The Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City cancelled several performances and evacuated the festival grounds due to severe thunderstorms on Sunday. The festival announced they would refund Sunday tickets and partially refund those who bought three-day tickets, while fans expressed frustration at the lack of an organized evacuation plan.
Organizers advised ticketholders Sunday morning not to show up to the festival grounds until they issued another statement with a clear plan for performances that day. The festival’s modified schedule cancelled performances from Charli XCX, Soccer Mommy, SOB x RBE and several others and overlapped co-headlining sets from The Strokes and SZA. After a few hours of performances when gates opened at 6:30 p.m., the festival announced an evacuation around 9:30 p.m. cancelling several more performances from The Strokes, SZA, Beast Coast and Kaytranada. Charli XCX played a makeup show later that night at Le Poisson Rouge, presented by GovBall.
Fans posted videos on social media and complained the festival didn’t appear to have a clear evacuation plan – similar to the chaotic mess earlier this year at Ultra Music Festival, which left festivalgoers stranded on the island. Many ended up walking back in the rain due to overcrowded buses and said they had difficulty leaving the festival grounds without an apparent plan to get the crowd off Randall’s Island Park. Video on social media showed concert goers chanting “Refund” and dismantling structures on the festival grounds.
— emily! (@EmilyHausmann) June 3, 2019
people tp’ing trees, dragging balloon arches, literally rioting like it’s the apocalypse while chanting “refund” “repent” at Gov Ball while evacuating. vid taken before torrential rain and lightning pic.twitter.com/9E000FLgby
— Michael Eisele (@michaeIeisele) June 3, 2019
Other fans were seen leaving the festival by ferry amid the thunder and lightning storm.
— Kellen (@kellensela) June 3, 2019
GovBall announced its refund plan Sunday night. A statement from festival organizers maintained the evacuations were for everyone’s safety and said refunds would be issued to primary ticket purchasers. “At this time we expect all refunds to be processed within 21 days,” the statement read, meaning fans should expect to be refunded by June 23.
Before the festival ended in chaos, fans had the chance to see Tyler, The Creator, Lil Wayne, Brockhampton, Florence and The Machine, The 1975, and Kacey Musgraves.