NYC’s Panorama Music Festival

Panorama Music Festival in New York City

This review is going to be harsher than a lot of my other travel reviews. The reason for that is I’m very picky when it comes to music festivals. I’ve absolutely adored attending them since I was 18-years-old, and now at 24, I’ve been to quite a few. To date, I’ve been to Governor’s Ball, the Osheaga Music Festival 5-times, Mad Decent Block Party, the Meadows Music Festival, and the Propelify Innovation Festival. This was my first time giving the Panorama Music Festival a shot.

Hosted in the same venue as Governor’s Ball, my expectations weren’t too high for Panorama. At Governor’s Ball, I felt penned into a tiny enclosure the entire day. There weren’t enough food or drink vendors to accommodate the crowds, and there was no place to relax and recharge. It was really overwhelming.

Panorama share many similarities with Gov Ball, but also surprising differences that made me like the overall experience a lot more. For starters, Panorama attracted a more mature crowd. Governor’s Ball was a giant cesspool of 17-year-old boys humping each other in front of stages. Panorama, on the other hand, drew in mid-20-year-olds, which meant respectful spectating and far less unnecessary shoving. Unfortunately, the venue was just as small and claustrophobia-inducing as Governor’s Ball’s layout.

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Pano’s Hidden Venues

At first, Panorama appeared to be the exact same as Governor’s Ball. I was feeling a little discouraged. However, by the end of the day, I realized there were secret enclosures with incredible art displays, lights, and seating. There was even a 21+ penned-in spot with lit up trees and a ton of drink vendors, plus a hidden DJ stage with fun-house mirrors and a dance floor nestled against the woods.

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These types of hidden treasures made Panorama more and more enjoyable by the end of the night.

Drinks & Food

Like Governor’s Ball, Panorama seriously dropped the ball with food vendors. At Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival, there are so many food vendors you can’t even begin to pick. At Pano, there are so few that getting dinner is a 1-2 hour commitment in line. Not cool when you’re trying to see your favorite musical artists.

From a drinking standpoint, there were way more drinking vendors than food vendors. I guess it depends on what kind of experience you’re after. I enjoy my fair share of beverages at music festivals, but I need to be able to eat dinner so I don’t keel over and die by the bathroom.

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Me before I realized it would take 2-hours to get dinner.

The Lineup 

Panorama had a great lineup this year, but not good enough for me to buy a 3-day pass. Instead, I stuck with a Friday day-pass for integrating myself into another NYC festival experience slowly. My only complaint is that they had no co-headliner to offset the crowd at the main headliner stage. Osheaga, the Meadows, and Gov Ball followed this norm, offering up two headliners at once to give everyone some space. Panorama hosted Frank Ocean from 9:35 to 11PM with no one else playing at the time (I totally understand because Frank Ocean is a gift from above, but still).

Consequently, it took 2-hours to get out of the venue and to the subway after the festival was over.

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The main stage, up close and personal.

Would I Go Back?

I ask myself this after every new festival. It’s a hard NO to Gov Ball, the Meadows, and Mad Decent Block Party, but Panorama skirted into the YES category for me with the 21+ only sections and hidden venues. I would probably pack myself dinner next time just to be sure. As you can tell, I’m someone who wrestles with being hangry on a regular basis.

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