instagram.com/p/ByO29EVlzAI/). From some of the videos, it's clear that the people apprehended weren't even the culprits, but rather unfortunate souls that happened to be standing close to the chaos. I am so glad we were able to get out of there before that started happening.As we went out of the gate, we tried to make our way through the crowd towards the Williamsburg shuttle. This is where our nightmare truly began. First of all, there were so few staff working (I only saw three) the shuttle line, that it became total anarchic chaos. People were shoving each other, knocking over barriers, hopping fences, and cutting the line. Your staff did nothing. How could they though? Three people versus an angry mob stand no chance. We decided to just get in the line and try to block people from shoving past us with our bodies. There was such poor signaling and communication from staff, that there were people stuck in that line that were in the wrong shuttle line or didn't even have passes. Later we learned that this was partially due to the fact that your security staff started to force people out of wherever the closest exit was, rather than allowing them to exit at their designated exit. Rather than allowing people to take cover, security and NYPD pushed people into the lightning storm (see https://twitter.com/xHelenhu/status/1135371500540825601 AND https://twitter.com/elvirthesultan/status/1135410343147122688)

feistysara55 karma

Within five minutes of getting in that line, it started to rain again and there were no buses in sight. People behind us started getting rowdy and tried pushing us forward into the barriers in order to get under the bridge. The way the Williamsburg shuttle pick up was set up did not take inclement weather into account. First of all, we were forced to stand just a few feet from under the bridge and were soaked. Rather than modifying the line so all of us could have stayed dry, you forced us to stand in the freezing rain with 50+ MPH winds. To make things worse, the line was placed right next to an enormous drain pipe. It was at least a foot in diameter, if not bigger. As we were getting poured on, the drainpipe started flooding where we were standing. Those were the scariest and longest 20-30 minutes of my life. I have never been more afraid for my life than I was on Sunday, and I have been robbed at gunpoint before. I have never felt so cold, wet, and desperate for help. As my rainboots started flooding with shin-level water and my entire body was being pounded on by the torrential storm, all I could do was focus on my breathing. I tried my best not to panic, cry, scream, etc. and simply lengthened my inhales and exhales. I had to focus all my attention on staying alive. I kept thinking: "Don't die. Don't die. Don't die." I noticed how the screams and cries of terror from those around me contrasted so greatly with the screams of joy we had heard earlier at the festival. This made me remember all the children I had seen earlier that day and throughout the weekend. Teens, preteens, the 10 and below crowd, and the babies and strollers. They were all there. Suddenly my situation did not seem as bad. All I could think about was how I hoped those children and babies were having a better experience than I was. From the screams of desperation around me, I could hear teenagers, which are also technically children, crying for their mothers and fathers and saying things like "I don't want to die." The line slowly started moving and after standing in the downpour of the rain and the drainpipe we were finally under the bridge. Others had to wait for even longer. After thirty long minutes, we finally got on a bus. I know we were some of the lucky ones because others were stranded on the island for 3+ hours. Others had to walk on the metal bridge as lightning was striking. 

You claim that our "safety is [your] number one priority" but your actions say the opposite. You could have held the festival earlier, canceled it altogether, had an emergency plan, allowed people to shelter in place, provided emergency supplies, etc. but you did none of that. You had nine years of previous experience and even a full day to plan how you would handle the potential emergency, and you failed. Completely. It felt like you tried your hardest to host the festival so you wouldn't have to refund us, and when that didn't work, you tried kicking us out of the venue rather than allowing us to shelter in place, so we would no longer be your liability. By the way, your claims that no one was injured were false. Just because there were no reported injuries, does not mean that they didn't happen. I witnessed people being trampled and stepped on.  People posted pictures on twitter of their injuries. Just because they didn't want to take a $500+ ambulance, does not mean that they weren't injured because of your utter failure at providing an emergency plan.

I appreciate your offer to refund our tickets. Honestly, it is the least you could do after exposing us to that hell on earth. You put us through emotional trauma that could have easily been prevented with better planning. GovBall, you're doing great, but you need to do better.

