Are virtual festivals the solution to your summer plans?

Rachel Power

Virtual festivals and concerts could be the solution for the summer as the coronavirus continues to jeopardise the possibility of them taking place in the near future.

The Covid-19 outbreak has already put a stop to a number of widely popular festivals, such as Glastonbury, which was to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, and others such as Coachella.

Early last week, the organisers of Glastonbury announced that the major festival which occurs at the end of June would be cancelled for this year as a precaution against the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes after the team behind Coachella, one of the biggest music festivals of the year which takes place in the Coachella Valley in California during April for two weekends in a row, decided to postpone the festival until October as a safety measure against the outbreak.

Meanwhile, closer to home, thousands of people who have bought tickets to upcoming Irish music festivals such as Life and Forbidden Fruit are awaiting news about the chances of these going ahead.

While the highly contagious virus puts festivals and concerts at risk, musicians across the world have already thought of a solution with many live streaming small concerts from their home while they are quarantined.

Chris Martin from Coldplay put on a 30 minute show from his home on Instagram Live on St Patrick’s Day, which saw him play fan favourites such as “A Sky Full of Stars” on the acoustic guitar, and “Clocks” on the piano.

Other musicians have followed in Martin’s footsteps, such as Garth Brooks, John Legend and Niall Horan. This concept of musicians performing from home is linked to a series created by Global Citizen’s which has been aptly named as #TogetherAtHome.

Already some festivals that have unfortunately been cancelled due to the coronavirus are adding to this idea by going online to showcase the acts that were scheduled to perform.

Ultra Music Festival was due to take place from March 20-22 in Miami, Florida but was cancelled following the declaration of a public health emergency from the State’s Governor, according to the music festivals website.

Instead, the physical festival was postponed to next year, where it will take place from March 26th-28th.

However, the organisers quickly chose that rather than cancelling the acts that were due to perform, they planned a radio livestream of the various DJ’s doing their set which could be listened to online.

The Ultra Virtual Audio Festival took place on March 20th on SiriusXM, which allowed acts like Major Lazer, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren and Martin Garrix to showcase their setlist to an audience online.

While a membership to SiriusXM or a free trial was required to listen, it’s the perfect example of how festivals may be able to provide some form of entertainment should they be cancelled.

While it doesn’t fully replicate the fun that festivals bring, such as the buzzy atmosphere and excitement, virtual festivals and concerts seem to be a filler for these huge music gatherings while the Covid-19 outbreak is contained.

Rachel Power

Image Credit: Flickr