So let’s start with some history about this young festival, shall we?
The three day music festival was actually started in 2016 and was held on Randall’s Island from July 28th through July 30th. Originally, Panorama was supposed to take place in late June, a mere two weeks after Governors Ball. But, Governors Ball wasn’t having that, believing that having another music festival so close after would chip into their own ticket sales. So they petitioned the city of New York to move the concert further back. Mayor Bill De Blasio followed the legal suit and moved the festival seven weeks later, to be in late July as we now know it.
The 2016 lineup was quite a star-studded list, especially for their first go. For some unbiased credibility, some of those artists are Arcade Fire, Alabama Shakes, DJ Khaled, Lindsey Stirling, and Kendrick Lamar. Well, looking at that list, you might think that Panorama is just a mash of headlining artists and doesn’t actually bring any communities together like most music festivals do. But, stand corrected my friend, Panorama brings together the alternative crowd; the psychedelic lovers; the newer sounds. Which, when you look into it, makes a lot of sense considering the company behind Panorama, Goldenvoice of AEG Live also produce Coachella.
Anyway, onto other things, more pressing things, things that occurred in 2017 and not 2016. So, I attended two of the three-days of Panorama this year. I witnessed a lot of artists, experienced many things, talked with various people, and have a lot of ground to cover, so please bare with me. I hope the photos make it more bearable.
I have a bit of a bone to pick with Panorama, in all honest, cause I just find this completely and totally ridiculous and I’m still a bit heated about it, so we’re just going to get that out of the way here and now. I’m going to try and put this in some sort of art form, a delicate manner, at least for a moment. So, just look down at this list and tell me if you see something wrong.
The Panorama Restrictions:
- Aerosol containers, including sunscreen and personal beauty products
- Air horns and/or megaphones
- Alcoholic beverages of any kind
- Animals (besides service animals)
- Any container of liquid other than 1 factory sealed bottle of water (2L)
- Any items that can be used as a means to disturb the peace, endanger the safety of others
- Bota bags
- Cameras with detachable lenses
- Camping tents, canopies, or shade structures of any kind
- Chairs of any kind
- Chinese lanterns
- Coolers of any kind (besides those advanced for medical use)
- Drones or any other remote flying device
- Multi-use e-cigs
- Metal Water Bottles / Canisters
- Fake IDs
- Fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers, and/or incendiary or explosive devices of any kind
- Flags and/or flagpoles
- Focused light devices (including laser pointers)
- Outside food & beverage (besides one factory-sealed water bottle)
- Framed backpacks
- Glass containers of any kind
- Illegal or Illicit substances of any kind
- Large bags, purses, or backpacks (larger than 20″ x 15″ x 9″)
- Mace / pepper spray
- Marker pens or spray paint
- Musical instruments
- Professional audio recording equipment
- Tailgating, grilling, or BBQing equipment
- Scooters or personalized motorized vehicles (unless in accordance with ADA regulations)
- Selfie Sticks
- Skateboards, rollerblades, ‘hoverboards’
- Sleeping bags
- Sporting equipment (frisbees, footballs, whiffleballs, basketballs, soccer balls, etc.)
- Stuffed animals
- Unauthorized vending or soliciation materials (handbills, flyers, beach balls, samples, etc.)
- Walkie talkies
- Water guns, water balloons, and/or any kind of water projectile
- Weapons, knives, or firearms of any kind
Governors Ball Restrictions:
- Weapons of ANY kind
- Illegal Substances
- Tobacco/smoking products of any kind (including e-cigs, vape, etc.)
- Outside Food – A personal sized food item is allowed with a note only.
- Large or hard sided coolers
- Picnic Baskets
- Skateboards, scooters, or personal motorized vehicles
- Large Umbrellas (personal sized are okay)
- Hard back chairs / Lawn Furniture
- Totems made of wood, metal and/or PVC material will NOT be allowed (this includes flap poles and heavy sticks.) No totems taller than 6ft, and thicker than 1/2 inch. Must be made of light material.