My suggestions (in no particular order):

  • Have an actual disaster plan. Provide designated shelter areas (stages, tents, under the bridges) or if you cannot provide shelter, provide everyone with a rain poncho, or if you're being stingy, trash bags so we do not have to get soaked and stay in cold, wet clothes for several hours.
    • Ensure that your disaster plan takes all potential threats into account. For example, don't place a shuttle line next to a massive drainpipe. Also, allow people to wait under the bridges rather than in the freezing rain.
  • Do not allow children to come to this event anymore. The fact that you are willing to risk exposing a small child, baby, and even teen to the horrors we experienced this weekend is insane. If you are not prepared to handle adults in these situations, you are nowhere near ready to handle children. No one should have to go through what we went through, especially a child.
  • Have the buses, ferries, etc. be ready. If you know there is a potential for a storm and for some reason you still decide to hold the show, hire extra buses so that people don't have to wait for so long. Make partnerships with rideshare apps and local NY transportation agencies to ensure people can get out of there as quickly as possible. Don't allow people to walk on a metal bridge in the middle of a lightning storm.
  • Allow people to exit wherever there is a regular or emergency exit. Do not force people out of the venue on the wrong side.
  • Better train your staff for emergencies. Most of the staff seemed as lost as we were.
    • This includes directing staff to certain areas that need extra assistance (aka shuttle/ferry lines).
  • Better train your security staff. Rather than standing around doing nothing, they should have started kicking us out from the very first announcement. When I went to festivals in Los Angeles, the CSC security staff would link arms and create giant human chains that would force people to leave.
  • Communicate with us. Keep us updated on transportation (aka when are shuttles running), festival logistics, potential inclement weather, emergency exit plan, etc. We were left in the dark about so many things. It all could have gone so much better if you just told us what the hell was going on.
  • Don't prioritize money over peoples' safety. I do not believe you even for a second when you say people's safety is your top priority when your actions showed the complete opposite. Next time, cancel the god damn festival or have an actual plan in place for how you're going to handle things. Again, kicking people out so they are no longer your liability, is not how you prioritize people's safety. Don't be so negligent. Do better.

TeamGovBall12 karma

Thank you so very much for taking the time to write this very detailed recap of your experience as well as your suggestions. I will try to respond to everything you mentioned here, and do so in bulleted form so easier to follow.

- We absolutely do have a comprehensive Crowd Safety and Emergency Management Plan, and it is one that we have continued to add to and fine-tune every year. It covers a number of emergency scenarios, including evacuation responses for severe weather. Enacting our evacuation plan and instructing people to leave the venue has absolutely nothing to do with liability - it was entirely for attendee safety. The storm that developed as the result of the two weak cells combing reported sustained winds of over 50+ MPH and that amount of wind makes it completely unsafe for people to remain in the venue. Tents, structures, activations, art, etc are not suited to handle wind of that magnitude and it is more dangerous for people to remain in the venue with that type of wind as opposed to have people exit through the gates.

- The weather service we employed told us that the main severe threat for the day was between 2pm-6pm, with 4-6pm being the most problematic window. Here is a screenshot of the weather report we received at 5:30am: https://imgur.com/a/5sMPTgQ. After talking to the meteorologist repeatedly throughout the morning, we determined it was best to push gates to 6:30pm in order to avoid the most problematic window of time and save the show and provide the most amount of music as possible to fans.

- Regarding the lack of communication about transportation services to the island prior to 6:30pm doors, you are 100% right. We should have been more communicative. There was internal debate about whether to give specific information about when people should head to the island via transpo services, partially because of the expected 4-6pm weather and how it would affect and impact those services. Some people thought we should be more explicitly clear on that and others not. Ultimately this falls on me, and I am sincerely sorry. In the future I will make sure we are more clear about transpo services when impacted by delayed gates due to weather.

- After the weather system forecasted came thru and passed, the data we saw was that the forecast was good for rest of the day and the threat was minimal. Screenshot of weather report we got at 6:53pm here: https://imgur.com/a/UrGwTJx. We continued to chat with the meteorologist throughout the day and when those two weak cells were discovered we closely monitored them. When they combined and formed a severe threat, we immediately enacted our evac plan for severe weather.

- We should have been more communicative about the weak weather cells when we first heard about them at 9pm. In the future we will send out a message alerting people that we are monitoring weather in the area and to stay tuned.

