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Governor’s Ball Organizers Prepare to Rock Randall’s Island

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Now in its fourth year, the Governor's Ball music festival on Randall's Island continues to grow. NY1's Jon Weinstein spoke with the organizers about the challenges of getting people to the event and keeping them safe once they get there. He filed the following report.

For three days each spring, Randall's Island turns into the center of the city's music scene. The Governor's Ball attracts some top tier musical talent, acts like Outkast, the Strokes and Jack White, which in turn attract 40,000 people to the island. It's a challenge to pull off considering nobody is allowed to drive there.

“It's not easy. We work with the MTA and New York Water Taxi and DOT to do it in a quick an efficient manner,” said Governor’s Ball organizer Tom Russell.

In fact, organizers estimate more than 15,000 people will walk to the festival each day, over a footbridge from East Harlem.

“It's really easy and people are used to walking especially in this city,” Russell said.

This is the fourth Governor's Ball event and it takes place June 6th through 8th. It'll take nearly two weeks to set up.

“Logistically the bridge is one of the biggest challenges, anything that is over 40,000 pounds has to come in a certain way, and anything that's bigger than eight feet wide has to come over at certain hours,” said site manager Jon Garbus.

The event's name Governor's Ball comes from the festival's original home on Governor's Island, but as it continued to grow over the last few years, they had to move to Randall’s Island.

“You can't do 40,000 people on Governor's Island. The only other place to do it in town was Randall's Island and we're stoked and lucky to be here,” said Russell.

Last August, another music festival on Randall's Island made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Electric Zoo had to be cut short when two people died of drug overdoses.

The organizers of Governor's Ball say they have a zero tolerance policy for drugs and there are safeguards in place.

“We have roaming medical teams and security teams that are roaming the festival making sure that everybody is acting in a safe manner. Additionally we really hammer our crowd with messaging, encouraging people to be smart, be safe,” said Russell.

Organizers say they're trying to be good neighbors by offering jobs to local residents and even fixing the grass when the festival is over. For more information on the festival, go to www.govball.com.

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