With Goldenvoice behind it, when Panorama Festival was announced for its inaugural installment in early 2016, it instantly became known as the “New York Coachella.” Even in its first year, the noticeable attention to detail from the festival’s organizers gave it a much different feel than Governors Ball, which takes place in the same exact location in Randalls Island Park only a few weeks earlier. This year, a sophomore slump was avoided as Panorama delivered a diverse lineup featuring some of the biggest names in music like Frank Ocean and Tyler The Creator, as well as some prominent indie up-and-comers like Pinegrove and Mitski.
There is a lot to do at Panorama, from sponsored tents to different games strewn throughout the park, but it all still feels very manageable. Other than some overlapping sound interference from the bass-thumping indoor Parlor stage to the main Panorama stage (located only a few hundred yards away from one another), festival-goers are not really faced with any struggles that can be chalked up to poor organization. With two of the three days featuring substantial cloud coverage that kept the temperature in the low 80s, many of the Sephora and AmEx sponsored air-conditioned booths were a very nice feature, but (luckily) not imperative.
Oh, and also the music part of the festival was pretty damn good as well…
Tyler The Creator
Only a week after the release of his (truly very good) fourth studio album Flower Boy, former Odd Future leader Tyler the Creator leapt out on the shed-covered Pavilion stage promptly at his start time and launched right into “Where This Flower Blooms,” instantly getting the insanely packed crowd off their feet with his manic delivery and spastic dancing. Performing in front of a DJ booth disguised as a sunflower patch with bees hanging overhead, the stage was incredibly colorful and there was a ton to look at. Covered head-to-toe in his signature GOLF apparel, Tyler was a little self-conscious about the way the crowd was going to receive his new music. “That was nerve-wracking because that was my first time doing that song,” he announced as the crowd roared their approval.
Many already knew the lyrics to the Flower Boy tracks, songs like “911” and “Who Dat Boy?” featuring crowd participation that sometimes grew louder than Tyler himself. Though the set was comprised mostly of cuts from the new album, there were some classic crowd-pleasers thrown in, as well, including “Yonkers,” the song that got Tyler on the map as a solo artist, and “Tamale,” a ridiculously weird and fun song from 2013’s Wolf. Once the set ended, someone pointed out that Tyler had performed nearly four tracks that featured Frank Ocean, though Ocean — who was set to perform on the Panorama stage later that night — sadly never made an appearance.
“This is definitely the biggest stage we’ve ever played on,” Pinegrove’s Evan Stephens Hall said with a smile as the six-piece band (not including Lincoln the stuffed sloth) took the main Panorama stage in front of an ever-growing sea of people. Only a little over a year after the release of 2016’s Cardinal, Pinegrove has launched from the basement circuit to the major festival circuit, continuing to grow their fanbase with every show and proving why they are one of the most promising young bands in rock music, or “one of the greatest bands in the world right now,” according Stereogum.