The show must go on for Governors Ball 2023, whose organizers have confirmed the festival is still scheduled for this weekend despite dangerously poor air quality in New York City and other areas of the Northeast.
“We’re closely monitoring the air quality with weather experts and are in close contact with city officials,” a Governors Ball representative wrote in a statement to Pitchfork. “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!”
As of June 7th, smoke from Canada wildfires have made New York’s air some of the worst in the world — at one point only second to Delhi, India for the worst air quality and pollution out of 100 tracked countries. In typical conditions, Swiss air quality tech company IQAir ranks New York with an Air Quality Index of 50, which they consider “good”; according to AirNow, the city’s Air Quality Index is at a “hazardous” 392 at the time of publishing.
“We recommend all New Yorkers limit outdoor activity to the greatest extent possible,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a news release Tuesday evening. “Those with pre-existing respiratory problems, like heart or breathing problems, as well as children and older adults, may be especially sensitive and should stay indoors at this time.” The smoke is expected to begin clearing late Thursday.
Conditions permitting, Governors Ball 2023 will take place June 9th-June 11th at the festival’s new home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, with Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo, Odesza, and Lil Nas X headlining (get last-minute tickets here).
The smoke is hardly the first natural catastrophe to wreak havoc on GovBall in recent years: In 2019, rainstorms forced the festival to evacuate, while its 2020 iteration was, of course, cancelled due to COVID-19.