Splendour's virtual fest will feature more than 50 acts, including The Killers, Khalid, Chrvches, Charlie XCX and The Avalanches.
For the second year in a row, North Byron Bay Parkland won't be welcoming in bands and music lovers this July, with Splendour in the Grass' 2021 festival already rescheduled to November. But if enjoying a jam-packed lineup of tunes is a cherished part of your winter routine, that's still on the cards, thanks to a new virtual Splendour event taking place in its usual midyear time slot.
Called Splendour XR, the mud-free two-stage event will pop up across the weekend of Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25 — but you'll be watching along from home. Or, from wherever you choose to tune in via your mobile, tablet, browser, desktop or VR headset, all to watch more than 50 acts take to the virtual stage over two days.
Leading the charge are headliners Khalid and The Killers. The former will do the honours on Saturday, while the latter will take over on Sunday. They'll be joined by a hefty list of talent, including Chvrches, Denzel Curry, Duke Dumont, Tash Sultana, Violent Soho, Phoebe Bridgers and Band of Horses on the first day, plus Charlie XCX, Vance Joy, The Avalanches, Of Monsters and Men, The Jungle Giants and Ocean Alley on the second.
If you're wondering how Splendour XR will work, that's understandable — and no, you won't just be watching old gig footage or clips from past Splendours. Instead, the fest will feature new, never-before-seen live sets that have been created especially for the virtual event. And, while they'll be available to watch worldwide, the fest will operate on Australian time — running from 12pm–2am AEST each day, with tunes starting from 2pm. You'll also be able to view the performances for seven days afterwards.
Splendour organisers are also aiming to take as much of the IRL festival experience with them into the virtual realm, too, with attendees set to access "an imaginatively embellished but faithful recreation of Splendour's Byron Bay venue", according to the festival announcement. You'll also create your own schedule so that you can hop between stages to see whoever you like, and you'll be able to virtually meet up with your mates in the process as well.
Also part of the fest: raising funds for live music industry workers, mental health and wellbeing, and sustainability. There'll also be an online medical centre designed to help anyone that's struggling with their mental health after the chaos of the past 15 months or so.
SPLENDOUR XR LINEUP:
Band Of Horses
Cat & Calmell
The Southern River Band
Grimes Metaverse (Super Beta)
Of Monsters and Men
Hot Dub Time Machine
The Jungle Giants
What So Not
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Amyl and The Sniffers
Top image: Mitch Lowe.