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.

Vibe Media Sends Food Truck to Rockaways Hurricane Victims

Nobody in the New York area will forget Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy any time soon. Even those of us lucky enough not to have lost power or been forced to evacuate know many people who did. While the region did much to prepare, Sandy still ended up being a bona fide natural disaster, with major property damage and, sadly, more than 100 fatalities along the east coast. As with watershed events such as 9/11, the 2003 blackout, and the 2005 transit strike, people are already referring to the pre- and post-Sandy eras, as if our collective mindset has been permanently changed by it. And so, in the post-Sandy era, we at Vibe Media, the parent company of Vibe, Vibe Vixen, Uptown, and BlackBook, felt bad for those who had lost so much, and decided we’d feel better if we did something to help. And so we have. We’re sending a food truck—the Milk Truck, to be specific—to the Rockaways to distribute comfort food to hurricane victims. It’s there right now, and I must say, I feel good about it. 

It happened like this. Despite the loss of several productive days at the end of October—our office is on 19th Street in Manhattan, and was without power for a full week—the company had a good month in October. We surpassed our page view goals, which normally means that everybody gets a small bonus to recognize their contributions. Nothing too earth-shattering, but enough for a fun night out, which is definitely something we’re into

But Uptown executive editor Chrystal Parker had the idea of putting our bonuses toward hiring a food truck to deliver food to those most affected by the storm. It was a great idea, and before long everybody was signing their little windfalls over to the cause. When you add all that up, and then double it, thanks to a company match, we had enough to actually make a difference. And that’s what’s happening right now, as I type these words. The Milk Truck, famous for its grilled cheese sandwiches, soups, and other comfort food items, is currently parked at Beach 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, dishing out hot meals between noon and 4pm to people working to reclaim their lives and homes.

Fixing the damage will take months, if not years, and millions, if not billions, of dollars. But there’s plenty of value in grilled cheese and soup box lunches, each served with a sweet gherkin. Not only are they warm and delicious, they also tell victims that there are people in their community who care about them, and want them to know that they’re not alone. I’ll forgo a night out on the town for that, and it’s nice to know that the people I work with will too. 

Where to Eat, Drink, and Be Patriotic This Fourth of July

Time to don your red, white, and blue and settle into this country’s most exciting holiday. The weather is perfect, and when else does your boss condone drinking cold beer, eating a lot of barbecue, and chilling out in the middle of the week? Since all your friends have the day off, too, it’s like Saturday on a Wednesday_ plus fireworks.

For the party animal, check out the waterfront at Pier 92, where not only is there a killer view of the pyrotechnics, but you get to munch on southern goodies by Virgil’s Real Barbecue while DJs like Hook N Sling and Ken Loi provide fodder for dancing. Hosted by ARRIVAL NYC, the 12-hour rooftop-beach party starts at noon and features performances by Lil Jon, a tanning deck, and, aside from the tasty barbecue, they will have grub from food trucks too, including Cupcake Crew, Milk Truck, Souvlaki GR, and Valducci’s Pizza. Tickets are available here.

Another great view of the fireworks can be taken in at Hotel Chantelle, where this rooftop bar has a full on barbecue party going on starting at 1pm and running late. In Times Square at the Sky Room, $100 gets you a spot in the highest rooftop lounge in the city, plus five an open bar and picnic-themed nibbles like pigs-in-a-blanket, burgers, chicken fingers, and potato chips.

At Beaumarchais, they will be celebrating the Fourth of July with a cookout and brunch party that goes into the evening. For your eating pleasure, chef David E. Diaz will be grilling up specials like honey-glazed shrimp skewers, and, for your listening enjoyment, DJ Marco Peruzzi will be spinning all night. If you want a more sit down celebration, 508 GastroBrewery debuts their tantalizing sloppy Joe menu just in time for the fourth. Plus, the Hudson River is right around the corner, making firework viewing easy, that is, if you can get up after the meaty feast.

Across the East River in Brooklyn, the artsy group Secret Project Robot hosts their IndepenDance, a party and potluck from 3 to 9pm, which includes reggae and dub music spun by DJ Sweet V, Grace of Spades, and Queen Majesty. In case you are too lazy to make food, nearby you can pick up tacos at Taqueria El Fogon or go super lowbrow and order a bucket of fried chicken from Kennedy Fried Chicken and Pizza.

Of course, it Macy’s annual firework display doesn’t move you, forget trying to get above ground and head to Coney Island. During the day, you can root for your favorite professional eater at Nathan’s Famous July Fouth International Hot Dog-Eating Contest. Grab a sausage and fries yourself from their outlet and, as the sky turns dark, head to the Wonder Wheel and see all the glittering lights of the amusement park, plus a few stray fireworks to boot. Happy Birthday, America. 

New York City Will Be One Long Food Festival This Summer

It’s no secret: food events are all the rage. This couldn’t be truer than in New York, where dining alfresco has taken on a whole new meaning with the rise of food trucks, markets, and whole days dedicated to eating from little stands, festival or not.

Already this summer the New York Times has dedicated two articles to these events. In last week’s Sunday paper, they talked about the artisanal side of eating, small businesses, and the hunt to try foods first at these gatherings. The other one hit on the trend of music festivals turned in to food extravaganzas, the most recent example being the failed GoogaMooga a couple weeks ago (though props to them for refunding the VIP tickets). The complaint surrounding that event, and with a many food-centric gatherings, is waiting in line.

This problem isn’t so bad at weekly gatherings like Saturday’s Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene or the all-food bazaar Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At the Flea, they have nibbles like vegan Faux Gras by The Regal Vegan, Sam Mason’s Empire Mayonnaise, and tiny cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery. The year-old Smorgasburg has more vendors than we want to list here, but some of my favorites include First Prize Pies, Rick’s Picks, and Kings County Jerky. You can also get your grub on at Hester Street Fair, which features lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster, artisan ice pops from La Newyorkina, coffee from Café Grumpy, and a whole slew of other bites.  

If you just want to hit up a bunch of seasonal food trucks, try the Red Hook ballpark in Brooklyn, an area famous for its taco and papusa stands. In Manhattan, the Highline has spattering of snacks you can buy as you walk along its lovely, urban-meets-organic path. Also, for you beach goers, nothing is finer for a beach body than stuffing your face with Rockaway Taco and DiCosmo’s Italian Ice at the famous Rockaway Beach in Queens.

As for up coming food, music, and fun festivals that you will probably have to wait in line for, June 9 and 10 brings the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park. For a decade they have been hosting this meat and music fest. This year they have Jon Langford, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, and Southern Culture on the Skids to strike a cord as people chow on barbecue from the hottest spots around the country including Scott’s Bar-B-Que, Ed Mitchell’s whole hog roast, and Pappy’s Smokehouse.

Another event coming up is popular party host Dances of Vice’s Rockabilly Night Market at the DeKalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn on June 22, which will have music by Eddie Clendening and the Blue Ribbon Boys, plus tons of food from the vendors there. Governors Island also hosts food-happy events like their Cook Out NYC on July 7 and 8, which features a burger cook off, a kimchi eating contest, and lots of local craft beer.

So, go forth you hungry people and enjoy this popular way to eat outdoors, listening to music, and walking around our fair city. Is there something on your list this summer that we forgot? Please share and may the lines ever be in your favor.