Panorama, a New York City music, art and technology festival by Goldenvoice, the people who bring you Coachella, kicked off its first year on Friday, July 22. Other than incredible artists, we really had no idea what to expect from the Randall's Island–based fest, especially with both Coachella and NYC's Governors Ball looming in recent memory. But we definitely didn't expect any of this.
1. Getting in was an odyssey and/or a colossal drag. Walking across the bridge from 125th Street in Harlem to Randall's Island gets you basically right to the east side entrance to Panorama...unless some festival employees tell you to more than double your journey and walk along highways, under sketchy overpasses and maybe even into Mordor to get to the west side entrance. At noon. Full sun, all the heat. More awfully, though, some evidently found themselves waiting as long as two or three hours just to get in.
2. Once inside, though, Panorama is thoughtfully laid out, fascinatingly decorated and thoroughly functional. The art and technology stuff looks worth the time, too. Stay tuned.
3. Standalone note: the bathrooms are so nice! There are Porta-Potties, but there are probably an equal amount of Hollywood-looking bathroom trailers with air-conditioning, privacy and little touches that'd make them at least Holiday Inn–worthy.
4. We did find a halfway finished apple pipe and its corresponding gooey, apple-y pen in a bathroom stall, though. You had such a nice environment in which to finish your work, bro :\
5. Almost every artist we saw had so much spunk despite highs of 94 degrees. Bonnaroo called; it wants its climate back.
6. Major Lazer played Drake and Tory Lanez #backtoback. The Toronto rappers-slash-singers are not friends. Drake most likely dissed Tory on the opening night of his Summer Sixteen Tour with Future on Wednesday.
8. DJ Khaled, in his set in the way-too-small-for-Khaled Parlor tent, brought out T.I., then Fat Joe and Remy Ma. Remy bodying her "All the Way Up (Remix)" verse a cappella was the best moment of the day.
9. Lindsey Stirling. Just everything about her. What a stunning discovery. For the also-uninitiated: She's a pan-genre violinist with chops for days and modern dance skills for miles. She's also just terribly charming and warm.
10. We found an ice cream sandwich cart with no line. And bought one.
11. Schoolboy Q's sweat was like no sweat a performer has ever sweat. It didn't just look like he jumped into a pool and popped back onstage; it looked like he was still underwater from the neck down and we were watching him through some aquarium glass.
12. Schoolboy Q almost walked out. He wasn't happy with the (objectively very turnt) audience reaction. He had a badass new album to build a great show from, he was doing well, and then, just...tantrum. He came back and finished the set for a severely diminished crowd.
13. The VIP pens beside the stages were actually full of fun people having fun. This is not normal in New York, often VIP or not, but especially when it comes to VIP and press together.
14. The platonic festival ideal—seeing a slew of different styles played by a diverse roster in a single day and actually getting to engage with it all, rather than just hopscotching—was achieved. Seriously! Without issue, without (much) frantic hustling, without almost any abbreviated set-watching, my day went, beautifully breezily, from Madlib to Lindsey Stirling to Major Lazer to FKA Twigs to Alabama Shakes to Schoolboy Q to DJ Khaled. Kinda couldn't believe it. Can't wait to get back to the island for two more days.
As we head into Panorama Day 2, listen to Fuse's Back of the Class podcast, joined by Bianca Gracie, preview Panorama at the 20:40 mark in the episode below: