Photos: Bushwick Locals Make Their Mark at Governors Ball 2021

Last weekend’s Governors Ball was the medicine NYC needed.

Bushwick’s local favorites Big Thief and Nation of Language shared stages with huge hometown icons like Megan Thee Stallion and A$AP Rocky, as attendance swelled to 50,000+ each day without a hitch.

Big Thief performing on Saturday. (Photo: Manny Tatkieto)
Nation of Language performing on Saturday. (Photo: Manny Tatkieto)
Meg Thee Stallion performing on Saturday. (Photo: Manny Tatkieto)
A$AP Rocky headlining on Saturday night. (Photo: Manny Tatkieto)

Friday had the festival’s opening artists full of energy, seemingly powered by the endless sunshine. We spoke to members of the NYC band Laundry Day after their performance and inquired about their favorite Bushwick hangout. “We love Salud on Bushwick Avenue,” vocalist Sawyer Nunes said. “You gotta get the bison burger when you’re there.” 

Also backstage was 99 Neighbors, a hip-hop group from Vermont that’s excited to visit Brooklyn this fall when they play Baby’s All Right in November. We also hung out with rapper RMR, who we had seen earlier with Bushwick local Calvin So.

So’s a big fan and caught the artist’s signature face mask from his spot in the front row. “I call his music gospel trap,” So told us. ‘”I’ve been listening to his music for few years, and he’s the songbird of our youth.”

RMR backstage on Friday alongside his fans during his performance. (Photo: Nick McManus)

The music was complimented by Bushwick’s food, with Roberta’s Pizza running a huge portable wood-fired oven supported by a 10-person crew. Director of Operations Maya Serhan told us this was Roberta’s first festival of the summer, and the group is thrilled to be back on the scene with its special “Bee Sting” pizza topped with soppressata, chili basil and honey. 

Staff and customers at Roberta’s Pizza. (Photo: Nick McManus)

Local Gordo’s Cantina owner JR Savage proved to be one of the festival’s busiest people, as he ran his booth while also running one across town for Global Citizen’s festival in Central Park.

We caught up with him while he stewed a pot of lamb for his birria tacos that are all the rage in Bushwick right now. This is his fifth year at Governors Ball, and Savage was fortunate to be located directly across from the main stage. “Even with bad weather in the past, we always do all right with sales here,” he said. “But with this gorgeous weekend, we’re gonna kill it.”

Gordo’s Cantina owner JR Savage (right) stewing lamb for his birria tacos alongside his staff. (Photo: Nick McManus)

Throughout the whole festival, a holy spirit of Bushwick, in the form of the marching Brass Queens ensemble, permeated throughout the crowd. Saxophonist Ally Anita Chapel used her height to lead the way through the thousands of people. The group even brought its New Orleans-inspired jazz backstage, where the group played for the stage crew.

Chapel told us that her band “that kicks brass” was excited to see Megan Thee Stallion later that Saturday. “We saw Megan at the Met Gala this month when we were invited to play the red carpet with Brooklyn United’s Drum line. We totally love her!”

The Brass Queens during their roaming performance on Saturday. (Photo: Nick McManus)

Governors Ball pulled out all the stops for a huge Post Malone finale capped off by fireworks high above the stage. Amidst our recent pandemic and social justice struggles, Post reminded the crowd how special this moment was.

“I’m so glad we could celebrate life together, love together,” he told everyone as he introduced his hit single “Circles.” “This next track is bringing that love together, with all of you.”

Post Malone closing out the festival on Sunday night. (Photo: Manny Tatkieto)

Attendees with the with the Gov Ball’s signature statue. (Photo: Nick McManus)
Attendees with the with the Gov Ball’s signature sign (Photo: Nick McManus)
Post Malone’s front row audience before headlining set. (Photo: Nick McManus)

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article referred to Maya Serhan as the “site director” of Roberta’s. Serhan is the director of operations. A correction was made at 12:41 p.m. on Oct. 1.

Featured Image: Manny Tatkieto

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