- As soon as we found out that the two weak cells combined to form a stronger and very severe storm, we enacted our evac plan. The first step of that is to tell staff so they have 3-5 minutes to prep their staff for the evacuation plan and to be ready to help implement it. Once that happened we pushed everything out via all of our channels, stage screens, etc.

- After reading through your response, as well as the responses of others, it is clear that more signage and staff could have helped make the process easier for patrons to evacuate. We will also look at utilizing a PA system for possible audio assistance as well

- I personally watched the art installation incident in real time in the command center, and it was pretty unbelievable stuff. Security was dispatched immediately to stop the folks who were destroying the art. After seeing the videos posted online of security, myself and my team will look at the CCTV footage of the incident as well as all other social media, and identify what exactly happened and how we can best tell security to deal with issues like this in the future. We never condone the use of force in evacuations, but rather to help people exit the venue safely. This goes for the twitter videos you posted as well. Security should be helping folks and we will be looking at everything to determine what happened and how to fix and address in the future.

- The shuttle queue being next to a drain pipe is 100% true and it should not have been set up like that. We will make sure that does not happen ever again.

- We have asked all folks who were injured to contact us at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) so we know and have all information in hand. When we said that no injuries were reported, we were telling the truth. NYPD, festival staff, medical, etc saw or were told of any medical injuries, but if there were we of course want to know about it.

- It truly hurts my soul and my heart to know that you were as scared as you were. Our plans are in place to avoid that from happening as much as humanly possible. Any plan, no matter how it is, can be improved, and we are taking everything we are reading and hearing and learning today and using it to help improve our plans for the future. We will be examining everything with all agencies and making sure that instances like this in the future don't happen again and are executed in a way that leaves folks like you feeling comfortable safe and sound.

I've written a lot here, and please let me know if you would like me to speak to additional things or if i can forgetting address anything. I am answering every single person in the AMA.

Thank you - TR

adrianromero2336 karma

Do you guys plan on bringing back The Strokes next year as a headliner? A majority of the govball attendees including myself have been waiting all day for a chance to see them live.

TeamGovBall41 karma

We are working on something w them! Keep you posted.

jorgerr9632 karma

This was my first time, and while I enjoyed it, I thought the fest is too small for it to be in NYC. It is literally more expensive than ACL (my local fest) and it offers far less. Is there any other park available, or a future expansion?

My biggest disappointment was the merch. Only one stand for the whole festival, and no stickers or patches sold, also no bags so I had to carry everything and some of my white tees got stains.

Truth be told, I don't think I would come back, but I did like the festival except missing The Strokes.

TeamGovBall29 karma

Randall's Island Park is the only venue in NYC where you can do a fully paid ticketed event. Our event needs to be that way so we can offer the amount of A+ talent we want to offer to people, so we are working with the venue we are able to do our fest in. This being said, we love Randall's Island, and it's an incredible and beautiful space. - TR

tymarco1330 karma

Are there plans to make an age restriction for the festival in the future? I feel that a majority of the issues with the festival could be fixed with an 18+ restriction.

TeamGovBall3 karma

This has been addressed in a few other places, we are reviewing and will be back on this topic. - TR

keng999926 karma

There were rumours circling that you attempted to reschedule into a day show but the Strokes refused to play a day show. Can you debunk or confirm this?

TeamGovBall24 karma

This is not true at all. - TR

craigk72422 karma

Do you guys give any thought to why other all ages festivals (ACL, Outside Lands, Shaky Knees) in metropolitan areas with affluent suburbs seem to have a fun, pleasant vibe with a happy and wide ranging mix of people of various generations, as opposed to what GovBall has become, which is a legit nightmare of a time for anyone seemingly over the age of 23 or 24? Don't you think the way you changed what acts you book for this festival and who you market it to has - quite plainly from the comments here - negatively impacted the experience for anyone who isn't a belligerently drunk or high teenager? Take a look at your 2015 and 2016 posters and tell me you haven't changed the way you run this. No millennials I know want anything to do with GovBall anymore, and that's a shame.