- Glass containers of any kind
- Alcohol (alcohol will be sold at the Festival)
- Chains/Chain Wallets
- Nun chucks
- Large backpacks
- Selfie Sticks (they block sight lines and someone, somewhere will judge you)
- Laser pointers
- Professional still camera equipment (no detachable lenses, no tripods, big zooms, or commercial use rigs)
- Audio/video recording equipment
- Drones or hover cameras
- Emotional baggage
- No illegal vending is permitted. No unauthorized/unlicensed vendors allowed.
- Anything really valuable! Theft isn’t common at the festival at all but this is NYC and better safe than sorry
Van’s Warped Tour
- Selfie sticks
- Chains (ex: wallet chains)
- Recording devices
- Firearms, weapons, knives etc.
- Any illegal substances.
Alright, so above are three music festivals and their following restrictions. I think it’s quite obvious whose list is longer. Which, I am completely and utterly confused by. For instance, let’s take a look between Governors Ball and Panorama. The difference in lists makes no sense. They are both music festivals, they both last three days, they both occur in mid summer, and they both occur on Randall’s Island. So can someone please tell me why Panorama has twenty more, very specific, regulations than Governors Ball? Then Vans Warped Tour has forty less rules, there are a traveling tour, they have more artists, crowds, stages, and venues to secure!
So when I went to Vans Warped Tour, I brought my S’well water bottle, some aerosol sunscreen, and my high tech, large lens Samsung NX 900.
For Panorama, I could not bring my S’well water bottle, any sunscreen, or my professional-grade (is that a correct description of my camera?) camera to the festivities. But, first, I want to take a moment to talk about my lovely water bottle, cause there’s a story behind that one.
On the first day, I was able to bring my s’well. The second day security made me buy a locker outside of the festivities because I’ll be damned if you’re taking my water bottle from me. And just to have some sort of brain fart moment, why in hell am I not allowed to bring a metal water bottle, what do you imagine I’ll be doing with it? Like, ensuring it’s empty, alright, fine, I get it, making sure no underage drinking is occurring. That part is sensible. Considering you are hosting a music festival with a target audience of millennial; young adults, and metal water bottles are the bees knees everyone has, restricting them seems like you’re making more work for yourself. That just means you will need to clean up even more plastic and waste that will inevitably be dumped on the ground cause people are high off various substances and music, there is a lot of activity and persons, people are running and dancing and you’re just asking for a larger mess than necessary.
But some of the rules also very much confound me. First off, why can’t we bring outside food with us. That’s honestly, probably the worst rule just for the audiences sake. As anyone who has purchased any sort of concert ticket or fantasized about some festivals know, live music is not a cheap fiscal venture. Packing food is sometimes the best and greatest way for people to scrounge up money to purchase things like the merchandise or just the tickets. It’s just an obvious scam. They bring in these very trendy, Insta worthy vendors, and those aren’t cheap either. So if you are on some sort of budget, like myself, you forego the food options. Which, if you want to meet the paramedics, is a great idea. It’s hot, it’s crowded, there’s a lot of activity, it’s dangerous to not eat or really drink. You’re just asking for mass chaos due to health concerns.
For another one, someone please tell me what a framed backpack was. My friend and I have spent actual time discussing it, trying to figure out what a framed backpack is. And I’m assuming, they’re not restricting portraits of Jansport, so someone, preferably Google, inform me what this thing is. Cause I have yet to come across one in my lifetime.
I think it’s a bag with a metal bar of sorts. But I’m not quite sure how you could use these as anything more than a large bag to hold all your things. I understand that you can conceal some sort of things with all that space, still a little ridiculous considering if someone wanted to bring a large bag that was mostly empty because they had hopes for all the merch and memorabilia.
