Panorama Festival held its sophomore edition from July 28-30, bringing the likes of Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Nine Inch Nails and more to Randall’s Island in New York.
Produced by Goldenvoice, the powerhouse events team behind festivals like Coachella and FYF, the 3-day event has quickly made a name for itself in New York’s crowded festival space. While it’s still early days for the burgeoning festival, it isn’t hard to imagine Panorama soon becoming one of the East Coast’s more reputable musical attractions — especially if the lineup curation remains as consistent as its first two editions. With a manageable layout, enchanting art and technology installations, and some of the more savvy artist bookings we’ve seen of late, Panorama is worth checking out for festival fans everywhere.
Here are five reasons Panorama should be on your festival radar.
A festival’s biggest selling point — for better or worse — is always its lineup. In this light, Panorama deserves credit for booking a less obvious roster of acts. Sure, names like Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails will bring a far-reaching audience — yet there’s a conspicuous lack of more crowd-filling safety headliners like Calvin Harris, Lady Gaga etc. Rather, Panorama gives a platform to alternative favorites like Nicolas Jaar, Nick Murphy, Vince Staples; and for that, it deserves credit. Add on more niche acts like S U R V I V E (the composers behind Netflix’s Stranger Things), THEY., Mura Masa and Honey Dijon, and Panorama has created an indie tastemaker’s dream lineup in lieu of catering directly to the masses.
A more manageable Coachella
Panorama has previously been hailed as the ‘East Coast Coachella.’ Given its blockbuster bookings, it’s an apt comparison. Yet the biggest difference between the two events — outside of their geographical disparities — is the sheer scale. While Coachella attracts upwards of 100,000 guests per day, Panorama is notably (and comfortably) smaller (note: official attendance hasn’t been released at this time). As a result, the festival is more manageable, and feels entirely more navigable and laidback without sacrificing Goldenvoice’s renowned production value.
House and techno haven aka The Point
This year, Panorama introduced The Point stage: a consistent bastion of true house and techno running throughout the entire weekend. Modeled as a giant outdoor disco, The Point hosted legendary underground acts like Omar-S, Theo Parrish, Derrick Carter, and the inimitable Motor City Drum Ensemble in his first US tour. The stage is a bit of an outlier to the rock, indie, and EDM-heavy cast of the rest of the festival — yet therein lies its beauty. Goldenvoice has gone out of its way to cater to house and techno fans in a genuine way, and it’s much appreciated.
Awe-inspiring technology installations
From the outset, Panorama has made a point to feature futuristic, technology-driven art installations. Spearheading the move is HP and their forward-thinking HP Lounge. The art pop-up provided more than just a flashy, festival distraction, but an immersive experience, highlighted by features like a giant, responsive, inflatable orb, and an interactive music-making machine where attendees contributed their own parts to a larger ensemble.
Randall’s Island receives its fair share of both criticism and praise, but for a festival like Panorama, it feels like a natural home. Big enough to accommodate multiple large-scale stages, yet spaced out enough to avoid sound bleed, the venue grounds are easily traversable, with transit between stages never more than five minutes. It’s a refreshing change of pace from its more massive counterparts like Coachella, where more often than not, attempting to split set times between one’s favorite artists results in sluggish transit times and labyrinthine crowd navigation. The efficient size further played to the advantage of easy entrance and exit from the event, making for a logistically stress-free festival experience.
All photos via Panorama NYC