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Paul Tollett Discusses His Latest Project, Panorama Music Festival

Paul Tollett, promoter of the new Panorama music festival, at Coachella last year. Credit Kendrick Brinson

This weekend, the Panorama festival will make its debut on Randalls Island with LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire, Alabama Shakes and a few dozen other acts, as well as a high-tech exhibition space designed for visual dazzle.

The event, which has a capacity of about 40,000 for each of its three days, is not expected to sell out. But Paul Tollett, the promoter of Panorama — and a star in the clubby concert world as the mastermind behind Coachella — is not worried.

“We’re not going to get there,” he said. “That’s totally fine.”

Mr. Tollett declined to specify how many tickets Panorama has sold so far, but its performance will be closely watched as a bellwether for what has quickly become a hypercompetitive festival market in New York. Governors Ball, which began five years ago as a modest one-day event put on by three 20-somethings, has become a nationally known festival luring stars like Kanye West and the Strokes to Randalls Island, and this year it was acquired by Live Nation Entertainment, the global concert giant.

Panorama is part of the portfolio of AEG Live, the corporate rival of Live Nation, and the competition between the two mega-promoters is in some ways a symbolic showdown for the concert business, which is now dominated by big festivals across the country. One sign of the stakes? Panorama’s arrival led to a lobbying war over the last year that resulted in the festival’s being blocked from its intended home at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

In an interview, Mr. Tollett discussed Panorama’s plans, including its embrace of technology through the Lab, an interactive exhibition space at the center of the festival that is being presented with HP and The Verge, the technology news website. Here are edited excerpts from that conversation...

... Read the full article by BEN SISARIO at nytimes.com

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