By Dermot McCormack, Head of Connected Content for Viacom Music and Logo Group.
For most music fans, there’s nothing quite like the experience of going to a music festival. Apart from long lines at the bathroom and expensive beer, memories of a lifetime can be made…and oh yeah and there's great music too. It’s no surprise that over the years, companies, including the one I work for, have tried to bring that live experience to life without the fan actually having to be there.
With the explosion of streaming over the last few years, lots of websites have jumped into the fray of covering festivals. Despite the valiant efforts and ambitions of virtual worlds and livestreams, these experiences often felt cold and missed the energy that makes the live experiences so memorable.
I grew up in rainy Dublin watching spring break on MTV thinking America was the most wondrous and exciting place in the world. That idea wasn't only based on MTV’s spring break coverage but it certainly didn't hurt. However, festival coverage today seems to pale in comparison. Where is the same excitement in the coverage of today's modern festivals? Where is the color commentary? The fun and games? The silliness? The stories? The inside scoop on the artist? And did I mention the fun? Surely all these things still occurred but I wasn't seeing them on my screen. Instead, we’re left to jumbotron feeds with no context…sorta like watching a sporting event with no commentators or sideline reporters.
With that said, it feels like we’ve reached a moment where the right technologies and fan adoption have aligned allowing us to truly bring a music festival to life in a way that begins to once again showcase the vitality and spirit of a music festival.
Today, three of our signature music brands, MTV, VH1 and Palladia, are launching what we believe is the most ambitious multiscreen coverage of a music festival to date with our coverage of the Hangout Festival. Our goal was to leverage our unique assets and all of our screens (television, web, mobile and social) to see if we could capture some of the unique essence of the festival going experience coupled with the stories of the fans dancing on the beach, maybe some insight into the latest hip hop star's rise to stardom, the unlikely reunion of a band we never thought we would see or maybe seeing musicians just having fun backstage. Yes that word fun again.
To pull this off, we’re deploying a BYOD “bring your own device” strategy that lets us tap into the best use for each screen. Whether it's a performance from the Killers airing in primetime on VH1 or a live simulcast of a set on Palladia, to a ton of Instagram photos literally painting the picture of the festival, to a livestream feed where Sway and Jim Shearer are curating the best interviews and performances, to Amber Rose hosting a special on MTV, we’re leveraging all of the screens to capture the festival’s essence and spirit to hopefully bring back some of the fun.
See you at the show and I wonder who will win "best selfie."