Wireless Festival has partnered with MelodyVR to produce a three-day virtual festival, while the European Arenas Association is looking to develop a recovery plan for the live events industry…

Wireless Festival

Organisers of UK music festival Wireless have teamed up with live music virtual reality firm MelodyVR to develop a three-day virtual festival set.

The digital event, Wireless Connect, has been scheduled to take place on July 3 to 5 – the same weekend as the original festival, which was cancelled earlier this month due to COVID-19.

The virtual festival will feature unseen performances and exclusive footage, as well as offering fans the option to watch pre-recorded performances in 360-degree virtual reality on the MelodyVR app.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Wireless promoter Festival Republic, said: “There’s no more forward-thinking festival than Wireless, and there’s no more forward-thinking way of hosting a festival than in 360 VR.

“We’ll be filming artists in MelodyVR’s amazing studio space in LA, built just for this purpose and in the historic theatre at Ally Pally, which MelodyVR will turn into Wireless Connect. No one has done this before…”

The Wireless Connect line-up has not yet been announced, though organisers are promising “an incredible show from some of the hottest US and UK talent”.

More than 135,000 people attended Wireless Festival in London’s Finsbury Park in 2019, and was headlined by Cardi B.

The European Arenas Association

The European Arenas Association (EAA) is working with the European Commission to develop a recovery plan for the live events industry once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

The association’s European Union subgroup has created a document covering both the key infrastructure and systems that must be implemented before venues across Europe can reopen. It also covers the type of messaging and communication that will be necessary to redeem customer confidence.

The document is one part of the EAA’s strategy to support current European Commission initiatives designed to strengthen the European live industry and aid its recovery.

“There is no precedent to follow and decisions taken over the next few weeks will have a long-lasting impact on a key industry,” said Olivier Toth, head of the EAA’s EU subgroup, IQ reports.

“It is vital that all decisions regarding venue strategy are made on the basis of first-hand experience and knowledge from people working in the business who are best placed to ensure delivery.”

The EAA represents 33 arenas across Europe and is the latest industry body to develop guidelines for reopening, following the publication of guides produced by the Event Safety Alliance and Society of Independent Show Organisers in the US, and Research Institute for Exhibition and Live Communication in Germany.

WeRNotVirus

A two-day virtual theatre festival has been launched as a platform to raise awareness of hate crimes committed against the East Asian and South-East Asian communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

WeRNotVirus, which will be a ‘ticketed’ event, has been backed by the Arts Council England Emergency Fund and is scheduled to take place June 13 to 14 via videoconferencing platform Zoom.

The festival, presented by Moongate Productions, will feature a collective of writers, actors, directors and creators of East and South-East Asian heritage in the UK. There will be 10 newly commissioned stories told through a variety of different art forms, including poetry, monologue, song, dance, and film.

The festival’s producer, Jennifer Lim, who is also the co-founder of Moongate Productions, said: “During a time when there has been a growing rise in hate crime against diasporic East and South-East Asian people it is vital that we are given a platform to amplify our voice.

“Thanks to the Arts Council, who have recognised the pressing need to respond strongly and creatively, WeRNotVirus aims to kickstart a movement which helps to break down the mystery and fear by putting our stories out there and making our voices heard.”

Hate crime directed at south and east Asian communities has increased by 21 per cent during the coronavirus crisis, with over 260 crimes reported to the Home Office, compared with 360 for the whole of 2018 and 375 in 2019.

Image: Adam Shoesmith