I went to Panorama… and it was alright

Let me be upfront. I’ve never really enjoyed the concert experience. When I was younger, my mom took me to see Riverdance, which I loved because of the dancing. I’ve always enjoyed music, however; I’m the one in the family that sings along most to the radio, and I spent hours in high school and college building and curating my iTunes music library. Compared to Ian, I’m practically someone who exclusively listens to Top 40 songs. He studied it in school and even played in a band at one point. Ian’s been dying to take me to a music festival for a long time. 

Knowing I would want to write about my experience, I drafted a post the day before. I’ll admit, the title was originally going to be “I went to Panorama… and was not impressed”. As someone who doesn’t seek out live music and dislikes overpaying for activities, I really didn’t expect to like it all that much. Why? The cost: $125. Everything in me rebels against this ticket price. Plus, this was a single day ticket. Can you imagine paying $300 for a three-day festival? I only set aside $200 for non-essential spending every month; this took up a huge share.

Not only were the tickets expensive, but I spent another $52 on food and drinks. Did I need to buy $22 of overpriced mozzarella sticks? No. Were they extremely delicious and fun to share with my friends? Of course. Festival rules: no outside food or drink allowed. There was free water on site, but why drink water all night when you can have frosé?

We tried not to go crazy. On the way in, we stopped to eat a large lunch of (great) falafel, and Ian even managed to sneak in a Clif bar by tucking it into his underwear. Booze changes all decisions, though. The smell of pizza, fried food, and other glorious things were just too hard to resist.

This was my second glass of rosé, right before getting amazing mozzarella sticks.

Last year, I saw the Alabama Shakes live and didn’t really enjoy it. It may have been related to the fact that I was attempting the Whole30 diet at the time, but I remember being grumpy. At Panorama, the sets are shorter, and the environment is more welcoming. Once I got used to it, I actually began to enjoy myself.

SOFI TUKKER. The beat was so loud I thought my heart would pump right out of my chest, but the music was so catchy that I eventually got into it.

Vince Staples. He’s a great performer but spent the entire time looking like he had something else on his mind.

Tame Impala. I had such strong memories of their music from when I was in grad school; it brought back a flood of emotions.

These artists, along with Alt-J, were really great to hear live. By the end of the night I was dancing, something I usually don’t like doing in public.

There was a Sephora tent that had free swag, as well as “festival” makeup you could apply right there, like neon lipstick and stick-on beads.

I got some free stuff from the Sephora tent, for which I only had to like some brands on Instagram and post with a hashtag. I walked out of that tent with purple lipstick but only kept it on during SOFI TUKKER.

The important question: Will I go back to Panorama?

Honestly, no. Yes, I had a good time, but I wouldn’t pay another $177 for this experience. It’s kind of a been there, done that type of thing. I don’t regret going, but I prefer having music as a personal thing. I’ll consider going to other (cheaper) festivals, but only for bands I really like. Just as with any live show, knowing the act has a significant effect on your enjoyment of it.

What kind of expensive activities have you done that you do or don’t regret?


  1. I am a sucker for live concerts… its been awhile since I have been to one, but they are a ton of fun!

    Recently, Mr. Adventure Rich and I had an expensive date night where we checked out a new speak-easy style bar in town followed by burgers + beer (+ a taxi since we didn’t want to worry about driving + a babysitter so it was a true date night!). It totaled around ~$180 (all in one evening, yikes!), but honestly, it was completely worth it. We had a relaxing time at a fun new bar, enjoyed a walk and dinner without worrying if our son was going to go crazy and came back refreshed after a few weeks of busyness and “not enough time” to catch up with each other. Expensive, yes. Worth it, yes 🙂

    1. Author

      To me, that’s more appealing than a music festival. I love the idea of discovering a new speakeasy. Honestly, every once in a while, it’s good to get that kind of experience. I don’t regret going to Panorama, I just don’t think I’ll do it again.

    1. Author

      I am a sucker for Celine Dion… I got teased for it when I was in high school haha. The only way I’d be able to go see her is if I won free tickets. >.<

  2. It depends on which bands were playing, but in general I think music festivals should be experienced at least once. I also like Tame Impala a lot! I saw them at Radio City Music hall and they’re really good live.

    One thing I regret often is going to people’s weddings. In general, no one cares that much I’m there, and now I’ve spent hundreds of dollars to attend.

    1. Author

      That’s such an interesting take! I’ll admit I haven’t been to many weddings yet (just one as a guest, and I was in another), so the magic of it hasn’t really worn off yet. But I can totally get where you’re coming from – I don’t think I’d go to a wedding of someone that I don’t truly care for unless there’s an extremely low cost to do so.

  3. I went to Firefly after I graduated with my Bachelors degree. The 3 day pass was something like $250. Throw in another $150 for food and booze.

    Camping out was huge fun. To solve the alcohol problem we drank a few “road beers” on the way from the camp ground to the stage, a 1 mile walk.

    Very expensive experience, but also extremely fun. Would not repeat again though.

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