VIRTUAL MUSIC FESTIVALS – AN EXCITING NEW SPACE FOR BRANDS
An interview with Robin Collings, Lost Horizon.
Lost Horizon festival first opened its virtual doors in early July in response to the IRL music event cancellations that have hit the industry this year. The ambition was to not just create another live streaming platform, but a real festival in the virtual world. Speaking about it, Robin says, “With Lost Horizon we’re creating a new way for artists to perform their music and for fans to engage with their favourite artists. We’ve created a space that is actually sociable.”
Many engaging and interactive features have been planned to create an experience that goes beyond the live shows. One of the artists at the upcoming Lost Horizon for example is going to walk around in the audience as avatars of themselves immediately before or after their show. “They will be in the crowd and talking to people, in a way that they probably couldn’t in the real world. This virtual space allows them to really connect with their fans and that’s a whole new dynamic.”
Asked about the opportunities for brands, he says “one big advantage is that the event is so scalable – it’s global and there’s no limit to the number of people attending”, but admits this new space naturally also comes with some challenges. “It’s less hands-on and removed from the physical contact with a product and that’s probably what is holding brands back.” However, he firmly believes there’s lots of room for brands to develop new ways of engaging with artists and audiences. Of course brands can sponsor the show, present an artist, or host an artist Q&A afterwards, but they can also go beyond that and push the creative boundaries.
“The role that we’d really like brands to take on is to help us develop the audience and the market.”
“We’ve been thinking a lot about the whole audience journey – from the moment they hear about a show to the event itself. Brands are traditionally really good at managing that journey and enhancing the consumer experience along the way. There’s potential to develop that further with digital events and we’d love to have more integral conversations with brands about this.” Beyond just the virtual space, there’s also scope to bring the event into the real world. Fans could receive a little box with products, merch, instructions, or tunes ahead of the event. Or have drinks and food delivered home for the real festival experience. Finally, Robin says he sees big potential in partnering with innovative tech brands. “Helping us and artists access new tech would open lots of opportunities to enhance the experience.”
Virtual music festivals all in all are an exciting new space for brands to be involved in. There’s a big opportunity to shape and develop this format and engage fans in different and innovative ways.
Lost Horizon will be back in December with a whole program of events throughout the month. Head over to www.losthorizonfestival.com to check out the line-up.