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Governors Ball 2023 Still Expected to Happen as New York Experiences 'Very Unhealthy' Air Quality

As smoke from the Canadian wildfires has drifted south into the United States – including through New York City – festival organizers for Governors Ball 2023 are ensuring they are “closely monitoring the air quality with weather experts and are in close contact with city officials” before the music event kicks off on Friday (June 9).

Governors Ball 2023 is still scheduled to take place this weekend from June 9-11, festival organizers have confirmed. A statement posted to social media reads, "As always, the health and safety of New Yorkers is our top priority. At this time, the festival is continuing as planned. We are hopeful that conditions will improve in the coming days and are looking forward to a great weekend!"

New York’s air quality has been characterized by Mayor Eric Adams as “very unhealthy” and is among some of the worst pollution in the world as of Wednesday, June 7.  The vast legions of smoke smothering New York are drifting south from more than 400 active wildfires in Canada. Several states in the northeastern part of the country have been affected, with New York enduring some of the worst air quality.

Yesterday, multiple events were cancelled due to the air quality. Those cancellations included the opening night of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park, which was set to feature performances from Taj Mahal, Corinne Bailey Rae, and the Harlem Gospel Travelers. Dende’s concert at the Sultan Room was canceled, and so was Jessica Lea Mayfield’s show at Brooklyn Made. Several Broadway shows, including the musicals Camelot and Hamilton, also closed Wednesday performances. Most notably, actress Jodie Comer pulled out of her one-woman play Prima Facie ten minutes into the show due to breathing difficulties. Her understudy, Dani Arlington, took over the role in her absence.

Governors Ball – which happens outdoors – is set to take place at its new home of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens this weekend. In addition to headliners Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo, and Odesza, the lineup includes Lil Nas X, Haim, Rina Sawayama, Pusha T, Snail Mail, Lil Uzi Vert, Diplo, Giveon, Lil Baby, PinkPantheress, Black Midi, and Syd, among others.

It's not the first time Governors Ball has had to work around extreme weather conditions. Back in 2019, Governors Ball (then held at Randall’s Island Park) had to be evacuated on its final night due to thunderstorms and severe weather. The festival issued refunds to those affected by the shutdown. Then, the pandemic caused the event’s cancellation in 2020. The 2021 and 2022 editions of the festival were held in the parking lot at Citi Field in Queens.

See the official Governors Ball statement below.

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Article Image: A photo of the foggy New York City skyline on June 7, 2023 as smoke from the Canadian wildfires pours in. (Anthony Quintano [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey