2020 has become a completely different year to what we expected, when it began in January. Plans were in place, and headliners were being confirmed for major UK festivals such as Glastonbury, and Reading and Leeds. With the outbreak of Coronavirus in March affecting the world as we know it, of course festivals made the sensible decision to pull the plug following government guidelines to abolish mass gatherings. Musicians and concert venues alike began to cancel shows, and live music as we knew it, ceased to exist.
With no live performances likely to take place until at least August or September, and even that remaining dubious for the time being, with the UK having remained in a form of lockdown since late March. Due to flurrying anxieties that were swirling regarding the global pandemic, the future of healthcare resources, our economies and the survival of many local businesses. With lockdown looming over us, we as individuals had no choice but to adapt to the strange changes in our existence. Despite all of this taking its toll, we continued to progress, and all hope for live music was not lost.
It wasn’t long before musicians, being the natural creatives and entertainers that they are, came up with an innovative way to still engage with their audiences and bring joy by providing a heartfelt distraction. Thus, what was an occasional treat for fans, such as a livestream Q&A, or an intimate at home gig, became the norm. Almost every artist I can put my mind to, has now hosted a live stream session on a social media platform of some form. Music fans are rejoicing, and the trend is really skyrocketing at a time when live music feels so lost to us all, and we feel so lost ourselves.
By musicians hosting their own live stream gigs, and so many thousands of fans tuning in. It wasn’t long before blogs, music publications and websites began tapping into this, and the livestream festival was born. Often spanning over the course of a weekend, Livestream Festivals such as DIY Magazine’s DIYsolation Festival, or more recently Dork’s Homeschool Festival, have given a platform to hundreds of emerging indie and alternative artists. Bills have included the likes of rising Welsh band Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, Manchester’s Phoebe Green, Brighton-based Porridge Radio and Cambridge’s Cavetown.
Livestream Festivals such as DIY’s DIYsolation Festival, or more recently Dork’s Homeschool Festival, have given a platform to hundreds of emerging indie and alternative artists.
With these festivals doing so well for emerging artists, whilst also helping contribute donations to our NHS and key workers. The phenomenon is only growing. Why would this not be something huge stars would want to be a part of too? It’s left me wondering, with summer soon arriving and major festivals not set to go ahead, will we be watching our Glastonbury Headliners via a livestream performance instead?
Just imagine the help and funding, events on this scale, could provide for research charities, food banks, the NHS, and many more. It would be groundbreaking.
If UK festivals opted for a not for profit approach, as so many magazines and music websites have already done successfully. Just imagine the help and funding, events on this scale, could provide for research charities, food banks, the NHS, and many more. It would be groundbreaking. With live streams becoming such a popular form of entertainment, surely this could be an idea worth investing in?
There would be obvious hurdles and festival organisers would have to treat those who had bought tickets to the physical festivals with care and consideration, however if refunds are already issued for festivals not going ahead this year, or if ticket-holders are offered a place for next years festival instead. If live streams were billed as taking place and shared with us all, surely that would be an amazing uplifting experience for everyone.
Major festivals would have the social media knowledge, marketing tools and funding to hopefully deliver a polished and professional livestream experience. Drawing on inspiration from those festivals I have mentioned previously, created by music magazines DIY and Dork. Both festivals to the viewing eye ran without so much as hiccup. Granted I do not know what had gone on behind the scenes, but I avidly watched both and they were fantastic. DIY chose Instagram as their provider, and acts had hour long slots on Instagram live to perform. Dork continue to host their festival on their own website, instead opting to harness a mixture of live and recently pre-recorded content, to showcase acts over a number of different stages with varying slot times. As well as performances, both festivals also had different angles such as artist radio shows, story telling, comedy and so on. This worked wonderfully well for both events, and I for one thoroughly enjoyed. Very generously the publications also donated all funds raised to charity or the NHS.
Let’s hope I’ve predicted the next big thing here, and this is already something the likes of Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Download and many more are keenly looking into. Imagine the varying genres each could offer, the donations just one festival alone could drum up. Live streams are proving to be immensely popular and personally I feel it would be a trend our innovative and ever-changing festivals could certainly build into something stratospheric .