Panorama Festival has finally returned! As fans begin to arrive into New York City and make their final emotional and physical preparations before day one kicks off on Friday afternoon, one should begin checking out what the three-day event has in store for ticket holders aside from just the music.
New York City’s largest record store, Rough Trade, will have a welcoming presence on site as the festival’s official vinyl retailer. The store/music venue, which is located along the East River in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, will have a set up similar to Coachella’s Record Store, with a smaller, compact haven for physical music collectors who may want to purchase some new albums at the festival.
In addition to also having a full music venue attached to its physical location, Rough Trade also plays host to a revolving door of in-store performances from artists ranging from Green Day to Oasis’ Liam Gallagher.
AXS caught up with one of the store managers in George Flanagan to talk about what fans can expect to buy and experience at their pop-up shop on site at Panorama all weekend long.
AXS: Can you give Panorama attendees a scoop on what to expect from Rough Trade’s presence at the festival? Especially for those who are coming in from out of town and have never heard of the record store/venue before?
GF: We’re going to have a 20’x20’ tent, which will obviously have records of the artists who are performing, but for us, the real opportunity was to create a miniature version of what we do here. We hope to introduce Rough Trade to someone who has never stepped foot into the store. So we’re basically trying to cover the same amount of depth as far as our different genres and special imports and pressings go that you can’t find anywhere else. In addition, there will be a lot of different signings with Alt-J, Spoon and a couple others artists who will be performing at the festival. We’ll also have some giveaway contests with some autographed test pressings that we’ve set up with some artists. One thing we want to promote is that we're also planning to launch our U.S. website towards the end of August, so educating folks about that with some unique discounts will a big push for us as well.
AXS: How many total vinyls and CDs will you expect to have in stock on site?
GF: We’re having a relatively small representation of CDs since there’s still a customer for that. We definitely acknowledge selling a piece of meltable wax in a hot festival environment is a challenge, but we’ll also offer shipping so folks can buy albums there and we’ll ship out their purchase come Monday. So there should be close to about 2,000 different records that we’ll be carrying out there. I think it’ll be a good cross section of essential-type albums, new releases, the artists who are performing and some albums that aren’t necessarily huge best-sellers nationwide, but ones that Rough Trade does really well with in turning people on to obscure artists.
AXS: Do you feel the people who come into your physical location in Brooklyn on any given day are more likely to be experienced vinyl collectors, or fit into the more novice level of buying physical music?
GF: It’s pretty cool that we have a wide variety of customers. I think in the beginning we anticipated that it would mostly be real collectors. The cool thing about vinyl as it continues to get more popular each year is that kids who never went to a record store in their life for one reason or another begin to acknowledge that there’s a cool factor with [physical music]. They may not even own their own record player but they’re buying it for the tangible representation of being a fan of this band. We get that kind of customer and then we get the hardcore collectors who come in here and drop $400 a week a buy a ton of great stuff. We’re very fortunate to have a really great variety of customers and we’re certainly open to how that keeps expanding and growing. We don’t just want to serve super elitist indie rock snobs. We’d rather carry what people come in and ask for, which could be a Taylor Swift record, a Wes Montgomery jazz record or some techno 12” that you could only find in New York.
AXS: Will you personally be on site at the festival this weekend? Are there any specific artists you’re excited to see?
GF: Definitely! Um, there are a few. I haven’t seen Spoon for a while so I’m kind of excited to see them again. Them and A Tribe Called Quest are probably the two big ones. There are a lot of smaller, cool electronic artists whom I’ve only been able to hear bits and pieces of until now. I’m probably going to spend more time checking that side out rather than the rock part, just because I’m more into discovering that stuff. I really hope to dip into a little bit of everything while I’m there.
Tickets to upcoming select shows at Rough Trade’s music venue can be purchased by clicking here.