Technology and creativity are shaping the future of live music
From immersive and interactive live streaming performances to high tech protective equipment and the return of drive-in shows - find out the greatest (and the craziest) initiatives to deliver live concerts at the time of social distancing.
1. In-game gathering - Travis Scott's Astronomical concert
Fortnite, one of the world's most popular video games, is no stranger to in-game events having hosted a streaming performance from Marshmello last year. However, rapper Travis Scott managed to smash that record with 12.3 million concurrent players logged in to watch live and an additional 27 million users who watched over the following five days.
The 10-minute concert within Fortnite features the rapper in a surreal experience leading gamers underwater and into space. It was also the perfect platform to release a brand new track with Kid Cudi "The Scotts" available on streaming services shortly after the Fortnite show.👇
2. High-Tech festival outfits to guarantee virus protection
If you are conflicted between understanding the importance of social distancing and looking forward to going back to raving among the crowd, LA-based creative studio Production Club has come up with an innovative solution that could enable you to do both: a hazmat suit called Micrashell specifically designed for party goers.
Made from high-performance and cut-resistant fabrics, the "top only" suit design lets users wear their normal clothes and features an incorporated sound system with high tech headphones as well as a way to drink and vape like in a normal live event while staying protected. The suit is still a prototype but might start to be sold to venues and organisers as they plan to enable fans to get together again in a safe environment.
3. Back to timeless classics with the revival of Drive-in shows
Recent history can also offer an inspiration in order to provide live entertainment safely. Event promoters in several countries where restrictions on travel have been recently lifted have started experimenting on various forms of drive-in events featuring live music, comedy and dancing.
In Denmark, an open space on the outskirts of Aarhus has been transformed into an open-air concert venue with a series of events hosting up to 500 cars with sounds broadcast through car radios. Due to current travel restrictions, performances are now limited to local artists such as singer-songwriter Mads Langer.
Meanwhile in Germany several clubs in various cities are launching their own drive-in raves with live DJ sets in parking lots with drivers honking horns and flashing lights in time. In Australia Casey Donovan recently performed her country's first drive-in concert at Sydney’s Robyn Webster Sports Centre with more events to follow all over the country, and in the United States country musician Keith Urban performed a secret show to around 200 Tennessee front-line healthcare workers.
When are drive-in concerts coming to the UK? In the UK it's still early days but, even if no major drive-in concert have been announced, some organisations such as @TheDriveIn and Car Park Party are going on sale with drive-in tickets for dates set from July to September. The events will bring "safe entertainment" featuring stand-up comedy, family games and karaoke - with more details on the schedule provided soon.
4. Global live-stream and virtual reality
In the past few months we have seen artists performing from home, bands releasing new tracks while separated, and several replays of past arena and stadium sets made available for live streaming to fans all over the world. Through live streams artists have managed to bring together communities globally and raise astonishing amounts of charity funds.
As lockdown measures get gradually lifted video music streaming is also evolving from at-home recording to more sophisticated remote concerts and shows. South Korea's Beyond Live managed to bring paid-for virtual concerts to the next level by offering live arena performances with special effects and live audience interaction. SuperM's 'SuperM-Beyond the Future' event last April managed to sell over 75000 tickets to audience members from 109 countries.
In the UK major festival organisers who have been forced to cancel their 2020 editions are now working on bringing their communities together with live streaming initiatives happening over the days when the festivals were supposed to take place.
Wireless festival is working with the app MelodyVR to bring live music in virtual reality to watch on devices such as Facebook Oculus. Glastonbury organisers from Worthy Farm are also set to announce a list of initiatives to celebrate the festival's 50th birthday, possibly connected with grass root Facebook event "Glasthomebury". And if you are a Rock music fan Download will be broadcasting a 3-day virtual festival on Download TV featuring highlights, unseen performances, interviews and much more.