5G Festival culminates in a live, hybrid showcase event
A world-first performance underpinned by 5G technology has taken place involving artists located at three of the UK’s most iconic music venues: Metropolis Studios, the O2 Blueroom at The O2 and Brighton Dome. The ground-breaking festival experience was held to celebrate the climax of the award-winning 5G Festival project.
Over the last two years, nine heavyweight organisations have worked collectively with Digital Catapult to explore the untapped potential of 5G for the live music industry and provide a blueprint for how technology could play a key role in the future of the sector, including Audiotonix, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, LiveFrom, Mativision, Metropolis Studios, Sonosphere, Virgin Media O2, and Warner Music Group, as part of the wider £200m DCMS 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme.
Taking place simultaneously across the three venues, more than 20 musicians performed together in a unique concert, showcasing the technical achievements made during the project, and demonstrating the potential role advanced digital technologies could play in the festival of the future.
Headliners included double-platinum album selling singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner and Brighton-based Alt Folk band Memorial, both playing in Brighton Dome’s iconic Concert Hall to an in-person audience. Rising stars, BRIT Award nominee and voice of the 2021 John Lewis Christmas Ad, Lola Young, and Natalie Lindi, part of the MOBO Unsung Class of 2021, performed live in the O2 Blueroom at The O2. They were joined by seamless backing vocals, drums and keyboard from Brighton Dome, and guitar and percussion live from Metropolis Studios in West London. London-based rock duo Pearl Harts did a stand-alone performance at Metropolis Studios, which was live streamed to the other venues as part of the hybrid festival experience.
5G Festival is a unique R&D trial that enables the power of 5G and other technologies to communicate the “live-ness” of an experience wherever audiences or musicians are. Since early 2020, the partners behind 5G Festival have experimented with understanding how collaborations and performances across multiple venues in different geographical locations can transform the work of artists and producers around the world, combined with innovative and memorable live experience for audiences in-venue and at home.
The 5G Festival showcase featured demonstrations of the technical milestones that have been achieved during the course of the project – in particular solving the issue of latency (delay) between artists collaborating remotely with each other from different locations – as currently, it is not possible for artists to perform together, remotely, over an ordinary network.
Most importantly, the showcase provided the clearest demonstration yet of the potential future use cases for 5G in the music and live arts sector, as well as the commercial benefits of using 5G as part of a range of connectivity solutions for this type of event, and how other advanced technologies like virtual and augmented reality, can be seamlessly combined to produce novel experiences for performers and audiences alike.
Neil Hooper, Group Technology Officer at Audiotonix, comments: “Our teams are delighted that 18 months of hard work has been so clearly demonstrated at the 5G Festival showcase. With a combination of our audio over IP, networking, live mixing and immersive in-ear technologies we have been able to provide a reliable, low latency, high capacity audio platform that we hope can transform the live music experience for artists and audiences alike. This platform can also provide artists with future creative opportunities in a virtual environment. We look forward to seeing where this may go in the future.”