Panorama Day One: Escape From Randall’s Island, Friday, July 28th, 2018
AEG Live and Panorama got very lucky yesterday. After their decision to cancel Friday’s Panorama Festival at around 430pm due to inclement weather, and the brusque emptying of Randall’s Island in a vast, fast, somewhat vicious, and astoundingly disorganized shove, all they needed was their too have been truly inclement weather and the entire festival would have disrupted into chaos. It reminded me of a Liz Phair song, fuck and run… As it is, no one knew where to go or what to do.
How, not responsible, as they claim, but irresponsible were AEG Live? The two nights of Taylor Swift at MetLife last weekend were much worse. The Woodstock Festival would have been cancelled mid mud fight; it would have been three hours of love, peace and music, I appreciate and understand their concern but what I don’t understand is why in 2018 all weather is the moral equivalent of throwing darts.
I arrived around 3pm, in time for Daniel Caesar, the alt-r&b child of Frank Ocean. Following Daniel, I had Dua Lipa, Charlotte Gainsbourg, The War On Drugs, Jhene Aiko, Migos, and the Weeknd on my scorecard. The morning had been warm and muggy, with occasional clouding over, and the early afternoon at Randall’s Island was the same except for a sudden downpour. I had seen Caesar earlier in the month when he had performed “Best Part” during H.E.R.’s superb set at Barclay’s Center opening for Chris Brown, so I was excited for the opportunity to see the chill alt r&b guy again. The music was superb and Daniel is a handsome guy, he looked like a pin up, an A$AP Rocky, and his sound is a gorgeous lo impact r&b, almost ambient, smooth jazz without the jazz instrumentals with Daniel’s dreamy vocals on top. Daniel’s 2017 album Freudian was the heart of the set, including “Best Part” (which he had recorded with H.E.R.) and “Get You” (which he had recorded with Kali Uchis). He got a singalong going on the glorious “We Find Love”. With backup singers and a full band behind him, Caesar gave his audience their money’s worth though he was too laid back for the many Festival fans who crowded round to see him.
It began to drizzle and the sky looked ominous as we waited for Dua, then an announcer told us the rest of Panorama was cancelled due to the weather, to leave the Island immediately, and a confused, shell shocked audience headed to the exits. According to Rolling Stone “The New York area was placed under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10 p.m. EST, the National Weather Service warned (via WPIX), with wind gusts approaching 65 miles per hour. Lightning and flash flooding were also in the forecast for Manhattan.” It didn’t really materialize and that is truly the good news.
With a mass exodus and confusion reigning as tens of thousands headed to every possible exit, the lines for busses were not only horrendous, they were also unmarked. I ended up spending half an hour on a line, among 1000s of concertgoers, waiting for a bus that didn’t arrive, only to discover that the invisible bus i would be heading to Brooklyn. There were signs but none that could be seen because their were simply too many people. I had to jump two railings and wander about following people who didn’t know where they were going. We dazed and confused past Uber drop off points and I briefly considered getting an Uber but I can’t find my Uber when I am at midtown, if I could have got one at all it would have been a nightmare finding it. So I kept walking past Randall’s fields of dreams, among so many people, it was like the Jews leaving Egypt. We got past one bridge with streams of people going over… to the Bronx, before reaching another to 125th street in Manhattan. The walk across the bridge was so crowded that it came to a complete halt time after time, as people were somewhat good natured about the entire incident. I had been walking for over an hour and a half and I was exhausted. We couldn’t even cross the street because there were so many people and the subway platform was dangerously full.
The good news here is that though the producers, Goldenvoice, had the option to not refund festival goers they have chosen to do so. I received this email last night:
We regret having to cancel the remainder of today’s performances, but our first priority is always the safety of our fans, artists and staff. After consultation with NYC officials, we agreed with the decision to evacuate.
Friday passes purchased online and at the box office via credit/debit card will be automatically refunded. Partial refunds will be given for 2-day and weekend pass holders. Refunds will start Monday, 7/30. Please allow at least 2-4 weeks for processing. For additional questions reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
See below for a schedule of refund amounts.
- Regular 2-Day GA (which incl. a Friday pass) will receive a $107.50 refund.
- Regular 2-Day VIP (which incl. a Friday pass) will receive a $212.50 refund.
- Regular 3-Day GA will receive a $98.33 refund
- Regular 3-Day VIP will receive a $185.00 refund
- Limited Time Pricing 2-Day GA (which incl. a Friday pass) will receive a $97.50 refund.
- Limited Time Pricing 2-Day VIP (which incl. a Friday pass) will receive a $197.50 refund.
- Limited Time Pricing 3-Day GA will receive a $91.67 refund
- Limited Time Pricing 3-Day VIP will receive a $171.67 refund
To view full info, head here: http://www.panorama.nyc/friday-refund/
We appreciate your understanding and hope to see you back this weekend.
As for me? I have a ticket for today and no intention of going within a million miles. I am done with Festivals. For today’s shows, I have seen every single major artist on the bill at least once and if I want to see them again they will have to provide me with a seat and an A/C somewhere between Soho and Harlem.