From Friday, July 22nd to Saturday, July 24th the inaugural edition of Panorama Music Festival was held on Randall’s Island in New York City. Organized by Golden Voice, the company behind Coachella, the three day event featured technology-inspired art, good eats, and a stellar music lineup that included Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Alabama Shakes, Major Lazer, Sia, A$AP Rocky, Sufjan Stevens, and more. Just in case you missed out, The Untitled Magazine has the scoop on all of the highlights from the epic weekend.
Although ticket sellers would definitely have preferred a sold out festival, a crowd that was less congested than usual NYC festivals made for a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, complete with friendly security guards. While Coachella is known for star sightings and the hipper-than-thou clothing of some of its style-obsessed attendees, the crowd at Panorama was more relaxed. Denim shorts were the item of the weekend and there were only a small handle of flower crowns in sight. This could of been due to the heatwave or maybe New Yorkers were really just there for the music.
Golden Voice definitely brought the techie and eco-conscious vibes of California to Panorama. Technology was omnipresent. The Lab, a space powered by HP, featured interactive digital art that gave festival goers a fun refuge from the heat. Other high-tech attractions included a virtual graffiti installation and a giant cube that provided shade as its four LCD walls broadcasted performances from the main stage. Compared to festival competitors, Governor’s Ball and Electric Zoo, which also take place on Randall’s Island, the grounds of Panorama seemed immaculate thanks to a bevy of recycling bins and an extremely active clean-up crew.
On Friday evening, indie-rock lovers got to relive high school memories at Broken Social Scene where the band pleased hardcore fans with classic BSS hits like “Major Label Debut” and “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl.” A little bit later, the opening rhythm of Major Lazer’s giant hit “Pon De Floor” had people running to the main stage where the 98 degree weather didn’t keep a hyped crowd from dancing hard to the super-group’s hits as well as current smashes like Justin Bieber’s “Where Are You Now” and Desiigner’s “Panda.” As Diplo and Jillionaire DJed, Walshy Fire ignited the crowd, kept up the positive vibes, and hinted at current events by saying “We need to New York to support peace and unity so that the world will follow.”
One minute after her scheduled time slot, FKA Twigs, performed to a rapt crowd at the Pavilion tent and as usual her show proved to a visual feast. It was hard to tell if fans were mesmerized more by her platinum braids and glittering body suit or her music. Back at the main stage, Alabama Shakes proved to be the perfect sunset concert. Even people in line for food were grooving and dancing along to Brittany Howard’s soulful vocals.
That night at the same stage, Arcade Fire, put on an epic show that included a David Bowie tribute and a marching band-style walk through the crowd. On the opposite side of the fest, ScHoolboy Q performed to a lackluster crowd that he later took to Twitter to criticize. Rumors have it that his disappointment in the performance reception led to him pulling out of Kendrick Lamar’s show the next day. Later on, fans stood in long lines outside of The Parlor tent to see DJ Khaled where an at-capacity crowd meant that many never got in to see his performance prompting the much-repeated question: “Who actually saw DJ Khaled?”
On Saturday, Melanie Martinez, who was featured in The Untitled Magazine’s #GirlPower Issue, performed in the early afternoon to a solid crowd of “crybaby” fans. Later at the mainstage, up-and-coming British duo, Oh Wonder made their NYC festival debut on the main stage, singing hits “Livewire,” “Without You,” and “Technicolor Beat,” to a happy crowd. Right after, at The Pavilion tent, three-piece European duo (who we interviewed right before), Daughter, played a riveting show that opened with current smash “How.” Halfway through their set, the band expertly transitioned from the fast-paced “No Care” to the super emotional, 2013 massive hit, “Youth.”
Over at the main stage, Foals rocked a giant crowd before Dev Hynes took over the stage to perform as Blood Orange. Flanked by vivacious back-up singers and wearing G-Unit denim shorts with a gender-bending strappy white tank top. Hynes performed past songs as well as new tracks from his current album, Freetown Sound. Song lyrics like “Black is Gold. Rightly So” hinted at Hynes’ stance on current events while maintaining a funky, 80s tinged sound.
The action then returned to the opposite side of Randall’s Island where Flosstradamus had the sweaty crowd jumping at the Pavilion. Next door, at The Parlor tent, lucky show goers were treated to an energetic set from AlunaGeorge. However, once again, the at-capacity venue meant that many fans were left out. The situation repeated itself for Kaytranada afterwards. Those who braved the stifling heat in the tent between sets were treated to a high intensity DJ set that went from disco to early 2000s Nelly and back again. In a different part of the fest, at the same time as Kaytranada, Sufjan Stevens gave a packed crowd an epically outrageous rock opera-style concert complete with sparkly neon outfits, colorful projections, back-up dancers, and one Beyoncé reference. In between shooting glitter out into the crowd, changing costumes, and performing “songs about death” the singer sang in auto-tune and joked “I’m trying to be like Kanye.”
Over at the main stage Kendrick Lamar’s hour-and-a-half Saturday night set didn’t disappoint. Performing in front of black-and-white LCD screen that included video footage of Oprah, Nancy Reagan, race riots, Foxy Brown, George W. Bush, Bill O’Reilly, Ellen Degeneres, Obama, and Prince, the rapper kept the crowd physically and politically engaged with current hits from album To Pimp A Butterfly as well as older tracks like “Swimming Pools” and “A.D.H.D.”
On Sunday, festival organizers pulled out all of the stops. During the day Flatbush Zombies, SZA, and The Front Bottoms were among that acts that kept the crowds moving, On the main stage, Kurt Vile & The Violators closed out the afternoon before Run The Jewels took over. Following them, Sia, gave another epic performance that again made people wonder – who is actually on stage?
At the same time at the Pavilion, Asap Rocky amped up the audience with a characteristically high octane performance. Back at the main stage for the festival finale, New York favorites, LCD Soundsystem reunited for a long awaited homecoming performance.
Oh Wonder and Virtual Graffiti image courtesy of The Untitled Magazine, all other images courtesy of @PanoramaNYC Facebook & Instagram