Can the Dance Offerings at Panorama Transcend its Uneven Scheduling?

A curious thing happened when Brooklyn Vegan polled its audience on the best daily lineup for New York City’s Panorama. The overwhelming favorite wasn’t Friday, which features the pop titans that backer AEG is known best for curating at Coachella. Maybe you’ve heard of it as Panorama’s (slightly) more popular West Coast cousin. It also wasn’t Saturday, where a certain musical royal family member finally assumes top billing at an American festival. It was the day that prefers guitars to bars, drum kits to drum machines, and and stagecraft to light shows.

A Trend Toward Festival Roots?

Sunday’s lineup features headliners the Killers, a heart-melting David Byrne presentation that has sold out every city its visited, and an upstart quartet from Michigan whose Led Zeppelin karaoke hits a little too close to home for some. It stands diametrically opposed to the Migos/Weeknd/SZA/Cardi B Lil Wayne emphasis of the previous days, a possible bit of test marketing in the festival’s third installment. Panorama has already evaded its own share of close calls in its short existence. Would a thoughtfully curated East Coast mirror to Coachella with distinct rock leanings be the worst thing?

Trimmed Down, but Turned Up

With Panorama’s popular Parlor Stage absent this year, it has pared down to a tidy three-stage setup. Nonetheless, it has prioritized the most cultish aspect of Coachella, as its Point stage assumes the Parlor’s heavy lifting. There, you’ll find an open-air club environment not unlike Coachella’s Yuma Stage, boasting a mammoth Funktion One sound system and a lineup of top DJs of varying pedigrees. The Yuma does have one singularly identifying quality, however. It’s packed from open ‘til close with people dancing their hearts out to high-quality House and Techno. At Panorama, Mall Grab, Moodymann, the Black Madonna, and more provide a daily 12-hour bass massage (many are also showcased in numerous afterparties), so it’s safe to assume that the Point’s scene will reflect it.

Panorama’s Off-Day Standouts

The savvy festival goer, however, typically eschews the low-hanging fruit. In this case, the two “lesser” days (at least according to the non-scientific poll) offer the juiciest plums of the weekend on the three stages’ middle sibling. On Friday, the Pavilion hosts the biggest dual threat of the weekend in actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her 2017 album Rest was among the year’s best, and its remixes spun off a highly coveted vinyl among DJs. For anyone looking for the highest density of grinding all weekend, look no further than her performance of “Deadly Valentine.” Soulwax’s dynamite reworking is a late night favorite, and her marital vow recitation is a big reason why.

On Saturday, preeminent production collective Soulection offers a high caliber dance contender in a rare occasion. This might be one of the final opportunities for a while to see them with Sango. His new record In the Comfort Of is so good it can’t help but blast him into the Kaytranadasphere.

The Festival Capital of America?

There’s no clear winner thus far in the battle for the hearts and minds of New York City music festival goers. Neither of the well-entrenched Governor’s Ball and Electric Zoo are showing signs of fatigue in staving off Panorama. Ultimately, the winner might just be Randall’s Island itself, host to three distinct festivals and an ironclad tourist destination.