TeamGovBall4 karma

We have heard this feedback from a few folks and we are reviewing internally and will be back. - TR

Alonzo194822 karma

While at the festival, I purchased a $75 patchwork jacket. I asked for a large, but recieved a medium. When I opened the plastic and noticed it was the wrong size I went to exchange it, but they refused because it was outside the plastic. The issue is, I had no way of noticing that they gave me the wrong size UNTIL I opened it.

They recommended I sell it online, because they said they almost sold out anyway. The issue is, currently all the sizes are available on the GovBall website and no one is going to buy the jacket through 3rd party websites as a result, which means I pretty much lost $75 due to a staffing error. This brings me to 2 questions:

  1. What training does the general staff go through to prevent this type of expensive mistake?

  2. Why is it that festival merch sells out by day 2, but is readily available through the website days after the event? Wouldn't it make more sense to provide the merch to the people at the festival first and sell the leftovers on the website after the fact?

TeamGovBall10 karma

This should not have happened. Email us at [email protected] and we will get you sorted. - TR

rwyman717 karma

The security at Gov Ball was seen using extreme force and seemed to actually elevate dangers rather than make the situation safer. People were being shoved to ground by huge security guards and for lack of a better term, attacked (I’m sure you could find video online, I witnessed one festival goer actually being kicked on the ground). We’re these security guards instructed to use force to get people off the island or was this their own tasteless attempt at crowd control?

TeamGovBall12 karma

We have CCTV footage of the entire festival grounds and we will be monitoring the footage to see and locate all examples of excessive force used by security. Any force used is completely unacceptable. Guards should have been helping people to the exit. if you can send us information about what you saw, the shirt color of the guard, etc and send it to [email protected] that would be much appreciated. - TR

randallrocket17 karma

Who was that nicely dressed and sophisticated sounding British dude who came on stage during the what would be the strokes set to tell everyone to evacuate the island? I felt bad that they were throwing bottles at him and wondering if he was ok and his relationship with the band and festival.

I was in line on the RFK bridge for a couple of hours before opening and all we had was a little sprinkle, was it really that bad on the island between 4 and 6?

Lastly, June 2nd was my 25th birthday, 'I don't want to be that guy but it was the worst birthday I ever had since I came all the way from Phoenix to see the strokes.

TeamGovBall21 karma

This was Richard the Strokes tour manager. We contacted him after people were not listening to our evacuation instructions, and he graciously and immediately came to the stage to help encourage people to leave. We thank Richard for his professionalism and help with everything. We love him, and we love The Strokes. - TR

footcramp9515 karma

Are you in talks with The Strokes regarding any sort of make-up show?

TeamGovBall11 karma

Working on it.

kevinbarone14 karma

Did you guys ever consider talking to the headliners for Sunday and cancelling Sunday altogether and push the last day back until Monday?

TeamGovBall22 karma

It was a discussion. Monday was not available.

sophieroseie12 karma

How much of a refund will we receive?

TeamGovBall12 karma

Sunday buyers - 100% 3-Day buyers - 33.33%

Meechspeachesx11 karma

Hey guys. I would like to speak to someone regarding some very traumatic experiences I had with your staff members. This is something very serious that I wouldn’t want to post on a public forum but it did cause me to miss an entire day of the festival because of how traumatic this was. Is there contact info of someone myself or my lawyer could be in contact with instead of having to go through many people to get to you?

Thanks in advance!

TeamGovBall6 karma

Hey - please email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) and someone will get back to you immediately - CCC

batchsncookies9 karma

Please bring back Meadows! The two years of Meadows were a far better festival and line-up than Gov Ball has been in years. Location was great (proximity to public transportation being the best part), music was great, and never had any issues with drunk children (maybe because a lot of them are back in school by Oct/Sept?).

I would take Meadows over Gov Ball in a heart beat - though I would love to patron both again. Please put together some solid line-ups and address the overwhelming problem with underage drinking.

TeamGovBall6 karma

Did you have any complaints or issues with the venue that Meadows was in?

Noted on the age complaint, and as promised above, we will review. - TR

acp3q9 karma

Would it be possible to have transparent evacuation plans posted on the website in the future? (Lightning evac, storm evac, shooter evac).