Okay, the mace and pepper spray are all understandable offensive instruments. But, you’re not gonna drink it and I’m not sure why someone would just grab it on the rare occasion that the psychedelic music warped into a mosh pit of sorts. However, maybe we should take into account that this is a three day music festival on an island off all boroughs in New York City and the headliners don’t go on until around 10 o’clock. So most people are then wandering around various boroughs and public transportation quite late at night. Relinquishing all defensive instruments of sorts, considering the situation, seems more like it’s less safe than more safe.
The selfie stick rule, completely understandable. I had a stint with a selfie stick once, lasted maybe a month. I judged myself so hard. And I judge everyone else. And it does completely block people’s views. On the other hand, music festivals are things people like to commemorate. Just saying.
Okay, what the fuck is with your hatred with stickers and stuffed animals? I’m not sure why I would bring either, but I’m defensive about it nonetheless. I own stickers. I own stuffed animals. You got a problem with that Panorama? But also, honestly, please tell me what the fuck you think we’re gonna do with them at the festival that you’re scared about. You can email me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org!
So, it was on the verge of raining all week. And a raincoat takes up more space in my bag than my personal size umbrella. So, that’s kinda annoying. Plus, my compact one, is all blue, makes it kinda hard to you know, make an outfit. Just saying.
Alright, I think I’ve spent way more time than necessary on these rules. But they really gave me a lot to talk about. Honestly, waiting in line on the first day to get in, most of the conversations drove towards this huge billboard they had outlining all of the rules. To put it lightly, it is a long one.
But as a preface to go on, I do need to touch upon the camera rule. Especially because the photos included in this post won’t come close to the usual quality I usually strive for. I would not call myself a photographer by any means, shapes, forms, or hexes of any kind. Having said that, I do strive to capture artists in their element. There’s something about taking away that passion, even after the concert has ended. That’s where the real memory comes in, because it recalls that sensation. So being unable to bring my camera with me, kinda annoyed me from the start. To the point, I kinda kept bringing it up. And it continuously annoyed me while viewing the performances and then viewing my photos and videos. For me, it doesn’t breed well, in the experience and after it. I also don’t think its breed well for the festival itself. No matter how much social media they do, how many advertisements they create, there really is nothing better or more far reaching than audiences building audiences on social media. One Instagram post with a good hashtag will reach more consumers than any stupid billboard or commercial. Ten times more than any Facebook post, because you’re not gonna see it unless you already know about it! So other than just being a horrid marketing strategy, it really just sours the experience, because as the memory dies out, without that great photo or video, it’ll never truly come back to life.
Alright, now I promise, I really am done. On to the actual experience of Panorama.
So, as I mentioned before, I went to two of the three days. Friday’s headliner was Frank Ocean and Saturday’s was Tame Impala. And if you follow me on Instagram, you might remember this photo from an earlier post, or, if you were also at Panorama, you might remember this light show from Saturday night. But I am going to break my experience up day-by-day.
Friday was very much a, let’s-see-it-all day. We got in, gained our ground, made our way around, and did most of the activities, apart from the two hp ones with large lines. There were a lot of nifty things. For instance, Toyota, Macy’s, and even Sephora had little activity booths. Receiving free bandana’s, scarves, body glitter, and falling face first into a symbolic ocean. It was pretty fun.
On to the musical note, on Friday I saw Mø, MGMT, Solange, Girl Talk, and Frank Ocean. It was a nice combination of slower artists to more upbeat musicians. Especially after a long day and hearing Solange’s sultry voice, Girl Talk came in quite handy to hear before Frank Ocean.
