The Top Music Festivals To Watch Online

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Following the cancellation of all summer festivals due to the current pandemic, organisers have preserved the festival magic through transferring performances both to online streaming sites and radio. Here is the rundown of some of the festivals you can access online.

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Glastonbury Festival 2020

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, Glastonbury have gone virtual in the light of the current pandemic. Viewers can experience the five-day festival from their own back gardens, with all performances to be put on iPlayer and streamed via radio from 25th to 29th June. Due to headline the festival was Taylor Swift, The Beetles’ very own Paul McCartney, and Kendrick Lamar. However, with over 60 performances available to stream, audiences will not miss out completely. You could even transform your living area into a festival environment and take advantage of the great weather. To ensure the best virtual experience for disappointed festival-goers, organisers have promised to stream performances from “some of the biggest artists in the history of the festival”, including Adele (2010), David Bowie (2000) and Coldplay (2016).

Lorna Clarke from BBC Pop added that:

Glastonbury Festival has for decades been a huge moment in the BBC’s music calendar, thanks to Michael and Emily’s magical creation. Even though Worthy Farm can’t be full of thousands of music lovers this year, the BBC will celebrate with four days of memories and archive footage across TV, BBC iPlayer, Radio and BBC Sounds, to give our audience a taste of the festival in their own homes.

Even before the arrival of the next 60 streams, there are already clips from past Glastonbury sets for fans to enjoy, such as that from The Wombats, Pale Waves and Freya Ridings.

You can access the current Glastonbury streams here (UK only).

All Points East 2020

Following in the footsteps of Glastonbury, All Points East, a 10-day festival based in Victoria Park from 22nd to 31st May has also been cancelled. Set to perform were artists such as Glass Animals, Tame Impala and The Kooks.

However, this hasn’t stopped performing artists from replicating the very atmosphere of their performances for fans to enjoy. Within the mix, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker released The Slow Rush in An Imaginary Place, featuring songs from his most recent studio album The Slow Rush. Their concerts are well-known for their particularly immersive experiences, from the hallucinatory lighting effects paired with Parker’s hazy vocals which encapsulate the listener in a kind of dream world. There is no doubt that Parker’s live performance would have enabled fans to experience his new songs live. However, within The Slow Rush in An Imaginary Place, Parker’s manipulation of the sound system makes it sound as if the listener within one of their live shows, set with crowd background noise paired with Parker’s vocals, making for a sensually riveting experience. Parker notes how this can be made a much more immersive experience for the listener via headphones and, having tried this, I could not agree more. If you have enjoyed this experience, fans have similarly replicated Parker’s special effects with songs such as Mind Mischief and The Less I Know the Better from his earlier studio albums Lonerism and Currents.

You can experience the magic live below.

The Slow Rush in An Imaginary Place

Mind Mischief experience (fan-made)

Radio One’s Big Weekend 2020

Set to take place from 22nd to 24th May in Dundee, Radio One’s Big Weekend is another festival which has had to stream its performances online via iPlayer and radio. However, performing artists have been determined to deliver performances on the virtual stage from their own homes. Amongst them includes Sam Smith’s touching vocals, featuring How Do You Sleep and timeless classic Stay with Me. Another feature includes Rex Orange County performing fan favourites Loving is Easy and Best Friend from his own back garden. On top of this, producers have released Stage Highlights, a compilation including 20 exclusive performances from artists including Blossoms, Anne-Marie and Biffy Clyro. Amongst these more recent performances are historical numbers from earlier years, including Coldplay’s magical 2016 set, The 1975’s 2019 stage debut and Billie Eilish’s hypnotising 2019 set.

Radio 1 presenter Greg James has stated:

I’m so pleased we can bring the listeners a brand-new version of our Big Weekend this year. It’s our absolute favourite event of the year and we love saying thanks to our listeners for being such a big part of the radio station. “It’ll be a great opportunity to re-live some of our favourite performances from over the years and although it’ll be a technical nightmare, having some new performances from artists’ houses will be great for everyone to have something fun to watch and listen to over the Bank Holiday Weekend. And if it all goes wrong; we can just blame the pandemic and say that at least we tried.

Here is a link to all the Big Weekend Live Streams here (UK only).

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