A Look Back At The First Annual NYC Panorama Festival

For someone who has taken frequent trips to the Coachella mecca of Indio, California, it was great to see that the makers of the festival were pushing east. Apparently, they also brought the weather with them as the heat neared the triple digits all three days on Randall’s Island. Many wondered if New York had room for another festival of this magnitude given that the island mainstay, Governors Ball just concluded a few weeks back. Panorama Festival added it’s own flavor in a festival market that is constantly looking to stay fresh and not be a parity of itself. Surely, there’s room for one more, right?

Photo: MJ Rawls

Kendrick Lamar | Photo: MJ Rawls

Friday’s headaches in entering the festival aside (this can be expected with a festival in it’s first year), Panorama Festival sought to distinguish itself with music, art, and technology. Their were mantles of art placed within the festival that showcased New York features. The Lab was a cool getaway – displaying technology from HP and a 360 virtual reality theater. One can think that this will be further added onto in the next iteration for more immersive experiences.

Looking at the lineup that was curated, it spanned over completely different genres. In cases, there are so many different type of fans – you never know what reaction you are going to get. Some of Friday’s highlights were a high charged dance-hall infused set from Major Lazer, the elegance and grace of Lindsay Stirling, and the art/interpretive inspired FKA Twigs. If you haven’t seen Alabama Shakes and Brittany Howard’s command of the stage – this needs to be done sooner or later.   Later in the night, the DJ Khaled set highlighted the best and worst aspects about the capacity of the Parlor stage. Initially at 1100-person capacity space, there were at least 200 people lined up outside during Khaled’s set who unfortunately missed cameos from T.I., Fat Joe and Remy MaArcade Fire made their triumphant return utilizing their admiration for David Bowie with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band marching through the crowd with cover of “Heroes” and “Suffrage City”.


Day two saw a little more energy peppered throughtout the schedule. English rock band Foals brought fury to the main stage earlier in the day, where newcomers Anderson Paak and Blood Orange brought their own flavor. Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange project recently released album, Freetown Love has been receiving high acclaim and the fans reciprocated that. Anderson Paak packed the pavilion stage with his expertise rapping and on the drum set. Hearing about Sufjan Stevens, everyone would talk about his elaborate stage display. Complete with neon lights, wings, and a banjo throw down, Steven’s set was an underrated one. Closing out the night was Kendrick Lamar – and a much deserved spot it was. The Compton rapper commanded the end of the night with a mixture of his notable songs

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By the last day, your whole body was sore in a war against the heat, but the third day lineup was full of exciting music acts. Run The Jewels played as fans held their RTJ bandannas up high. Grace Potter was one of the acts during the day that you wanted to stay for the entire time.  Sia brought her theatrical approach to the main stage juxtaposed to A$AP Rocky‘s rowdy and lively set which may put him in the headliner category in future festivals. To round it out was the hometown heroes LCD Soundsystem. A big disco ball displayed a cool shiny reflection into the night sky. It seemed like most of New York was dancing to “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”.

I’ll admit, there were some reservations with another big festival to hit the tri-state area, but Panorama is here to stay. It brought memories, good eats, and music to the middle of the summer. I mean, what else are you going to spend your hard earned money on?

See more of our photos from Panorama NYC 2016 below.

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