Panorama, Coachella’s Inaugural NYC Fest, Gives Gov Ball a Run For Its Money
Panorama, the New York City music, art and technology festival produced by AEG's Coachella producers Goldenvoice, closed its inaugural weekend on July 24. Given that it was held at Randall's Island Park, it was impossible not to compare it to Governors Ball, the three-day music fest held annually at the same location. The weather contrast between the two 2016 festivals is a huge variable when weighing the two side by side; rain drenched Gov Ball attendees back in June and resulted in the cancellation of its third day, while Panorama saw scorching temps in the upper '90s. It's truly bruised apples and overripe oranges, weather-wise.
And yet. Judging by year one, Gov Ball has a formidable competitor in Panorama. Goldenvoice stages Coachella in a desert, so it isn't surprising that they were well-prepared for the heat: Just before Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (and "sweats" they did) took the Pavilion stage at 3PM, wilting spectators found relief under ample mist tents and the shaded side hills of the park, while Panorama employees handed out water near the stages. If you loved dancing and air conditioning you were especially in luck, as the Despacio tent — a feat of audiophile wonder, co-curated by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and featuring strategically-stacked McIntosh amplifiers — and the electro oriented, 1100-capacity Parlor dome stage were both closed, air-conditioned spaces.
Another precious air-conditioned oasis? The bathrooms, i.e. the most typically-hellish part of a festival, felt luxurious and only saw long lines toward the headliner's set time. People exclaimed over the perk as they washed their hands with real, albeit non-potable, water.
But that brings us to the other reason Panorama can't be assessed next to Gov Ball just yet: Though official numbers have yet to surface, on Sunday there seemed to be far fewer in attendance. People arrived in droves for the later-evening performers Sia, A$AP Rocky and headliners LCD Soundsystem, but before that, crowds were sparse. It was a claustrophobic's dream!
Whether it was the prohibitively-hot weather, the lineup (which was great across the board on Sunday, and offered Arcade Fire and Kendrick Lamar as headliners on Friday and Saturday), or the possibility that people can only handle one major Randall's Island fest a year, Panorama felt slightly underattended. Hopefully, good word of mouth and another strong lineup will make Panorama a deserved favorite in 2017.
Those bathrooms, though. Can't stress how magical they were.
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