Tomorrowland Shows That Virtual Festivals Can Be A Real Thing

Tomorrowland virtual festival image

When the lockdown hit all over the world most artists eventually tried switching to livestreaming their own live concerts. Not only did that prove not to make money, but artists found they were actually losing money on the deal, as each one cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to stage. Virtually all festivals have punted on the notion of going online as well, but the Belgian organizers of Tomorrowland decided to try something different, and it looks like it’s worked out okay for all concerned.

The festival, which was held last weekend, put $10 million in artist guarantees on the line with major electronic artists like Tiesto, David Guetta, Afrojack, and Katy Perry. In total, 67 artists appeared digitally over the two days of the festival. While this sounds like a lot, consider that more than 1,000 artists go on stage at the real 3 day festival, which is held each year in Boom, Belgium.

The artists were paid 2 ways – for every ticket that was sold, and also for the number of views that their set received. The views portion of the payment makes a little more sense when you consider how attendees paid for the event.

Viewers paid around $15 (the charge was actually in Euros) for a single day pass, and about $24 for a weekend pass. The twist comes with a separate $15 “relive” option that allows users to tune into the replays of the festival for up to a week afterwards. Passes to the live event could go for as much as $600, so the charge for the virtual festival seemed more than fair.

Although no actual breakdown of the number of passes was given by the festival organizers, they did reveal that more than 1 million people tuned in over the weekend. The artists could make up to their booking rate but no more, which is still a good deal considering that most have zero income from touring at the moment.

For the virtual livestream, all sets and lighting were in 3D (see the video below), and it seemed to really work.

Could festivals like Tomorrowland be the future? They are at least for now.


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