I would like to see what you would change in the future. Also I would not mind losing a juul or some water, etc. If the security was tightened. I saw many teens sneak in alcohol and security did not check bags thoroughly. Especially on Sunday when everyone was lined up at the entrances at the same time - security was just letting people through and not checking wristbands/bags. This shows me that you did not care for our safety but just wanted to let people in to avoid issuing a full refund.

Dear Tom, Jordan, and Team Founders: I was excited about the 10 year anniversary festival but I do not believe I will ever attend again.

TeamGovBall7 karma

We will review internally the idea of posting the plans online. There is a lot of merit in that, we just need to review if posting certain plans could put safety at a disadvantage (e.g. someone using plans against us somehow).

Noted about the teens, and we will review with security about being more thorough. They absolutely should have been very thorough on all days of the festival with the search process.

I want you to come back and enjoy our 10th anniversary festival, and if there's anything else I can speak to to make you change your mind please email us at [email protected] and we can chat more. - TR

ambientcloudmusic9 karma

Any chance for more indie bands next time?

I think the lineup is also partly to blame for more immature people in the crowd. The earlier Governors Ball years had more indie bands and apparently the crowds where also more normal where as this year seemed to attract a lot of immature and edgy young people under 18.

TeamGovBall8 karma

Noted. - TR

realfakeshday917 karma

I was at Governor's Ball in 2016. I had gone the past two years and had an amazing experience. That year was different. That year it changed. The lineup was solid, but there were so many underage kids who didn't know how to handle their drugs. Fuck it, it's a festival I was a dumb kid once too. Then the rain came and the whole good time vibe and friendly community hit a hard record scratch. Everyone was running for the very limited amount of shade and kicking people out from underneath. People eventually started to leave and it was a mob. Pushing, shoving and then eventually the mob got more rabid and a semi organized line became a heap of people. Where was security? Nowhere. Just speeding through on golf carts trying to get out. So much shoving, pushing, kicking fighting, Just real apocalypse shit. That stays with you going from having a good time to watching everything turn to pure anarchy. I haven't gone since and I thought this year I might, but I couldn't. Glad to see I was wise to stay home. You as organizers fail to hold yourselves responsible and say it was out of your hands. There's plenty of people that will still go and should, but I won't be one of them because your piss poor handling of evacuating is somewhat of a horror story for me.

TeamGovBall2 karma

I'm really sorry that your 2016 experience was a negative one and overshadowed your two prior years. Whenever it rains at a festival crowds do usually move quickly to get cover, etc but that doesn't excuse underage people acting afool. We have so much security on the grounds but we can always improve upon them by adding more or making sure they are better educated. We will commit to doing better as we always do, with security, with the age stuff, and more. I want you to come back and enjoy the festival as you did in 2014/2015. I hope my comments throughout the rest of this ADA give you some of my perspective and explain things a bit, and at the very least you know that I am committed to winning folks like you back. - TR

ShinstaFry7 karma

First off, I truly do appreciate your ongoing transparency including hosting numerous IAmA sessions over the years. You had a difficult hand dealt to you on Sunday and I believe you did what you thought was best given the circumstances.

What really horrified me was the disrespect and destruction by a handful of festival goers post-evacuation-announcement. From my vantage point, a majority of the chaos stemmed around the Bacardi Stage where Beast Coast was about to play, and something tells me many of these "lit" goers were those Mo Bamba-ing shortly before.

My question being - do you think booking the Sheck Wes / Playboi Carti hype & mosh pit type artists align with the "You're Doing Great" mantra?

TeamGovBall10 karma

The way some of those people acted during the evacuation really bothered me as well.

This is a tough, yet really great question. our You're Doing Great mantra has been around since we started the festival and it wasn't tied to any specific genre or type of artist, but rather a positive mindset that we as people have and one that we loved to see and experience going to festival over the years. While some acts do indeed have crowds that are more "positive/light hearted" vs "rowdy/aggressive," I think the beauty of music is that all acts attract different kinds of fans, not just one type. There's an incredibly hard working girl on our team who is pretty quiet and super sweet and she crushes punk rock all the time. I myself am a pretty positive/light hearted guy and i freaking love seeing acts like rage against the machine (while also loving acts like Joanna Newsom). But ultimately when we are booking the lineup it is more about what acts are coming out with new music and breaking the mold, what acts have great live shows and really bring it, and what acts really appeal to people. - TR

