Skip to content
Inside Beat

Insider Beat: Targum's top 3 acts from Gov Ball 2023

 – Photo by Hamza Azeem

Last weekend, The Daily Targum's Inside Beat desk was lucky enough to be invited to this year's Governors Ball music festival. Though I was excited to hear some cool music and eat some good food, this journey was not for the weak.

The festival, previously held in Citi Field stadium over the years, was instead set up in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York, which was difficult to find. Parking was a hassle, and there was so much walking I thought my feet would fall off before I even saw the first act.

But in the end, it was all worth it when I got settled in and saw the performers I'd been waiting months for. So in my humble critic's opinion, these are the best three acts I saw on the final day of Gov Ball.


One of the first acts I saw was Giveon, an R&B singer who has risen to prominence in recent years. I'm not as familiar with the music scene as the average passionate festival-goer seems to be, and so I'm afraid to say I had never heard of Giveon before. 

Despite this, he was one of my favorite acts of the night. The stage's setup and the costumes he and his backup singers wore reminded me of 90s boy bands and foreshadowed the love-focused ballads we were about to hear. 

His heartbreak-focused music was reminiscent of late nights and busy thoughts. As a fan of sad girl music, I definitely vibed with the melancholic songs he played on stage, coupled with an ironic level of humor. Though I was unfortunately unfamiliar with the singer before, I made sure to add a few of those gems to my playlists when I got home.

Kendrick Lamar

Considering his massive level of fame and popularity, I don't feel the need to explain how excited the entire crowd was for Lamar's performance. He was, of course, the final act of the night and the whole festival itself, so the hype for his performance was building up throughout the day.

Shortly before he was set to perform, festival attendees moved in droves toward his stage — I could compare the reverence Lamar's fans had for him to that of passionate churchgoers and still fall a little short in my description.

Lamar came out right on time, which came as a surprise to me as I've waited a lot longer for many lesser-known acts, and he got right into his hits once on stage. His fans started chanting the lyrics, and I felt that my ears, already ringing from the rest of the day's events, might actually burst.

Though I don't know much of Lamar's music, it was impossible not to bask in the extreme excitement everyone felt from the start of his emergence onto the stage. His set started off with a bang, quite literally, as fireworks flew over Lamar within the first minute of his performance.

Although I was pretty far in the back of the crowd, the visuals were still breathtaking, and I felt like I was part of the party even though I could barely see Lamar himself for most of it.

Lil Nas X

Being my favorite act of the night by far and the main reason I was so excited to go to Gov Ball, Lil Nas X did not fail to impress. At the beginning of his set, he started strong with "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" but was almost immediately interrupted by technical difficulties with his earpiece that continued throughout the song.

He didn't let it get to him though — after going off stage for a quick beat, Lil Nas X came back on and restarted the song, which I didn't mind at all hearing again.

A big highlight for me was when he came out on a giant model horse, appropriately singing "Old Town Road," which drove the crowd wild. Though I was eager to cover Lamar's performance, which was scheduled for after, I knew I couldn't leave until I heard "INDUSTRY BABY" live, which he played last as an electric finish to his set.

Not only does he have some amazing songs in his discography, but Lil Nas X is also an incredible performer. Though it was only an hour-long set, he had approximately three costume changes and was equipped with clever props and artistic visuals. His overall stage presence and dancing skills are pretty unmatched by any other performer I've seen.

I should also add that due to timing, I missed both PinkPantheress and girl in red, acts I was particularly looking forward to but unfortunately occurred at the same time as Lil Nas X's set.

According to what I heard from others at the festival, both acts were successful, but sadly, I'll have to settle for watching them through shaky TikToks filmed at poor angles.

I've gone to concerts before, but I've never been to a music festival like this one, and it's an excellent opportunity to see so many of your favorite acts at the price of an average concert ticket. If you happened to miss this year's Gov Ball and consider yourself a music fan, be sure to check out next year's lineup and book those tickets if possible!

Related Articles

Join our newsletterSubscribe