This past weekend marked the opening of Governors Island for the summer, with Benny Benassi, Hardwell, Bingo Players, and Dallas K. Last year the island saw the likes of Avicii, Steve Angello, Bassnectar, and other artists who traveled to Pacha’s remote location, which proved to be a consistently awesome place to party. However, with Pacha opting to move their offerings elsewhere (or at least trying to), Made Event took over the island creating a different experience. I was upset to find that the venue wasn’t as I remembered, but it’s still very early in the summer and things can be improved. Here are is my list of 5 ways Made Event can improve Governors Island:
UPDATE: Made Event has responded to the problems and they said they are fixing everything we mentioned! Via: Facebook
5. Better crowd control: it shouldn’t take hours to get there
By the time I arrived there were already a few hundred people in line for the ferry, and the hour-long wait meant that I missed most of the Bingo Players’ set. The frustration was palpable, with others equally upset about the delay.
Once we finally got to the island, the ticket scanning procedure was a nightmare. The box office was in the way of the ticket line and it made for a very confusing flow of people. Using barriers to “funnel” the flow of people is not a viable solution to crowd control. A little bit more attention to detail here would make the process so much smoother. It’s okay that Made Event doesn’t control the ferries, but they can at least minimize time on either end.
4. Boxed water is awkward: give us real bottles (with caps)
I was surprised to see everyone drinking out of awkward white boxes, but was quickly informed that it wasn’t milk — but boxed water. To make matters worse, personnel confiscated the bottle caps, making reusing them difficult and conserving them nearly impossible. An EDM show isn’t like a sporting event where you have to worry about unruly fans throwing caps on the field — we just want to stay hydrated. For $5
a bottle a box, we deserve a cap.
3. Fix the bathroom situation: you can never have enough porta potties
I can’t speak for the ladies, but the bathroom situation for guys was downright shameful, at least for opening weekend. There were random pipes protruding from the walls of the real bathrooms and there were far too few porta-potties for the large Governors Island crowd.
After the experience waiting for the ferry, the last thing I wanted to do was waste time waiting for the bathroom. This is a simple fix, however: Simply add more porta potties and fix up the bathrooms: less time spent on line for a bathroom means more time spent enjoying music.
2. Make the most of the space: Bring back the picnic tables and ditch the tent
If you went to an event on Governors Island last year, you’ll remember the picnic tables at the opposite end of the beach and raised VIP areas along the sides. Well, those are gone this year — along with the massive steel structure — only to be replaced with a big white tent. To make matters worse, the bar was placed inside the tent, which caused even more chaos.
Part of the allure of Governors Island is the open-air venue and spectacular views of the city. Our suggestion is to bring back the old structure — or at least something similar. The bar should be placed in a less trafficked location, and it might actually lead to more drink sales instead of less. We will give Made Event credit for improving the lighting situation, but there is a way to make the most of the space and have an awesome production.
1. Fix the Speakers: Sound quality is not negotiable
The poor sound quality in the new space was probably my biggest complaint of the event, since the music is the real reason why everyone was there. Not only was the sound volume too low, the levels felt out of balance giving everything an overwhelming bass-heavy feel. There are no longer giant speaker towers facing the sand. Sure, the sound inside the center of the tent was great, but the closed tent kept the heat in and sometimes you need to take a break. The only speakers on the sand where individual speaker/sub combos that usually grace the sides of a PA system. Once you moved back towards the bathrooms the music was barely audible.
While changing the tent and some of our other solutions might not be possible this year, adding more speakers definitely is. Please bring back that monster sound, perfectly balanced which makes the artists sound better. Just adding two more speaker towers would make everything else forgivable.
The Bottom Line
Made Event is just beginning its summer with Governors Island, and with some adjustments it can become another hit. Electric Zoo is an awesome festival and we have no doubt they can repeat the experience outside Randalls Island (where Zoo takes place). The music was on point despite the circumstances: Hardwell played a killer set and Benny Benassi worked his magic to keep the crowd going all night. The artsist are really what matters at a dance show — and the talent was on point.
Governors Island is still one of the most scenic and awesome venues in NYC, and there’s a lot of summer left to fix these problems. Made Event will continue to hold down the outpost for Super You and Me with Laidback Luke on July 16th, before Pacha returns with Alesso in July. We’re sure that the island will get its mojo back, it just needs a little more time before it’s ready for a closeup.
Dylan Farella contributed to this article.