In only its third year, Panorama is a fresh face on the festival scene. Situated in the conveniently located Randall’s Island Park in New York City, the action takes place on a newly renovated “Event Lawn” that enjoys breezes off the river, a relief in sweaty late July. The lineup is stacked, yes, but the focus is on quality in all genres (Gucci Mane to Janet Jackson to Father John Misty to the XX) as opposed to quantity. NYC is the food capital of the country, so the sheer options and quality of the fest’s culinary scene are almost reason alone to go. Plus, there are interactive digital art installations and a mammoth virtual reality theater making Panorama one of best music festivals of the season.
July 27 – 29
Randall’s Island Park, NYC
WHERE TO STAY
The official Panorama site offers a few lodging packages that include three nights at a hotel in Manhattan, wristbands and ferry passes to Randall’s Island, but they’re a little pricey ($1700 and up), and don’t include flights. Another option is finding your own hotel in the ‘hood of your choosing by using their handy onsite search engine that has pre-populated the event dates and location.
Only three years old, Panorama is still in its infancy which offers some unexpected benefits. Last year, there were reports it not only was (blessedly) less crowded than other festivals, the audience was also much more relaxed. Plus, models. Lots of them.
CLAIM TO FESTIVAL FAME
Panorama’s goal really seems to be creating a tailored experience for the more discerning music aficionado. With fewer stages, a carefully curated lineup of artists, sophisticated technology, cutting-edge digital art installations and a fashion-forward crowd that epitomizes NYC cool, it’s the festival to attend if you’re into adulting.
SKIP IF …
You’re more of a country mouse. New York City is a lot of energy on a small island, and natives expect you to hurry up and keep their pace, or move out of the way. If the thought of all that teeming humanity pressing against you on a subway train makes you hyperventilate, Panorama might not be the place for you.
Get into the groove with this sampler:
“Mr. Brightside,” The Killers
“Lemonade,” Gucci Mane
“What Have You Done For Me Lately,” Janet Jackson
“Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings,” Father John Misty
“Broken Clocks,” SZA
WHAT TO WEAR
Flower-child-chic is not quite as prevalent at Panorama as it is at other music festivals, but you’ll still spot plenty of festival-ready wear, i.e., cutoffs and crocheted crop tops. New Yorkers know how scorching temps can get in July; still, black is the city’s unofficial uniform. Dress for humid heat, and pack both sunscreen and rain boots—the festival plays on rain or shine.
BEST BITE OR DRINK
Stop by the Liquor Garden near the main stage to grab a refreshing drink from Deep Eddy Vodka’s Dive In tour trailer. Try one of the speciality cocktails only available at Panorama — the “Bad and Boujee Mule” (passion fruit, Top Hat Ginger Beer, lime, schisandra bitters, purple orchid) or the “Boba Like You Mean It” (Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, “Duke of Earl Grey” tea, pressed lemonade, boba pearls).
Janet Jackson has just as much claim to music royalty as her brother. Catch her set for a polished stage show with exceptional choreography. On Friday, make sure to check pop’s newest “It” girl, Dua Lipa. Post up front to watch Alison Mosshart shred like a girl when the Killers close out the festival Sunday.
TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME
You could spend years in New York City and not see, do or taste all it has to offer. Plan ahead by browsing hip, in-the-know sites like NY Mag or TimeOutNY for your best bets of stuff to do in late July / early August, then plotting out a reasonable schedule. The last thing you want to spend your time in NYC doing is crisscrossing the city by hot, unpredictable trains.
FLOOD FEST IS FOR YOU IF …
You’re into a smaller, cooler summer festival experience. Panorama might get bigger and more unwieldy in years to come, but for now, it’s niche and new enough to impress your hardest-to-impress friends.
Panorama is the kind of stylish yet unpretentious festival that could only happen in a city brimming with effortless cool—the kind of festival that could only happen in New York.