I really wish I had some more decent photography to share with you all from the experience, but I’m moving past the camera incident and onto another sort of rough patch for Panorama. While at the festival, we got notified on our phones from the app that the Parlor, an indoor venue space, had been surprisingly closed during the middle of the day. Before even half of their performances had a chance to go on. We didn’t find out until Saturday that the stage in the Parlor had actually collapsed. I’m assuming it was during someone’s performance, cause why else would a stage just completely collapse. So hear me out, I do have a running theory. Although it was never confirmed, I was looking for someone to ask, but the issue of information is something we’ll get into later. The Parlor, as I mentioned, was an indoor venue only a few feet away from the Pavilion and the main Panorama stage. So creating that covered area made a lot of sense, in effort to stifle the sounds from bleeding into each other. Yet, in many ways, the set-up was really poorly considered. Randall’s island, is by no means a small area to work with. The portion they carved out for the festival, was just debilitating in itself. There was not enough space for enough stages without poor sound quality. Which resulted in them literally building a domed stage, without considering the acoustics of that dome. Side note, I am not an engineer, I am not saying I an engineer, I am not an architect or have anything to do with math really. But my public education did do a good job in teaching me some sciences. Like the fact that sound waves, varying in volume and pitch do bounce off various substances, coincidentally, like the hard plastic or flimsy metal they constructed the dome’s roof with. The volume for the parlor’s musicians was so high, you felt that bass quite a distance from the stage and you thought you had a heart attack, inside it was a lot worse. So my running theory is that the reverberations literally were too strong for the stage, with all the sound equipment and activities, I don’t blame it for collapsing.
They rebuilt it overnight. And then moved all of the performances to earlier times in fear that it was going to collapse again. Great faith, real comforting. But onto Saturday’s artists, my friend was really there for Tame Impala, so we did a bit of camping that day. From around 5 pm to 9 pm, we held our spot in then VIP section in front of the stage. As a result, we saw Active Bird Community (they performed before we started camping out), Bleached (still before), Jaguar Ma (this is where the camping out started), Vince Staples, Nick Murphy, and of course, Tame Impala.
Tame Impala had an incredible show. They performed for an hour before trying to walk off stage, and when I say trying, I mean failing. The crowd wasn’t ready to say goodbye, and why would they? They don’t know the next time they’ll see Tame Impala live again, or if they are working on another album or not. All they knew was that this is their time and they were going to soak it in. And of all the crowds and groups that morphed together for performances, the Tame Impala one was by far the friendliest, most loving, and in my personal opinion, embody something truly incredible about the community. You could talk about when you first fell in love with Tame Impala, how far you traveled to see them, if you’ve seen them before, what song you are most looking forward to. Like, you end up on random people’s snapchat story talking about Tame Impala. It really is an incredible community, that really rallied for that encore, that some fans would say was close to a requirement in their set list.
They did need to finally leave however, considering it was going on 11 and public transportation is trying to get everyone off the island. Which brings up a bit of another critique for the festival. I was kinda hoping for that Warped Tour, Meet and Greets, artist specific booth sort of thing. Especially if you have artists that are bigger like Frank Ocean or artists that are less public like Tame Impala. Just as a spectator or a huge fan, meeting those types of artists, having those types of opportunities, that’s something that I think people really flock to festivals for and was just absent from Panorama. Like, it is convenient to have one grand sorta merchandise table, but I feel as though that is very limiting in the product variation. There’s maybe a few shirts, but’s its not like you’re going to win that signed guitar pick or one of the few signed vinyls. So, for me personally, Panorama was kinda missing that real contingent aspect of festivals.
Hp did set-up these two interactive destinations at the festival as well. One was a small blue dome with some couches and if you wanted to waste all of your time at the festival you could wait in line to design your own bandana or be inserted into some interactive art that I’m not exactly sure how you would take home. It was a really entertaining setup though. Because these two separate lines went outside and down the field, but you could also just enter the room. So you’re walking between these two lines, and people are kinda giving you the stink eye, and all that’s in there is a mediocre DJ at music festival and some couches for you to watch the line not move. The other sort of interactive art adventure was the lab, also brought to you by hp. This one was so much more worth the wait. There was a long line, but considering the space was larger and it was a moving activity, you enter in around fifteen minutes. They have virtual replications of your movements to music, some VR time, some indecisive mirrors with lights, multicolored lamps, and some shows that are kinda difficult to explain. But here we go. One of the first really interactive things was this large blob. You enter this room and it’s like a fan blowing into this tent with various decorations and designs spiraling over it. And they interact to your touch, so it could be a geometric figure or galactic screen, but you’re breaking or creating these sort of imprints on this screen. Which not gonna lie, you’re gonna start believing that you’re the next Avatar.
