Festivals return with a foot in the digital world
Lawrence Chia
Chairman, Pico Group

After staying safely at home for over two years, Hong Kong citizens are increasingly yearning to get out and enjoy festivals and celebrations. At the same time, these events have also come out of ‘hibernation’ in many regions – but with the addition of trending new elements such as digitalisation, personalisation and the metaverse on top of the usual music and revelry. Event planners should take note of recent successful cases.

At Coachella in the USA, a crowd favourite (apart from the live performances) was the HP Antarctic Dome, a massive geodesic dome theatre. Activated by Pico, it premiered REGEN, an immersive 360-degree multisensory journey combining tech, art and music. REGEN immersed audiences in a compelling journey of sustainability that mirrors real-world progress toward a sustainable future. Visitors also could select background scenes from REGEN to create their own personalised 360-degree gif souvenirs. By participating in these experiences, visitors to the HP Antarctic Dome ‘blurred the border’ between real and digital worlds, and engaged in a truly integrated interactive experience.

Digitalisation is capable of turning the wildest dreams into reality, and can even extend that experience beyond the physical venue to the whole world. For brands, this can translate into huge potential for expanding the reach of their experiences.

Notably, the aforementioned REGEN experience was minted into NFT for a charity auction. The entire proceeds were donated to the Arbor Day Foundation to make a sustainable impact while attracting global attention.

A notable example of a digitalised festival was Tomorrowland in Belgium, where on top of the physical event, the organizer collaborated with an array of artists and used digital effects and 3D technologies to create ‘Around The World’, a virtual music festival. Another example was ‘Hydeout: The Prelude’, a digital music platform which joined the recently launched YAOLAND metaverse platform and appointed Pico as official consultant and digital provider. Through its collaboration with YAOLAND, a gamified virtual marketing platform, ‘Hydeout: The Prelude’ was brought into the metaverse ecosystem, allowing online audiences to experience a new musical sensation.

Besides festivals, other types of brand marketing projects have also stepped into the digital and metaverse realms. This new trend allows brands to blur the line between reality and virtuality, and maximise personalised experience for ultimate engagement.


The full insights article was originally published in Headline Finance on 17 August 2022 (in Chinese only).

Source: Headline Finance (webpage version), 17 August 2022