With many festivals and large gatherings around the world cancelled for months to come, some artists have turned to Minecraft to ensure that gigs still go ahead for fans.
Around the world, music fans have been left disappointed by a spate of cancellations affecting music festivals, concerts and other gatherings, as governments call off large events to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Now that many artists have had their schedules cleared for the foreseeable future, some have been turning to the internet to entertain fans and raise money for charity.
As physical distancing measures continue, artists have taken to YouTube, Instagram and other livestreaming platforms to hold gigs and interact with fans. Last weekend, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and Paul McCartney were among participants in a large televised concert to raise money for Covid-19 relief funds.
Now, gigs have even been arranged for Microsoft’s popular multiplayer platform, Minecraft. Earlier this month, emo band American Football headlined a digital festival line-up on the platform that included acts such as Hana and Iglooghost. Similar events are set to take place this weekend.
Square Garden festival
The first of this weekend’s events arranged for Minecraft, which will also be streamed on YouTube, is entitled Square Garden. On Friday (24 April) at 10pm (UTC +1), a four-hour event organised by artist 100 Gecs will feature popstar Charli XCX as a headliner.
Also performing at the event is AG Cook, producer and founder of the PC Music record label, and a number of acts associated with the label including Danny L Harle, Tommy Cash and GFOTY.
100 gecs presents: ?Square Garden?
— 100 gecs (@100gecs) April 16, 2020
Also on the bill is Dorian Electra, Kero Kero Bonito and Benny Blanco. The event will raise money for the charity Feeding America. Instructions on how to watch the concert can be found here.
100 Gecs, the stage name of pop duo Dylan Brady and Laura Les, played their first concert on Minecraft in 2019, when virtual concerts were a novelty, rather than a necessity.
Block by Blockwest
If none of the acts at Square Garden take your fancy, you might prefer Block by Blockwest (nicknamed BXBW). On Saturday (25 April), punk bands such as Idles and Pussy Riot will be playing sets on Minecraft at 7pm (UTC +1).
— I D L E S (@idlesband) April 21, 2020
The BXBW website reads: “Due to the mass cancellation of tours, ‘Block By Blockwest: A Minecraft Music Festival’ aims to provide an online festival experience for the artists that were forced to cancel their tours and fans who missed out on the chance to hear their favourite artists live.”
Some of the other acts performing at the virtual event include Fever 333, Health, Citizen, Rich People and Deal Casino. You can find the full line-up and instructions on how to attend the event here.
Elsewhere, Travis Scott is performing on Fortnite this week, while Soccer Mommy planned to play a show for fans on Club Penguin. It’s worth keeping an eye on your favourite artists to see if they get involved in any of these initiatives.
Irish festivals cancelled
Online events might be the closest that many Irish music fans get to attending concerts and festivals for the foreseeable future. On Wednesday (22 April), the Government announced that mass gatherings with more than 5,000 people can no longer take place this summer.
The measures are in place until 31 August and will be under constant review. This has led to the cancellation of Life Festival, Forbidden Fruit, Body & Soul, Longitude, All Together Now and Love Sensation, among others.
Electric Picnic, Ireland’s largest music festival, is scheduled for three days in September after restrictions are lifted, but many are doubtful that the event will go ahead. The festival was set to increase its capacity from 55,000 to 70,000 this year.