More than mere pandemic stopgap solutions, virtual gigs and festivals have long-term potential. Apart from the huge, borderless audiences, they also provide valuable opportunities for both inclusivity and transcendence. As Lost Horizon’s creative director Kaye Dunnings explained at the (also virtual) CogX festival in London recently, “You can transcend anything through an avatar. You can create it how you want and customize it yourself. People that maybe are limited physically can walk anywhere, jump and bounce and teleport around the space.”

Thanks to advances in digital technology, entertainment is now delivering richer, deeper and more immersive experiences for audiences. Content and experiences now deftly blend reality with the virtual, offering multiple entry points and deeper experiential layers. Today’s empowered audience expects freedom: to explore, experiment and most importantly, participate.
Events designed for Corporate, Education and Non profits, avatars have mainly an interactive role. For example, in a convention, fair or any other type of commercial activity, businesses can arrange their booths or information stands with 3D avatars that stand for the company representatives. This way, attendees will be able to contact with assistants and solve their doubts in the moment.

These concepts reflect a desire on the part of audiences to see themselves at the heart of the action, to actively engage rather than passively consume. Shows that can authentically offer viewer participation will reap the rewards, according to Neil Crombie of TV production company Swan Films. Crombie is executive producer of Grayson’s Art Club, an arts show conceived for lockdown for the British broadcaster Channel 4. The show ditched the traditional format of expert art critics dispensing wisdom and instead created a collective, meaningful experience for the nation.
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