5G Festival is the world’s first 5G powered hybrid immersive festival including live and remotely collaborating artists and audiences.
Leading organisations from across the UK’s arts, entertainment and technology industries collaborated to create the first 5G Festival, a showcase of creative talent – both technical and artistic – and the power of digital technologies. The festival aimed to connect artists both in person and online, and using the power of 5G to communicate the “live-ness” of an experience wherever audiences or musicians are located. The festival enabled artists to produce and perform seamlessly by collaborating across multiple venues – enriching the live audience experience at home and/or in venues by using immersive technologies.
Using 5G and its ability to transmit with low latency (delay) and in ultra-high bandwidth, the 5G Festival allowed physically separate artists to perform in an immersive live, collaborative environment from different locations. The 5G Festival showcase in March 2022 was broadcast live directly to audiences at leading UK venues, and included an immersive in-venue experience.
5G Festival was a collaboration of nine organisations led by Digital Catapult, bringing together Audiotonix, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, LiveFrom, Mativision, Metropolis Studios, Sonosphere, Virgin Media O2, and Warner Music Group.
5G Festival has won the “Most Innovative Use of 5G Technology” Award at the 5G Week Awards 2021, and “Most Innovative Use of 5G Technology” at the UK5G Showcase Awards 2022.
The ultimate aim of the 5G Festival trial is to help create a more diversified, sustainable live music industry with increased opportunities to reach new users (artists/creators) and audiences by using the latest available and developing technologies, helping to not only future-proof business models for venues and festivals adversely affected by global risks (such as COVID-19 and climate change), but provide safe, creation/performance environment for artists and valuable, high-quality, immersive experiences to audiences wherever they are around the world.
The core 5G infrastructure was based on Digital Catapult’s 5G testbeds in Brighton and London, inter-connected with Virgin Media O2’s public 5G network. The technology incorporated into an in-venue ‘hybrid festival’ providing a blend of live physical and remote interactive and immersive engagements for in-venue audiences and exploring opportunities for digital transformation and capability building for the UK’s world-leading live music, festivals and events sector.
March 2022 – Live 5G Festival
The 5G Festival culminated in a live, hybrid showcase event involving artists performing from three of the UK’s most iconic music venues: Metropolis Studios, the O2 Blueroom at The O2, and Brighton Dome.
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.
Over 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 a 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.
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.”