Following a very successful debut year, Panorama Music Festival was brought back yet again to the Big Apple with a proper lineup of top-notch talent that was guaranteed to make any music lover salivate, regardless of their preferred musical stylings. With 3 jam-packed days of good tunes, interactive art installations, the finest eats NYC has to offer and a ball pit (oh yes, you heard that right), Pano was one for the books:
Walking onto Randall's Island, a spot I'm way too familiar with from all my previous years attending Electric Zoo, I was looking forward to seeing how Goldenvoice would utilize the space in comparison to how Zoo usually does.
The very first thing that caught my eye upon arrival happened to be one of the stages I was looking forward to the most, which was the more lowkey, disco and dance-music focused stage, The Point. Decked out in a black-and-white checkered floor, LED's in every nook and cranny of the open-air set-up and a stage crafted entirely out of disco balls, it was a no-brainer that The Point took the cake for grooviest stage.
Every single square foot of Randall's Island Park was put to good use- whether it was for a stage, some sort of intricate art installation, sponsored-booths and pop-ups with a ton of FREE stuff, a frosé stand and even more than you could ever possibly imagine. I found myself hopping from a Rough Trade record pop-up shop to a nifty little set-up with a neon-light filled subway cart, swings and even more booths with free games and prizes inside (I'm not kidding when I say I left after just one day with 75 different lil' free trinkets, including, dare I say, a fidget spinner).
A Sephora pop-up shop, a huge ball pit with inflatable doughnut's and pineapples, the list honestly goes on and on- helping set Pano apart from any other festival by being about more than just the music, but the experience as a whole. However, the most engaging, memorable thing of them all was hands-down The Lab:
It's funny because when you look at The Lab from the outside you think, "oh, it's just a white little tent it doesn't look THAT interesting". Oh, but that's where we all went wrong, my friends- as every single room was a unique, interactive art installation packed with state-of-the-art technology, VR, LED's, you name it. But that all changed when I stumbled into a pitch black room and immediately felt all my senses go right out the window (talk about a turn of events, am I right?)- I literally couldn't see, hear or touch anything.
The very next second, scattered bolts of light filled up the entire room as DARK CLOAKED FIGURES glided around the floor dragging these giant black boxes (someone please tell me why this was supposed to be a good idea). These cloaked figures then proceeded to suddenly box everyone in the middle of the room. To say that everyone was terrified in that moment is an understatement, as I was convinced that I was definitely about to die. Then, I literally saw the light at the end of the tunnel (or in this case, room):
Tthat sense of fear we all felt quickly vanished once this prisma of lights filled the room and everyone just stood there in complete silence, astonished and stunned by the spectacle before our very eyes.
Now, onto the most important part of any music festival: the music. It's no secret that Panorama is the new-kid-on-the-block in terms of multi-genre music fests; but after just two years, it's a given to say that Pano now easily rolls with the other top-dog fests like Coachella and Lollapalooza. Headliners like Tame Impala, Frank Ocean, JUSTICE, Tribe Called Quest are just a few to name, alongside artists like MURA MASA, CASHMERE CAT, BUSY P, DERRICK CARTER, HOT SINCE 82, MATOMA, NICK MURPHY (formerly known as CHET FAKER) and more. Of this stellar roster of talent lies SOFI TUKKER, who's hit single "Drinkee" was used in the official Panorama trailer:
The duo's energy on stage is absolutely infectious, and anyone with eyes can see the musical chemistry that these two share. Amongst stand-out performances like Sofi Tukker was Mura Masa- who just recently dropped his "Mura Masa" album featuring hit tracks like "Nuggets" and "Messy Love". Truthfully, I would consider Mura Masa to be one of the most talented, passionate artists in this current generation of electronic music- shifting between the trifecta of a keyboard, drums and electric guitar throughout his entire set. Watching him perform is a blessing, because Mura is one of those talents where you can see passion and emotion coarse throughout every single nerve in his body and face. "Nuggets" and "What If I Go?" vocalist Bonzai joined Mura on stage to perform the majority of the tracks off the hit album, delivering the energy and hopping around the stage like a bonafide fire-cracker.
As someone who is used music festivals that are strictly electronic-focused, it was a really amazing thing to see all these legendary artists coexist together on one little island in the heart of New York City. 11 year-old me and present-day me was looking forward to day 3 of Pano in particular, as French-electronic legends Justice were set to grace the Pavilion stage. In all of the acts I have ever seen, I have never seen a duo perform with such grace- these two demigods standing side by side, facing each other, as a halo of light cast a silhouette around the both of them. It was almost as if they were floating on stage. You wouldn't even see them make any extra or unnecessary movements, their musical prowess radiating class, delicacy and expertise.
From dropping classics like "Genesis" and "D.A.N.C.E" to "Love S.O.S" off of their most recent album "Woman", Justice effortlessly left everyone in awe. I stood there with goosebumps all over my arms, in a trance, while those signature intro synths to "We Are Your Friends" started pulsating throughout my ear drums. 30 seconds later, I found myself flailing, dancing and jumping around with my friends- all of us belting the lyrics to the gargantuan hit tune at the top of our lungs, and letting our souls get completely consumed by the music. And to me, this moment was priceless.
Topping off the night at The Point, neon lights grazed across shiny disco balls as everyone grooved in unison to the musical stylings of underground Chicago-house legend Derrick Carter. The funk was proper, and Derrick had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as a massive dance circle managed to erupt out of nowhere- solidifying the perfect end to a perfect weekend.