Amidst the pandemic, the standard music festival settings of open fields, wooded forests and sprawling parking lots have been sitting empty and quiet.
But social distancing has indeed led to innovation, with streaming festivals not only becoming the primary way dance artists have stayed connected with fans during quarantine, but with these festivals sets becoming farther out and more fully realized as the pandemic persists.
Case in point was the second iteration of the online dance festival Digital Mirage, which this past weekend (June 13-14) saw more than fifty artists performing from far-flung venues including a grand (and empty) Dutch concert hall to the bottom of a pool in California. With the event postponed for a week due to events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, everyone on the lineup had more time to prepare, and many turned in truly memorable appearances.
Both iterations of Digital Mirage were produced by Los Angeles dance collective Brownies & Lemonade, Youtube platform Proximity and the dance-centric management firm Keel. The event raised $70,000, with proceeds going to to the non-profit organizations Equal Justice Initiative and Color of Change, along with the performing artists.
Here, the organizers of Digital Mirage 2.0 share their thoughts on the best sets of the event.
“As soon as we announced Digital Mirage 2, there were so many questions surrounding the fact that Chet Porter was billed on the event flyer with an ‘underwater set.’ Well, that’s exactly what he delivered, a submerged performance in the pool of an LA home. It was almost like seeing a magician land a death defying trick, but this was real and Chet Porter really risked his life for his art.” — Kushan Fernando, Brownies & Lemonade
“Representing both the LGBTQ+ and Black communities with a Pride-inspired set would be a daunting task for any young artist making their online festival debut, but 15-year-old phenom Moore Kismet did just that with gravitas and grace. Kismet exhibited an enthusiasm, confidence, and presence-of-mind that further confirmed they are a rising star we will certainly see shine even brighter in years to come.” — Chad Kenney, Brownies & Lemonade
“We knew that artists were going to take it to another level given the extra amount of time that they had for Digital Mirage 2, but Oliver Heldens went above and beyond to set a new bar. He recorded his piece at The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with a tuxedo to create a very unique and special high energy set. He did this to do something special for Digital Mirage, in addition to creating awareness for The Royal Concertgebouw, as they are in talks of closing it down due to a lack of funding.” – Blake Coppelson, Proximity
“A true showcase of talent and creativity, Elohim really outdid herself visually and sonically. She seamlessly found a way to transport you from the comforts of your home to front and center at one of her live shows, for some much needed ‘Group Therapy’.” — Mathew Hyun, Keel
“Since his spring Pink album tour was cancelled due to COVID-19, Two Feet decided to re-create the experience for Digital Mirage 2. He recorded his set live from the famous Mission Sound Studios in Brooklyn. This was a really special live performance that fans can relive on YouTube forever. — Joey Papoutsis, Keel