There are no music festivals happening this summer. We don’t need to tell you why that is; you already know, and everybody is bored with hearing about it. Some people are still mourning the fact that they can’t use the tickets that they saved up and paid so much money for. Some of you are sad about the loss of an annual tradition of going to the same music festival with the same friends every year. Try not to despair, though. The music festivals will be back next year, and in the meantime, the world of video games is doing its very best to make up for the loss.
This June, Minecraft will take the place of Glastonbury, North By Northwest, Benicassim, and all the rest by playing host to a digital festival that will run for three days, and feature music by more than three hundred different artists. It’s open to everybody whether you’re an existing Minecraft player or not, and it will feature sets by some of the most exciting names in the field of dance and electronic music. Aside from being a coup for Minecraft – which is still played and enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people more than ten years on from its release – it’s a way of providing both exposure and revenue to artists who have been hit in the pocket by a summer full of canceled bookings.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a major video game step up and offer itself as a platform to musicians and performers. Fortnite, the world’s most popular first-person shooter game, kicked off the new medium last year when it invited DJ Marshmello to come and play for a virtual audience. Since then, they’ve followed up with the announcement of a whole series of performances in the game’s new ‘Party Royale’ area, and they’ve managed to attract well-known performers like deadmau5 to come and spin a few digital discs for them. It’s still a new idea, but even at this early stage, it’s clear that the success that’s been enjoyed by Fortnite and Epic Games has encouraged other games to see if their own players would be interested in using their game world as a medium for enjoying concerts.
The connection between musicians and electronic gaming has been growing steadily for several years now. Long before anyone at Epic Games had the idea of staging games inside Fortnite, individual musicians and bands started working with online slots companies to create games that use their music and likenesses to draw customers. Some of the biggest names in rock music history now have their own official online slots available, including Alice Cooper, Motorhead, and Guns n Roses. Even camp 70s and 80s sensations The Village People have become a playable attraction at some online slots websites like Rose Slots. If they can keep people spinning for longer while they’re playing slots, presumably musicians can also attract and retain new customers for the world’s most popular video games.
Now that we’ve told you the event is happening, we suppose it would be polite to fill you in on a few more details! Here are the most important facts. Rather charmingly, the festival is called ‘Electric Blockaloo’ (a play on ‘Electric Boogaloo’) and will run between June 25th and June 28th inclusive. As we alluded to earlier, the festival will not be free to ‘attend.’ You’ll need a Minecraft account to experience the festival, and you can sign up for one of those for free, but admittance to the event itself will be limited to ticketholders only. Depending on how many days you want to ‘attend’ for and which artists you want to see, tickets range between seven dollars and thirty dollars. Sixty percent of the ticket money will be split between the performers, with the remaining forty percent going to Mojang Studios as the owners of Minecraft.
We imagine that you’ll also want to know more about the performers you can expect to see on the virtual stage. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to how much we can tell you about that right now. So far, Above & Beyond, Diplo and A-Trak have been named as the star attractions. From that, it seems reasonable to assume that they will be the headliners of each of the festival’s individual days. Rave Festival, a company that has partnered with Minecraft to put the event together, have already confirmed that they will be revealing the whole lineup closer to the event. As it’s electronic/dance-focused, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear of anyone you’re familiar with if you don’t know the three names that have been mentioned forever, but if electronic music is your thing, you might be in for a real treat!
While any of the game’s 110 million-plus users can experience the festival just by buying a ticket and logging in via their smartphone, laptop, games console or another preferred medium, it’s also been confirmed that the event will be compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which will allow for a more ‘immersive’ experience for those who are fortunate enough to have the hardware. That being said, if you’re a dance music fan and you’ve been waiting for a good reason to dabble with virtual reality entertainment, this might be a good time to start!
Just as the event with DJ Marshmello on Fortnite last year acted as a test for the events now being run regularly inside the game, this dance festival is likely to be a test for the feasibility of staging more music events inside the game in the future. Even with its current level of popularity, the game will have to make further innovations if it’s to survive for another ten years, and carving a niche in the world of digital entertainment might be exactly the development that it’s looking for. That’s a matter for the people who make the game to worry about, though. For you, the music-loving public who are bereft of viable places to go or things to watch for the rest of the summer, it’s a chance to reclaim at least some of that festival feeling!
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