New York music festivals carry a tone all their own. They aren’t as free-flowing as Coachella or Burning Man. Instead, there’s a spirit that moves brands to come bigger with elaborate activations and artists to lower their walls and share fun facts (or new music) with the fans. This year’s Panorama Music Festival was a mix of it all.
The weather put a serious damper on Day 1. Nearly half of the day’s biggest acts like Jhene Aiko, Migos and The Weeknd weren’t able to perform due to bad weather. Those that did like Daniel Ceasar and Sabrina Claudio were overshadowed by thunder and lightning. The downsized festival left room for many to wander around on the muddy ground while sporting their finest fanny packs.
But between the muddy toes and tasty food trucks were several gems that transported us to a world outside of Randall’s Island. SZA’s rousing set provided life to all 20 somethings, despite sound issues Gucci Mane made sure hip-hop reigned and Ms. Janet Jackson reworked our closures with her stunning performance.
These moments, along with the ones below convinced us not to throw the whole festival away.
Check it out below.
Three times a charm for American Express. With tropical vibes during the day and neon lights at night, The American Express Experience gave guests a break from the sun and the mud with its innovative setup. Designed by New York’s Jeremyville, hues of pink, yellow and blue covered the space by way of murals and a money tree. There were also games like bowling and interactive vignettes to pump up the fun.
Cardmembers were given the VIP treatment where they enjoyed main stage performances from the roof and custom-made threads by graphic designer B. Kaspr. It seemed to be the most sought-after space as attendees were treated with island-gifts like beach mats, fans, and portable chargers.
Festivals are indirectly designed to introduce the audience to new audiences. Bud Light took things up a notch by bringing their Dive Bar Sessions to the grounds. While Sunday (July 29) allowed alternative acts to thrive, Olivia Noelle, City of the Sun, Fly By Midnight, Lo Moon, Loote, Cloves, and SUR commanded their respected space with intimate performances all weekend.
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Crowds weren’t a bother at the bar since attendees were allowed to order drinks throughout the Panorama Mobile app. They were also able to get lost in the realm of a bar with classic arcade games like Pinball, Ms. Pac-Man, and Space Invaders. The games might’ve been older than the crowd but they were still appreciated.
SZA’s last performance in New York was mind-blowing in many ways. The “Broken Clocks” singer was advised not to take the stage for the TDE Championship Tour but did so anyway to deliver a sweet set. Sadly her vocal chords were damaged, but her recovery time wrapped just in time for Panorama where she serenaded the crowd with the open diary that is her debut album, CTRL.
With fresh spirit, Solana eloquently danced around the stage to perform nearly every track from the critically-acclaimed project. As songs like “Drew Barrymore” and “20-Somethings” took center stage, insightful visuals did as well with a montage of Barrymore’s best flicks and a loop of families for the latter track.
SZA didn’t wander for sympathy after sharing her recent breakup. Instead, she passed over a gentle reminder of what love can bring with a performance of “Garden (Say It Like That).” During “Love Galore, however, the singer showed off her rapping chops with a new verse dedicated to all the f**kbois out there.
HP returned to Panorama with a series of activation tents that reimagined the ways in which we use technology. This year’s theme was “Digital Eden,” which explores the intersection of technology and creativity through the lenses of multiple artists.
The HP lounge created a fun and interactive atmosphere within the festival with a series of photo booths, customization activities (attendees were able to design their own Kleen Kanteen water bottles), GIF creations). The HP Lab elevated festival-goers’ experiences by emerging them into alternate realities made possible by way of solar-powered technology, transmutation, and lighting effects.
As we fall deeper into the new age of technology, HP’s “Digital Eden” demonstrated how the medium is more than just screens and social apps; it opened the door to a world of creative possibilities. Not to mention, it produced stimulating pieces that would most definitely capture anyone’s eye on Instagram.
Glittery goddesses were seen on the grounds of Randall’s Island. It wasn’t a coincidence that so many men and women were into glitter–Sephora’s tent had a lot to do with it. Set up near the entrance, the Sephora tent featured makeup artists who helped transformed cool kids into cooler fairies.
The tent also included cream stains, highlighters and an IGK hair station where attendees dabbled with holographic space buns. The Hush station provided colorful hair sprays and temporary tattoos.