The OC Music Festival, in partnership with DJE Sound and Lighting, has announced their inaugural “So Over COVID” streaming music festival. The livestream, taking place on Memorial Day weekend, will feature some of Southern California’s biggest “jam band” acts in footage captured live from the 2019 festival, as well as new footage taped especially for this special event.
“Music is essential,” declared Ted Tesoriero, President of the OC Music Festival, now in its eighth year. “We had an opportunity to cancel the event and take a year off or we could spring into action and figure out how to stage an event that would lift the spirits of the bands and the fans. That’s what we chose to do in short order.”
Tesoriero owns and operates Orange County-based DJE Sound and Lighting, a renowned events production company with a long record of innovation that supplies direction, sound and lighting to large-scale events throughout the west coast. A full schedule of providing services disappeared as the Coronavirus crisis engulfed the nation, bringing entertainment event production to a standstill.
“We’re always looking for creative ideas to gain a competitive edge in our industry.” said Tesoriero, “Our reaction – this festival – is about providing something special and hopeful to our community of fans and artists, but it’s also about survival for the festival and my company.”
A music stage was carefully and creatively constructed in DJE’s warehouse, the same building where the company is headquartered. Tesoriero’s team, observing social distancing protocol – donning masks and gloves, and employing best practices in sanitizing equipment and shared spaces – created a virtual live concert environment, with state-of-the-art video direction, production and premium sound recording, mixing and mastering.
“We didn’t want to just broadcast past performances,” said Tesoriero. “We invited bands who had been social distancing to come and film their music sets on our virtual stage. The final result was stunning in terms of staging, lighting and sound. At least for the time being, this will be the future of music festivals. We’re thrilled that we’re operating at the forefront of this ‘virtual concert’ technology.”
The event, which will begin streaming from May 22nd through May 25th, features several accomplished LA and Orange County-based jam bands such as Grateful Dead specialists Cubensis, GrooveSession, the Hempstring Orchestra, the surging jamgrass band The Storytellers and others.
The event is free, requiring only a gratis access passcode that can be obtained on Eventbrite.
According to Tesoriero, creating this free event is the right way forward. “We’re pleased to make this event free of charge for fans,” he said. “My team has worked extremely hard to create something that pleases the fans and the bands, but at the end of the day, this has been an experiment to see what we can deliver to the industry in the face of this pandemic. As everyone will see during the streaming festival, we hit it out of the park. We aren’t out of the woods by any means, but we’re breathing a bit easier.”