Then there’s this dome show and it has a pre-dome show. It’s like a haunted house mixed with LSD. There’s this room with walls and men in black cloaks that move around with these flashing lights, and I really thought the goal was to escape. One guy thought it was the perfect opportunity to dance, which, considering you can’t see too well, there are moving walls, and large amounts of people, I think I got hit with his out-of-beat arm a couple of times. Once you make it past that, you sit in these real comfy bean bag lazy boy contraptions and watch this real trippy short video. Real trippy. Hopefully you will be able to see it on YouTube shortly. So that was really entertaining and once of, I would say, the few things that really deserved the wait.
I guess this post is more critical than my usual posts, which makes sense. This festival has only second shot and only with time will things get bette.r But there were some surprising shortcomings, especially from company’s that have done this before. The rules, as I’ve spent too much time on, are ridiculous. The Parlor was definitely something that could have been, in all honesty, an avoidable bump. And if my friend and I hadn’t camped out by the stage, I’m not really sure how well we would have been able to fill the day. The activities don’t change, the artists aren’t really scheduled well throughout the three days. So after we did the HP stuff, we were basically done, we had done everything and we had only been there for maybe two hours on our second day. So just expanding it, maybe adding some day specific activities, filling it with more big artists that are staggered, could have, in my opinion, just made Panorama a larger draw.
But lets say they ignore all of this, suggestions I’m sure many people have brought to their attention. The one thing that I think is really poorly done is training the staff that work at the festival. No one knew anything. Like honestly, nothing.
On the first day, we saw two gentlemen blatantly get in with professional grade cameras and my friend and I did not sneak our water bottles in, they just let them in. So we made a point of going to the information desk seeing if we missed some fine print or something. She told us, these things were not allowed, it really depends on the leniency of the security guard you get, but if you wanted to try and got caught they have lockers outside for you to lock up your stuff. So the second day, we got caught with our water bottles. I told the security guard it wasn’t a problem yesterday but he refused to let us in. I’m not sure why, but they drastically changed the set-up for the security entrance, which I’m sure was just worse for the people working to have to relearn the set-up and procedure. For information on our end, s’wells are not a cheap water bottle brand, they are very much worth the price in my opinion, but they are not something I am just going to allow you to confiscate. We then asked the gentlemen who refused our access where the locker’s outside where, he didn’t know. We asked the security guard before him, someone with a clipboard by the entrance, someone selling tickets, and finally, accidentally, made it to the lockers. No one knew. The night before, we had apparently exited towards the ferry instead of the shuttle, and needed to renter to make our way to the other exit. However, they kept telling us that we could, couldn’t, could, couldn’t, until we just fucking did while asking people where we should go.
It’s a real problem when the people who are supposed to be able to inform you, to answer those frequently asked questions, don’t know anything. At the very least, some sort of pamphlet of frequently asked questions so they can do the bare minimum. But that really falls squarely on the folks who put this festival together. And after all of this, I really hope they look into getting someone else to help plan, prepare, and organize this festival. Although an experience, I think Panorama relies too heavily on the artists instead of becoming a festival people really want to experience. Like Coachella and Firefly, Panorama is more of a miss of me.
But if you want to hear the artists I heard I’ll leave a link below to a Spotify playlist and some YouTube channels for you to peruse.
Thought: Of all the industries one could enter, you really wanted to enter the music business when your sister is Beyonce, the living and relentless queen of the industry? Your just asking for serious mental and business problems.
Active Bird Community YouTube Channel