Remember when the pandemic first struck and everyone thought we might be able to have festivals back come September? That was weird, wasn't it? With both large and small events still being unavoidably cancelled, live promoters and bands are embracing 'going digital' with livestreams and online fun.
This weekend (Saturday 19th December), Bad Pond Festival - which usually takes place at Concorde 2 in Brighton - will be putting on an online showcase instead. With sets from headliner Jamie Lenman, as well as Saint Agnes, A.A Williams, Orchards, Gender Roles, CLT DRP and Yumi And The Weather, who will perform live from Ooosh! Tours Studios.
One of the organisers, Dave Jackson, tells us more.
Hey, how's it going? How have you found 2020 so far?
Hey Upset, Swimmingly, yourself? It's been a bag of crap really hasn't it? A warm bag of crap. Although I must say working from home for the first few months was a welcome change. I invested in some new slippers and dressing gown to take the edge off and just settled right into it.
At what point did you decide Bad Pond Festival couldn't take place IRL? Was there much deliberation, or was it an easy call?
I was on tour in Dublin when covid struck, and at the time (March) I was pretty hopeful that the next few weeks might be a bit rough, but life might return to normal. About two days later I realised we were in for the long haul when shows around the world started hitting the skids. We immediately held dates for SEP 2020 and the following May 2021 so we had options, but again it became clear no shows would be happening for a long time, so we abandoned that plan and looked into the next best thing... streaming!
This virtual version sounds fun, how long have you been working on it? What sparked the idea?
It was a rather last-minute decision, but we felt a sudden urge to provide some entertainment this year!
Did you get an enthusiastic response from bands?
100%, every band we spoke too was very keen to be involved. It's been nearly ten months if not longer since people have played in a room properly together and on top of that most bands on the bill released an album or EP this year and haven't been able to tour it, so we're chuffed to provide a platform of sorts!
What sort of challenges have you had to problem solve in putting this together?
Making it entertaining for the fans was top of our list. Livestream events have become the new norm, but it's very easy for them to become tedious - we wanna make sure people are entertained from start to finish!
Do you have any surprises or extras planned for on the day?
Oh yep! We're working with a bunch of great people in the background who are putting together a very enticing schedule.
When do you envisage gigs being back properly?
Honestly, I'm not sure. But with the vaccine on its way, 2021 is looking more hopeful. I'd say by Autumn 2021 we will be back to some sort of normality so we might be waiting a little longer before we see full capacity shows back on the menu. My hope is that summer festivals will return and that will mark the comeback of live events... here's hoping, for everyone's sake!
What else are you working on at the mo?
Bad Pond 2021 is in the works, and we got some very tasty (heavy) bands billed up for next year's event! I also just bought a Nintendo Switch as well so gonna be working on my Smash Bros skillz.
Bad Pond will take place on Saturday 19th December. Visit badpondfestival.co.uk for more information.