Panorama Music Festival 2018: What You Need to Know

Written by
Andrew Frisicano
Panorama Festival 2017
Photograph: Filip Wolak

The three-day Panorama Music Festival brings Janet, the Weeknd and a bunch of highly Instagrammable food to Randalls Island this weekend. You are ready to party, right? The fest's lineup—a mix of contemporary pop, indie-rock, hip-hop and loads of dance music—should provide ample opportunity to move you feet. As usual, there's no telling how the city's unpredictable weather will pan out (it might hail...or not!). Either way, come prepared, and make the most of the weekend by following these tips.

1. Take the ferry

Getting to the festival is your first challenge. While there are myriad options—taking the train to 125th Street and walking is actually a great one—cruising on a boat has an air of luxury about it and it sure as hell beats taking a cab and sitting in BQE traffic. Get your ferry pass ($20 per day or $50 for all three) and catch the boat from 35th Street and FDR Drive. Since we’re old and washed, we’ll add that you might want to leave the night’s last set a few songs early to avoid a line getting back.

2. Show up early

The early bird gets the worm, eh? In this case, the worm is a slew of worthwhile up-and-coming acts. You’ve shelled out for a ticket, so you might as well get your money’s worth. On Sunday, political punk act Downtown Boys get things started at 12:30pm. Shortly after, Philly-based selector and producer DJ Haram, known for creating fierce club beats laced with traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation, holds it down at the fest’s DJ-focused stage. If the previous two days of stage hopping have drained your energy, trust these two acts to bring it back.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to  Panorama Music Festival

3. Make some time to dance

At the two main Panorama stages, set times run with minimal overlap. That means there will be no tough choices when it comes to seeing rap trio Migos or indie-rock crooner Father John Misty (I know, we were losing sleep, too). But the festival’s third stage—a shady dance-music grove, dubbed the Point—shouldn’t be totally ignored: Its lineup of DJs is interesting enough to warrant its own distraction-free fest. Want proof? Dial up mixes from local producer Yaeji, influential fest-circuit staple the Black Madonna, cerebral beatmaker Floating Points, Prince devotee Moodymann, Detroit house spinner Kyle Hall, techno phenom Avalon Emerson and sharp-edged innovator Jlin to get a taste of what’s in store, then make sure you catch at least some of the magic.

4. Find a late-night party

Even if you miss those DJs, you might have another chance after the fest ends (if you’re not exhausted from 11 hours of sun and noise). There’s a handful of Panorama-presented after-shows booked: Avalon Emerson spins at Elsewhere on Saturday night, Moodymann hosts a nightcap at Le Bain on Sunday, and garage-pop group Shannon and the Clams play on Saturday at Rough Trade, among others.

5. Don’t miss the headliners

Remember that you trekked all the way to Randalls Island to see the Weeknd and Janet Jackson tear it up, not just to nosh on tasty eats. You might be persuaded to wait in line for some Emmy Squared pizza or walk through the Lab, the fest’s VR-filled art-and-technology installation. Just get this stuff done earlier in the day because, if you miss the music, you just paid over $100 for a slice.

Panorama takes place at Randalls Island Park ( Fri 27–Sun 29 noon–11pm; $125, three-day pass $295,

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