Through rain, mud and shine New York City music festival Governors Ball rolled on this past weekend, turning Randall's Island into a modern-day muck-filled wannabe-hippie fest (picture neon-clad, face paint-wearing twenty-somethings navigating the line-up with an iPhone app.)
Kanye West highlighted the three-day event Sunday with a set that included three songs off his upcoming album "Yeezus." But the festival included plenty of other up-and-coming bands who were given a chance to showcase their talent. U.S. News caught up with a few:
Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa by way of Liverpool, England, Jean-Philip Grobler makes up the one-man Brooklyn-based band (with a backing band for live shows) St. Lucia, who played one of the first sets of the festival. The day-long downpour didn't stop crowds from gathering for his set Friday, dancing in the rain to his upbeat synth-pop jams.
"The funny thing is often in these situations, when it's raining and it's crazy or it's super hot, often the crowd is more responsive to you because they kind of need to get into it more to forget the sh---y conditions," Grobler tells U.S. News after his set. "People who don't really care about music won't make the effort to come out as much as the people who just really want to be there for the music."
St. Lucia has spent time touring with Ellie Goulding this spring. "Her audience is very young, and sometimes I find that young people are more receptive to the quote-unquote 'pop music' than people in their 20s," he says. He will continue on the summer festival circuit before releasing his first full-length album in September.
"The way that I see it, there's one side that's kind of a little bit darker – still nostalgic-feeling and not like 'dark' – but having a sort of conflicted feeling," Grobler says of the new album. "And then there's sort of the happier side, the sort of poppy side, and it's kind of a further exploration of those two aesthetic ideas."
Music has always been a family affair for the three Southern California Haim sisters. Their band, also their last name, plays folksy girl-power jams with R&B influences blended with some hard rock moments. Haim's epic percussion sequences rocked the Governors Ball crowd Sunday afternoon. "My parents loved to play music together. It kind of brought them together as a couple," Alana Haim says, adding that the trio has played together since she was four. "Our parents have been so supportive. It really helped us and made it possible for us to be OK to play rock music – which is not normal."
They have a full-length record due out in the fall to follow up their 2012 EP "Forever."
"I wanted it to be out like yesterday," says Este Haim, "We did a lot of fun things during the making of it. So I think that comes across on the record. You can hear that we had fun."
Sibling rivalries rarely get in way of making music.
"There's occasional fights in the studio," Danielle Haim says. Este interjects, "But it's also a democracy, so if we really are passionate about something, we try it out, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work."
"We're actually all wearing sunglasses to cover the black eyes," Alana jokes. "We don't get into fights. We never did."
Alt-rock band Foals have already topped the charts in their native United Kingdom. The punk-funkers are taking their third album, "Holy Fire," on world tour, playing Governors Ball on Sunday evening before continuing on the festival circuit.
"We've been going through time zones the last few days and even that is kind of amazing," says bassist Walter Gervers. "It's taken us across the entire length of the country in just over a week."
"Festivals are good because they give you a chance to win over new fans," says drummer Jack Bevan. "People will be walking through and might be interested by what they're hearing. They might stick around for five minutes or we might keep them around for the whole set. It's definitely very satisfying when a crowd grows throughout the gig."