Mixed Reality & Game Engines: Why you should be using this technology for your festival

The Author - Mitchell Bayer-Goldman

Mitchell Bayer-Goldman is Co-founder and COO of Volta XR, here he he discusses how performances can be enhanced by the application of existing technology.

Festival goers expectations  are higher than ever, especially with the large supply of events this Summer after a two year festival hiatus due to the pandemic. As such, festival organisers are tirelessly trying to outcompete one another for ticket sales. Positioning themselves as curated, branded experiences through things like unique aesthetic and community engagement is the norm. Not to mention bespoke artist programming, value-adds & perks, competitions & giveaways, workshops,  and larger scale event production. But all of this is expensive, time-consuming, and not necessarily guaranteed to deliver results.

It’s time to add a new type of technology that not only elevates the visual spectacle of your festival but provides ways for audiences to interact locally and globally – adding scale, and engagement to your festival. Game engines and Mixed Reality are becoming a standard in all forms of entertainment from concerts within games like Fortnite and Roblox to Unreal Engine being used to film whole blockbuster feature films. The next wave of the spectacle of live events will be built around real time interaction and rendered visually compelling content, which can only be achieved via game engines.

Benefit 1: Power mind-bending visuals on-site

There was a moment in 2007 that changed the festival and concert world. Daft Punk debuted the pyramid during Coachella cementing the fact that the cultural expectations for live musical events had shifted from focusing on musical virtuosity to the spectacle. But it costs a lot of money to be a pioneer…  Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Deadmau5, Bjork… were other early adopters of new visual technology but at massive expense, effort and ingenuity. 

This process still excludes 99.9% of the artists who aspire to be like their idols but are unable to obtain the means for it, let alone a festival organisers putting them on for 10s of artists a day. 

But rather than spending months with creatives in an expensive production studio, technologies like mixed reality and game engines now mean it’s possible to create truly interactive and audio reactive 3D visuals, from the comfort of your office or bedroom.

Tools like Volta XR (think LEGOs for mixed reality) can not only create next generation of real time rendered visuals, allowing you to outcompete your peers, but it’s entirely free, and is completely no-code. Volta can output normal 2D video content, flat 3D videos for LED walls and 360 video for projection mapping entire immersive venues (e.g. the Brooklyn Mirage). Why can’t every show at a festival be like a Transmoderna or Afterlife performance?

Benefit 2: Hybridise live events and add global scale

The pandemic normalised live streaming IRL events and catalysed new ways for artists and their audiences to connect and interact. 

Real time rendering in game engines and tools like Volta creates a new layer of creativity and liveness across time and space. Linking artists, local audiences and global audiences with no zero extra work.  Live streaming to a global audience can not only improve global fan engagement but drive ancillary revenues…

Benefit 3: Audience Interaction

Music game engines like Volta, literally render entire 3D worlds. This means that audience members, both live in-venue and livestreaming can have control over any object within the virtual environment. For Volta, fans type keywords, chosen by the festival, artist or label, into the stream’s chat window, or on your festival’s mobile app. Those keywords trigger effects (as chosen by the festival or artist) in the virtual world, in real time and are broadcasted to the LED walls and/or on the livestream simultaneously around the world.

For example:

  • A fan types the word “Particles” in the chat window and the performer

explodes into particles

  • A fan types “Bacardi” into the chat window and a 3D Bacardi logo in the video

stream explodes

  • An audience member types in their name into the chat window and their name appears on

the Virtual DJ Booth

Logic is built into to both prevent people from spamming the chat window and to gamify the

experience for audiences. For example, if a fan could type Boom into the chat, a chatbot will reply 10 more Booms and make a big Explosion! – after 10 more people type in Boom a giant explosion with your festival’s logo appears behind the performer.

Audience interaction not only brings fans together from around the world, centred around the festival. Engagement drives brand awareness as audience participation features in Volta gives fans a reason to watch the stream, rather than just listen to it. This gives brand’s a significant advantage on impression effectiveness. Fans are united locally and globally to have an effect on the visual content at the show and thus the stream. In essence, tools like Volta not only provide an incredible means to create visually compelling shows but adds game mechanics like in-app purchases and remote user interaction to live events. For example, audience interaction keywords can be monetised – light visual effects could cost say $2, while a fan’s name appearing on the virtual booth could be $100.

Every single show is inherently unique because it is the product of the artist and their fans creating a virtual world together in that moment. The best moments at live shows are when you feel united with the artist and the people around you. Volta empowers you to actually make the experience as a global community.

Engagement and interactivity aside, it’s also an opportunity for product placement & brand sponsorship in a novel way. Brands can not only have their logo on the LED walls/stream, but it

can be made into a 3D object that can have audio-reactive and audience-interactive behaviors, Which provides a new and much more immersive opportunity for brand presence and thus increased revenue from partners.

Step in Volta XR

Volta is a self-serve XR creation platform that gives venues, festivals and artists the ability to

design and broadcast 3D, experiential content. Volta integrates seamlessly into artists’ existing workflows (with native integrations for Traktor, Ableton, Pioneer, Serato etc…), allows them to build immersive worlds and can even let their fans have an impact on the environment, turning a broadcast into a living breathing place. Volta is free, mitigating not only the complexity of building

next level mixed reality performances but also seven+ figure costs of a state of the art production studio.

We are uniquely positioned to create innovative, interactive hybrid (live and livestreamed) performances using our existing technology with no cost and minimal preparation. We also have a plethora of experience in using our technology at large live events, including (but not limited to) Glastonbury, The Brooklyn Mirage, Boiler room in London, Cova Santa & Amnesia Ibiza and the World Expo in Dubai. We’re lucky to have a unique artist perspective too, with artist investors including Deadmau5, Richie Hawtin, Post Malone’s Artist Services Company, Jillionaire and more.
TIME called us out as one of the best inventions of 2021 – please drop mitch@volta-xr.com an email and we’d love to show you what all the fuss is about with a product demo and a quick consultation on how we can take your festival to the next level.