MgZIA5 karma

How are you guys going to deal with the amount of underage drinking inside the area? These people are not fun to be around they are always trying to start fights and try to cut in front of you. I saw a 15 year old girl drink in front of a security guard and the dude did nothing. You might as well not have restrictions cause it seems easy as hell to get drinks in there if you're underage

TeamGovBall3 karma

We are addressing this and will be better next year. - TR

footcramp955 karma

Have you considered eliminating the no-re-entry system? It seemed like the performance easily could have gone on by like 10:45, the hard rain and lighting didn’t last very long.

TeamGovBall5 karma

Because of the amount of people at the festival, we couldn't have evacuated and then re-entered folks safely and timely. There wasn't enough time to search folks again, and also we did have a strict curfew of 11:30pm. - TR

sylanbob8525 karma

I've been coming to the festival every year and the identity has changed to basically a shitshow hangout for young kids. Do you have plans to make the festival 18+ or do you just want to push out all older fans? You do realize eventually these young kids will outgrow the festival eventually too.

Go back to your identity before you have none left.

TeamGovBall8 karma

It's been a really interesting evolution over the years as we have grown. What we have done from the start is book the very best bands we possibly can. Over time our audience has gotten younger, and whether that's due to the culture, the artists, etc is debatable. We have explored going 18+ and we will continue to have those discussions - TR.

venicewitvh4 karma

WHAT IS UP WITH THE MEADOWS 2019?!?!?

TeamGovBall10 karma

No Meadows in 2019. Tried for FMCP but only got a one-day permit and we can't do a multi stage multy day show with that. Sigh...- TR

BlueRascal4 karma

Hi, I am totally understanding of the weather situation and it was a shame that things played out the way they did, but I have to ask, why did security guards have to go around snatching juuls from people all weekend? Did not personally happen to me but their were several times where I saw security walking through crowds and just snatching Juuls along with other totally harmless devices from people.

TeamGovBall3 karma

I don't know why people were doing this, but i will find out. They absolutely should not have been doing this. - TR

jonessamiam4 karma

Since my question was deleted, I’m going to ask again. Did you have an emergency evacuations prepared for people with injuries/ disabilities? I have a foot injury and was approached by many aggressive staff who did not seem to care I had a foot injury and thrown by security into crowd of people in the storm.

TeamGovBall4 karma

We haven't deleted any questions thus far on this AMA or anywhere on our socials.

We do and our access manager can walk you through that. Can you please email [email protected] and we can guide you through it. Would love to know more about your experience as well so we can use it to improve in future. TR

goldsel4 karma

this has nothing to do with the evac, but w friday being my second year at gov, i’ve noticed that the waiting in between sets is a little brutal. would u ever consider having djs or even just playing music in between? other concerts do this and it makes the waiting much more bearable. thanks!

TeamGovBall6 karma

We actually had ipods at each stage and the audio tech should have been playing them while the stages weren't live. Did you not hear ANY music in between sets anywhere?? My wife actually made the mixes and they were honestly pretty great. Would be very disappointed if the audio techs didn't use. Let me know. - TR

footcramp954 karma

Why is the bass always so overbearingly loud when you’re anywhere near the stage? If anything, shouldn’t the mix be worse for the casual fans all the way in the back and not for the superfans in the front?

TeamGovBall5 karma

Good question, we will definitely review this with our audio manager. - TR

olisnakkss3 karma

If there was a possibility of the storm happening later, why not have the head liners go first? isn’t who most people were looking forward to

TeamGovBall6 karma

the data we received showed the likelihood of a storm between 2pm-6pm with the greatest likelihood being from 4pm-6pm. Because of this we couldn't go earlier. We were told the cold front that came in after the 4-6pm storm would greatly reduce the likelihood of storms so it seemed to everyone that the best shot to save the show and give folks the most amount of music possible was to go from 630pm on. - TR

katieknj3 karma

I heard the fest wasn’t done in the AM / early afternoon because the Strokes refused to play in the daylight. Is that true? If it is true, why did you honor the request and not cancel their set?

TeamGovBall4 karma

This is absolutely not true.