Leading organisations spanning the UK’s technology, entertainment and arts industries are collaborating to create the first ever hybrid 5G Festival, hosted in early 2022.
As part of the wider £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme funded by the UK Government, the 5G Festival will be a showcase of creative talent blended with the power of advanced 5G technology to broadcast live directly to audiences at remote locations from world-leading venues, as well as producing novel immersive in-venue experiences.
“5G is not just about having a faster mobile phone – we’re funding groundbreaking projects across the UK to explore other ways in which this revolutionary technology can make people's lives better. I’m delighted that Brighton and London are hosting this innovative project to help our cutting-edge music industry seize the new opportunities 5G offers to transform live entertainment and connect with even more people across the globe,” said Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure.
Low latency 5G
5G Festival will utilise 5G and its ability to transmit with low latency and in ultra-high bandwidth to allow physically separate artists to produce immersive live, collaborative performances across multiple venues with a live and remote immersive environment. This will mean musicians can perform together from different venues at the same time, completely in-sync with one another, and audiences can have a wider choice of where and how they can experience live music.
The collaboration behind the festival is being led by Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre. The core 5G infrastructure for 5G Festival is based on Digital Catapult’s 5G Testbed, which spans three sites across Brighton and London, and offers technologically complete end-to-end, standards compliant, commercial and open source network services. 5G Festival will use Mativision’s network-ready 360° content distribution platform and O2 5G public network to support the scale of the project. Other partners include Warner Music, the iconic Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, Metropolis, Sonosphere, Audiotonix and LiveFrom. As well as providing the network, the O2 Lab will be developing the customer facing mobile application for the project.
O2 Public 5G network
“As the UK’s no.1 brand in live music we’re proud to be part of initiatives like the 5G Festival, using advances in technology to bring entertainment from amazing venues into people’s homes. At O2 we’ve been celebrating our own venues in recent months, identifying local talent to create artwork reminding communities of the good times enjoyed at live music hotspots. We’re looking forward to getting the 5G Festival up and running – connectivity has never been more important as we power this country into recovery and work to rebuild Britain,” said Rob Searle, Head of 5G at O2.
It’s hoped that the 5G Festival will help create a more diversified, sustainable live music industry with increased opportunities to reach new users and audiences by using the latest technologies. As well as helping to future-proof business models for venues and festivals adversely affected by global risks such as the pandemic, the “festival of the future” model should provide safe, creation/performance environment for artists and valuable, high-quality, immersive experiences to audiences worldwide.
“Covid-19 has denied us all the buzz of going to live shows. 5G Festival aims to change our view of how to enjoy a live performance as the project looks to create the world's first internationally accessible, immersive live festival experience powered by 5G. This ambitious project aims both to help artists collaborate and create new music, and then to enable audiences to see their favourite artist, safely in-person at one of the UK's best venues or from the comfort of their own home, in a totally new and different way. It's an honour for Digital Catapult to lead a project with such great partners - watch this space!” said Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult.