Major festivals, events not interested in going virtual

May 01, 2020
Xodus revellers on the road during last year’s road march.
Xodus revellers on the road during last year’s road march.
Tyrone Wilson
Tyrone Wilson

Amid cancellations and the postponement of entertainment events due to the threat of COVID-19, persons within the entertainment industry have retreated to showcasing their talents online, others going live with virtual parties and live performances. However, some promoters of major events say a virtual staging might not be the best fit for their situation.

Kamal Bankay, director of Dream Entertainment and Xodus Band, tells eProbe that it has always been his view "that live-streaming works extremely well for live artiste performances, and does not work very well for organic parties or expressions of entertainment".

He explained that when an artiste is performing live, the focal point is the stage, where people are entertained by the performer.

"At a party, the performance is happening all around you. Everybody in the event is a performer and a patron at the same time, because you feed off the energy of each other. So there is no focal point like that. Yes, there are DJs and selectors and they provide that, but people feed off the energy of each other, and that's one of the main differences, ideologically, between a party and a concert," he said. "How are you going to recreate the whole vibe of being in the middle of a road parade, dancing with beautiful people all around you? You can't. So that kind of vibe is not going to work for carnival," Bankay explained.

Commercial standpoint

And while it is believed that concerts and artiste performances would do well via virtual presentation, executive producer for the Reggae Sunsplash music festival, Tyrone Wilson, says as far as he is concerned, "a lot of people use these virtual things to just kind of interact and reminisce".

"I don't think, from a commercial standpoint, it will create significant value to replace or even compensate for these physical events. I think it helps to continue to keep your brand top of mind, and engage with your following, but we haven't figured out our e-commerce space as yet in Jamaica ... you might have a few brands sponsor this and sponsor that, but I don't think it will create any significant economic return," he said.

Already, there have been considerations given to how promoters and other online/virtual event planners can monetise their events, as Facebook recently announced that it would be adding the option to charge for live streams.

"To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for pages to charge for access to events with live videos on Facebook - anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences," the announcement read.

It is expected to take effect "in coming weeks".

Other Entertainment Stories