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Virtual Hybrid Music Festivals are the Future

Andy Robertson

After most music festivals were cancelled in 2020 many organisers started to make a virtual event offering. Some festival organisers moved faster than others and equally some were very successful other less so. What will the future format of the music festival look like later in 2021 and moving into 2022. 

Event goers obviously prefer to be present at a music festival onsite and experience the atmosphere and varied performances that a music festival has to offer. Organisers that were quick to react early last year managed to offer some kind of virtual streamed performances from the artists originally scheduled, many attracting significant online audiences with a few events earning a small revenue too. Those early adopters are now best placed in 2021 to make some kind of virtual streamed live event offering.

The virtual streamed live performance is not going to disappear once festivals return later in 2021, more likely they will become an optional extra offered to event goers unable to travel or make the dates for whatever reason. Running in tandem with a multi-day festival these streamed performances mean that the future music festival format is going to become a hybrid event. Irrespective of music festivals being allowed to run later in 2021 it is the international travelling audience that will be unable to attend. International travel is going to be severely affected for some years to come. Continuing border restrictions, checks and requirements for numerous documentations will make travel a tedious process. Add to this the decimation of the airline industry that has resulted in reduced flights, flexibility and increased ticket costs. This will surely increase the demand for a virtually streamed performance from a music festival for international fans unable or unwilling to travel.

Music festival organisers already geared up for virtual streaming will be well placed for the future because they have already invested time and money in technology, equipment and knowledge that will enable them to stream coverage from their festival. For the many music festivals that have been inactive over the last year they should start assessing how to provide some kind of streaming service of their event. Demand will be customer driven as event goers come to expect to be offered a choice of attending in person or virtually

For music festival organisers looking into a virtual offering there are other factors to consider too that can impact on the addition of this service to audiences. Depending on the country there are potential licensing issues that need to be explored. In the UK for example an online music licence may be required via PRS to ensure that no copyright rules are breached. In addition, careful consideration of whether or not to charge for a streamed service needs to be considered. The current market expectation for a streamed performance does not really exceed $5. Who gets what portion of that revenue also needs to be agreed in advance with the preforming artist.

Whatever the thoughts of music festival organisers are it is likely that the hybrid music festival will be here to stay. 

For any event organisers planning their 2021 live events using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their hybrid event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Image by Candelario Gomez Lopez from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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