(Australian Associated Press)
Music festivals conjure to mind some very specific images: queues for the bar, muddy grounds, sunburn, ponchos and possibly a performance or two in between the race to the portaloos.
A new online festival, LoveBusk, is offering an alternative to all that, allowing people to watch the performances from the comfort of their own home, with all profits going to charity.
Artists including Ben Lee, Ash Grunwald, Cyrus, Sheba and Emmanuel Jal (from the best-selling book and documentary War Child) will busk live and stream from their home, or wherever they happen to be in the world, on Sunday, March 20.
It’s all very intimate, the idea of singers performing directly to you in your room.
But as Cigarettes Will Kill You singer, Ben Lee, points out there are more possibilities now to create that intimacy between fans and performers. In fact, LoveBusk organiser Brett Hlywa reached out to Lee directly via Facebook.
“The age of the artist on the pedestal, like the Rolling Stones away from the audience, that’s all finished. The line now between fans and friends and collaborators and business partners is all very amorphous, so some of the greatest opportunities have come to me through social media, people reaching out to me,” Lee told AAP.
“In this particular case Brett had an interesting vision … I like the idea that he’s thinking outside the mainstream.”
But the intimacy and convenience of the festival aren’t the only reasons to sign up for it, it also has a lot of heart.
The audience can purchase Tip Dollars to give out to their favourite artists and speakers with 50 per cent of the profits going to the artist’s chosen charity and the other 50 per cent going towards LoveBusk’s for purpose project OrphFund, which is building a children’s village for homeless and orphaned kids in Uganda.
“Each artist can nominate their own charity so I’ve nominated a charity I’m actually on the board of called Inkarri which works to promote the process of profoundness of transformation and supports endangered wisdom cultures,” Lee said.
“The two that we work with are the great Q’ero nation of Peru who were the ancient Incas who went into hiding in the mountains of Peru in the 1500s with the Spanish invaders and stayed in hiding until 1949. And then also the exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks who are living in India.
“These are two cultures that really carry ancient wisdom and really need our protection.”
It’s the dawning of a new era, the online festival. Whether it will ever completely replace the collective Woodstock-model where hundreds gather together in a field to mosh, dance and space-out to music is unlikely, but it can certainly exist alongside it.
“What’s nice about is is that you can get a buffet, or an array, of different ideas or experiences. With the online one there’s a really interesting palette that can be created,” Lee said.
*LoveBusk takes place on March 20. Go to lovebusk.com for details