As the long awaited sunshine finally beamed upon Manchester, team Sundae has been busy creating the buzz around the return of Manchester UNESCO City of Literature’s annual Festival of Libraries. Running for five days in June, the festival celebrates Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries and their librarians with a varied and vibrant programme; the perfect opportunity […]
Lost Horizon is the world’s largest music and arts festival in virtual reality created by the team behind Glastonbury’s legendary Shangri-La, featuring four stages, over 70 music acts, over 150 artists and over 200 artworks.
The festival featured an interstellar line up of superstar DJs including Fatboy Slim, Peggy Gou and Sasha, alongside underground acts and visual artists, raising money for The Big Issue and Amnesty International.
Created in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, and to support The Big Issue and Amnesty International UK at this incredibly difficult time, Lost Horizon festival, and the VR worlds it exists within, were created from scratch in three months flat. Sundae was involved from the outset, advising on communications on a strategic level, and carefully navigating a complicated and ever changing media landscape.
A real festival, in a virtual world, Lost Horizon’s goal was to break completely new ground, moving away from DJ sets streamed from homes across the world. They created a bold new world that festival-goers could enter as an avatar, and chat and dance with friends old and new from the safety of their living room. ‘Hologram’ performances of more than 70 artists, filmed on green screens in 12 countries across the world, were rendered into the world, making it feel almost like the real thing. Sundae’s partner agency Instruct Studio came on board to deliver the brand, campaign and website, giving the event the polished look and feel of a global event.
The festival emulated the ethos, and some of the stages of Shangri-La, and the artistic direction of Kaye Dunnings created a magical virtual world that was simultaneously familiar and future focused. Art was, of course, an incredibly strong focus and exhibitions ran throughout Lost Horizon, not least Yours Truthfully, developed in partnership with Design Manchester.
Communicating this was no mean feat, and the press campaign called on incredibly strong media relations to deliver clear messaging, whilst utilising the festival directors and huge talent performing to generate excitement, which reached fever pitch in the run up to the event.
Where the campaign differs from Sundae’s usual work at Shangri-La, is that Glastonbury has a sell out audience, and on this occasion it was down to the communications campaign, with the support of the partners, including Beatport and Orca Sound Project, and the 70+ artists, to deliver an on the day audience in an extremely crowded marketplace, the weekend after Glastonbury.
Following an incredible news launch, which hit hundreds of titles across the world, we worked with the directors Kaye Dunnings, Robin Collings and Chris Macmeikan to deliver follow up profile pieces that appeared in Design Week, Creative Review, Total Production International, IQ, Vice, NME and many more. Whilst superstar DJs, including King of Ibiza Carl Cox, undertook interviews with Sky News, the Evening Standard and Forbes, and the likes of Frank Turner, Jaguar, Nova Twins delivered features in key music titles.
Advance publicity was delivered via segment pitches into key media sectors, including art, music, culture, tastemaker and creative industries, to ensure focus was spread across the different elements of the event. Tech was of course a key focus, and technology pieces in TechRadar, the Metro, VR Focus and VR Scout, delivered the VR and gaming audience the project also needed.
On the day press office was delivered from Sundae MD Fiona McGarva’s kitchen, from where she had a directly line into the Bristol warehouse that housed the festival directors throughout the show. Just like the festival itself, the press office emulated real life, with teams rushing to photograph and film performances in the VR world, and fielding interviews and press enquiries from all of the world.
“I’m still not sure VR festivals can ever take the place of the sweat, mud and glory of a good old-fashioned meatspace festival, but right now a few hours in a virtual sesh sounds like as good a way to spend a weekend as any other – and if anyone can get it right, it’s Shangri-La.”
Kevin EG Perry – NME