Arts

Isol-Aid is a festival from home

A music festival that requires no pricey ticket, glitzy outfit or sweaty masses may seem like a fantasy but Isol-Aid proves its possible.

The Australian music community has banded together to continue “live” performances in response to the nationwide cancellation of gigs and festivals due to COVID-19 mass gathering restrictions.

In a virtual world, a stage is what the artists want it to be. Photo: Melissa Sheil.

The “socially (media) distanced event” is hosted via the “live” function on the Instagram platform, allowing fans to watch artists perform from the comfort of their homes.

Kitchens, gardens and bathrooms have been co-opted as performance spaces for musicians in self-isolation.

The music industry is just one of the sectors adversely affected by coronavirus, with an estimated $300m of losses sustained in Australia alone.

In lieu of tickets, viewers are encouraged to donate what they can to Support Act, a non-profit charity that assists musicians, crew workers and roadies in times of crisis. Alternatively, they can buy the musicians’ merchandise.

Isol-Aid audiences check the act’s Instagram pages to see when they are performing.
Photo: Melissa Sheil.

Lecturer in Popular Music and Identity at Curtin University, Dr Madison Magladry, believes events like this foster solidarity and connection in the music community.

“Digital concerts aren’t necessarily a new thing. Just not on this huge scale or with mainstream music before. It’s usually niche audiences,” says Dr Magladry.

“I think it’s really great that people are looking for new kinds of media to engage with that don’t simply replicate what we can’t have at the moment, but actually make a new experience.”

Noah Dillon, an artist who performed the first event, says he felt more nervous playing in his living room than he does onstage.

“It felt very raw, like there’s no place to hide. I also felt super connected to the other artists and audience partaking because we’re all going through a similar thing right now,” says Mr Dillon.

“I feel very grateful that even in times like these we can remain connected and share music.”

So far, two Isol-Aid events have been put on to great success and organisers recently announced they would continue every weekend until restrictions are removed.

Music fans in self-isolation enjoyed the at-home experience. Video: Melissa Sheil