Gov Ball

Top Acts & Bands to See At Governors Ball 2017

May 19, 2017, 2:33 p.m.
Event Track / Governors Ball / News & Rumors / Top Acts & Bands to See At Governors Ball 2017

We are now only a few weeks away from Governors Ball coming back to Randall's Island and our music research is on full blast. If you are looking for some Governors Ball playlists check out our Gov Ball playlist section where we have created some playlists based on genre. Anyways, everyone knows to check out Phoenix or Childish Gambino (just not both due to a brutal conflict), but what about the little guys? This article is to go over the best acts from the bottom half of the Governors Ball 2017 poster. Most of these acts I have seen in person, and a few I am just really digging on Spotify. Here's my favorite acts from the bottom half of the poster for Gov Ball 2017.

Gov Ball 2017 Lineup

Barns Courtney - Rock

Playing: Honda on Sunday, 12:15-12:45
Sounds Like: The Black Keys

This guy is going to be big - he may not headline but he is going to move up festival posters quickly. He only has an EP out with five songs so I will be curious to see if he is playing some new songs at Governors Ball, which would be awesome. It may be a short EP but every song on it is awesome - really catchy riffs matched with a soulful voice. I rarely make predictions on non-mainstream artists getting big, but I really believe in this guy. I know it's always hard to get to Governors Ball early on Sunday after partying for two days, but if you can make it he's totally worth it.

Blossoms - Britpop

Playing: Honda on Friday, 1:30-2:15
Sounds Like: Poppy Blur

The next two bands on this list are guilty pleasures. Blossoms just write really catchy 3 minute songs that are upbeat with catchy choruses. Their whole self-titled debut album is solid but I particularly enjoy "Charlemagne", "Honey Sweet" and "Smashed Pianos". They are on pretty early in the day on Friday, but if you can make it to Governors Ball that early they are worth catching if you enjoy poppy, upbeat rock.

Saint Motel - Poprock

Playing Gov Ball on Saturday, 3:00-3:45
Sounds Like: Fitz & The Tantrums

Saint Motel is a guilty pleasure of mine, ever since the first time I heard their debut "My Type" with those goddamn intoxicating horns. They're so catchy I challenge you to listen to any of their top songs on Spotify and not tap your foot; I'm pretty sure they would make a corpse boogie. I'm not saying they're going to win any Grammy's, but this is going to be a really fun show at Governors Ball. I really like both their albums they have out and they easily have enough good songs to make a really entertaining 45 minute set. If you want something fun and upbeat don't miss Saint Motel on Saturday of Governors Ball.

Francis and the Lights - Alt Rock/Pop

Playing: Bacardi on Friday, 2:15-3:300
Sounds Like: James Blake

We saw Francis at Coachella and were pretty blown away. I had listened to some songs and liked him well enough, but we were really at his show because Banks was playing after him and we wanted a good spot for Banks. Holy hell did Francis come in like a wreckingball. First, this was by far the loudest show I have ever been to - ears were literally ringing and I have been front row at dozens of concerts. The bass was intense. Second, Francis is out of his fucking mind - in a good way. We definitely didn't see anyone at Coachella with more energy than Francis, it was incredible. Like I said, I wasn't a huge fan going in but it's hard to not like him after seeing him give so much energy - he really is an entertainer. If you attend concerts regularly you know there's really a handful or so of performers who really stick out in your mind - Francis is one of them for me. You really should try to make this show at Governors Ball, you won't forget it. Also note I know the video above isn't that great, but it's the best one I found to convey how fucking nuts this guy is (again in a good way).

Car Seat Headrest - Rock

Playing Big Apple on Saturday, 2:15-3:00
Sounds Like: Parquet Courts

If you still haven't checked out Car Seat Headrest's 2016 Teens of Denial I couldn't recommend it enough. It was my favorite album of 2016 with its catchy lyrics on anxiety and life into adulthood backed by awesome guitar riffs. I saw them both weekends of Coachella, and while I thought they had some growth to do as live performers, it was still a great show and one I liked enough to attend both weekends. They have some great live songs and sound terrific live. Unfortunately you need to decide between them and Francis and the Lights, which is a brutal Governors Ball conflict.

Honorable Mentions

The Orwells, Mondo Cozmo, Stormzy and Gryffin


Those are my favorite acts from the bottom half of Governors Ball's 2017 lineup. Admittedly I skew towards rock, so a lot of my recommendations are to that genre. Regardless of your type of music I would suggest you check out not just the acts above, but also all of the lower bands at Governors Ball. The festival does a great job of bringing in really great artists to fill the early spots in the lineup. The best part of these early shows is that you get to see a great live show from a talented artist who one day very well could be huge. Check out who was on the lower lines of Governors Ball in the past:

  • Governors Ball 2013: Dillon Francis and HAIM
  • Governors Ball 2014: The 1975, Run The Jewels, Chance the Rapper
  • Governors Ball 2015: Odesza, Royal Blood, Vance Joy (all still rising)

As you can see this is a festival that books great talent on the lower lines. Get off your ass in the morning and make your way to Governors Ball early to see some shows!

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