Preserving and reinventing music festival legacy in the metaverse

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The metaverse is becoming a destination for more brands, companies and communities to connect. A study from December 2022 revealed that 69% of users believe metaverse entertainment will reshape social life. 

Recently, the legacy music and arts festival Woodstock, known for being the most famous of the 1960s rock festivals, announced that it would reinvent itself as a digital world in collaboration with metaverse developers Sequin AR.

Festivals in the metaverse are not a new thing. As digital life has been becoming more prominent over the years, we’ve seen virtual PRIDE parades, cultural events specific to countries and metaverse fashion week.

In the case of Woodstock building its own virtual space, a physical festival’s immense legacy is being both preserved and reinvented for new generations. Cointelegraph spoke with the Woodstock team and Robert DeFranco, the CEO of Sequin AR, to understand how legacy events navigate a digital rebirth.

Jennifer Roberts, a partner at Woodstock Ventures, recalled how the original festival in 1969 “defied so many expectations” as it brought together half a million people around peace, music and art. Now the metaverse allows for a truly global audience to experience the festivals’ legacy.

“We think that today’s Woodstock Generation isn’t united by when they were born but by a shared value system of peace, creativity and compassion. ”

Roberts called the metaverse a “democratizing experience” where, despite physical circumstances, people can come together to celebrate what they believe in.

Connectivity is a big motivator for brands and companies to enter the metaverse. With over 90% of consumers curious about the metaverse, the opportunities to create connections on a global scale are only increasing.

Related: Metaverse not the endgame, but ‘ongoing digital transformation‘: Davos 2023

However, just as in real life, throwing an iconic festival for thousands of people is a big task with many considerations.

DeFranco said the goal of such initiatives is not to replace, but complement what is available in physical reality and the legacy of an event.

“There’s nothing like being at a live show. The intent is to have a community to engage in and an experience you enjoy when you can’t be at a live show.”

Roberts said when preparing to create this digital compliment, the anticipation of new needs for artists, audiences and even music genres is a new challenge. She also said leaving room for serendipity in the process is not to be overlooked. 

“The magic of the original festival was something that resulted from the alchemy of bringing different elements together. We have faith that will happen here too, albeit in ways we can’t predict.”

From indie artists to iconic pop stars, the music industry has been very active in its adoption of Web3 technologies. 

Major labels like Warner Music have been particularly active in bringing performances into digital reality, particularly after its announcement of its own music-centered Web3 platform it is creating with Polygon.

Roberts said however, when it comes to legacy it’s not just about keeping the past alive but looking towards the future.

“It’s not about enshrining the past, but rather a way to involve new audiences and write the next chapters of history.”

Over the next seven years, the metaverse is expected to create a market valuation of $5 trillion according to recent reports.