Governor’s Ball Festival Returns to Randall’s Island With Kanye, Kendrick, More

It’s freezing and gross in a considerable chunk of the country, which means it’s time to start thinking about summer, and with it, the crowded, drunken, heavily-Instagrammed bacchanalia that is the summer music festival. Your first major festival lineup announcement of 2013 happened today, in this case the third-annual Governors Ball Music Festival, which returns to its home on Randall’s Island June 7th, 8th and 9th. The biggest names on the flyer are Kanye West and Kings of Leon, as well as one blacked-out name to be revealed later (let the speculation begin!). The bulk of the bill features people whose albums you really liked last year, or whose albums you didn’t really like but maybe read about a lot on music blogs, including Japandroids, Kendrick Lamar, Grizzly Bear, the xx, Nas, Dirty Projectors, Best Coast, The Lumineers, Gary Clark Jr., Beach House, Azealia Banks and dozens of other year-end list luminaries. Like musical confetti made from cut-up Pazz & Jop ballots. 

Other notable names on the lineup include one of BlackBook’s Stars of 2013, HAIM, Swedish party starters Icona Pop, Erykah Badu, Feist, festival regular Pretty Lights, Wild Nothing, Fucked Up and Dillon Francis. Those less inclined to care about the music can find food courtesy of a few familiar trucks, including Asia Dog, Mexicue and Pie for the People. There is also ping-pong, croquet and bocce and something called a "Silent Disco," which seems to be on the bill at a lot of festivals and the impetus for some half-baked thinkpiece somewhere about the way we live and share music now. Tickets for the big festival thing go on sale this Friday at noon. 

Several top-rated tracks of 2012, including Kendrick Lamar’s "Backseat Freestyle" and Japandroids’ "The House That Heaven Built," soundtrack the Austin Peters-helmed lineup video, which features Jonathan Sollis and Fabrizio Goldstein strolling around New York in tuxes and dark sunglasses, on a neverending quest to make it rain. Watch.

Music for Clowns: Rock & Roll Circus Tonight

Being a huge fan of both carnies and rock music, it almost feels as though I cooked up the Rock & Roll Circus in my own hazy, Peppermint booze-flooded head. Put on by the enduring Big Apple Circus, Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and featuring performances by the likes of Japanther, Ariel Pink, and Amazing Baby, the two-day event, held at the 40,000 square foot Lincoln Center (like fashion week for rockers!) is not only a reality, it’s also FREE. Well, at least half of the musical extravaganza is free: Tonight, the circus will be open for public exploration. Venture into the ridiculous circus tent, which includes bars sponsored by Belvedere as well as shows by Japanther, The Pharmacy, Voxhaul Broadcast, The So So Glos, and the Electric Tickle Machine. I haven’t received confirmation yet regarding swag bags, but with sponsors like Jet Blue and Pop Chips, and photo opportunities from Impossible Projects (of Polaroid fame), I’m guessing there will be opportunities galore. The event was produced in order to draw attention to the progressive music community, and tomorrow’s lineup – sadly not gratis, though well worth the price – is nearly as good as the food vendors.

Although former headliner Ok Go had to cancel last minute, I have to say their replacement is an even better choice. Ariel Pink will take over headlining duties tomorrow night, alongside Amazing Baby, Saint Motel, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Aska. However wonderful the musical performances may be, the fact that the famed Big Apple Circus will be performing is the cherry on top. Contortionists, balancing acts, jugglers, and acrobats will fill the ring, performing to Ariel Pink’s “Round and Round.”

Other reasons to go: Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream Truck, Mexicue, and Asia Dog will fend off munchies after local fave, Six Point Brewery, creates them.

Date: Monday, January 3rd/Tuesday January 4th. Time: 7PM, shows at 8PM. Price: Monday – Free/Tuesday $25 for Mezzanine, $30 for Ringside