From Coachella to Glastonbury, music events all over the world have been canceled due to COVID-19 and social distancing regulations. But this has not stopped Cal Poly students from celebrating music culture — even from their rooms at home.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, recent College of Engineering graduate Lizzie Wiley planned to attend six music festivals this year after saving up money post-graduation.
She was able to attend one of them, SnowGlobe, an annual music festival held through New Year’s Eve, but the rest were canceled following COVID-19 health concerns.
However, every weekend Wiley said she attends virtual festival live streams in her “rave outfit” which includes a pair of claws.
“Obviously it’s not nearly the same thing, but it is a good alternative and it’s nice that it is free,” Wiley said.
Wiley said that she and her boyfriend join a Google Hangout with other people and listen to the live streams and pretend that they are “festing” together.
She said her favorite part of the at-home experience is getting to see another creative side of the artists that she watches while they figure out the best way to do sets, or performances, from their own homes.
Other students experience the virtual music scene as artists themselves.
Agricultural business senior Lincoln Hoppe and industrial engineering senior Preston Stebel have been mixing for three years in a joint DJ identity they have dubbed “Tik Tak.”
Pre-coronavirus, Hoppe and Stebel had shows booked throughout spring 2020 and would perform through Bar of the Night, a student DJ takeover of bars in downtown San Luis Obispo.
The weekly tradition has since been moved online as “Bedroom of the Night,” where Tik Tak and other performers host weekly virtual shows through Twitch, a video live streaming service.
“It was just an outlet for us to actually feel like we’re still doing shows and having a good time,” Hoppe said.
Hoppe purchased all of the necessary equipment, which he said was quite difficult to obtain during this time. It took him about three weeks to research and figure out how they were going to move everything online. However, he said it took their minds off being in quarantine.
“We get a new experience of playing something that maybe we wouldn’t usually play at a live venue because we want to predict what the crowd wants to see and hear,” Hoppe said.
Their first performance garnered about 40 viewers, with about five people per viewer screen.
“It almost felt like we were kind of on a live venue, but the chat window was our way to see the reactions of the crowd,” Hoppe said.
Graphic communications senior Morgan McKean has watched Tik Tak’s live streams and said it is a good way to see her buddies and dance the night away.
“It gives us an opportunity to be there for friends when we normally would be right out at the front lines showing our support,” McKean said.
Business administration junior Ryan Pavone has also been DJ-ing since his freshman year of college and has continued his passion online in order to stay busy and give his friends music to enjoy.
“I’ve always been really into music and showing that to other people and getting them hyped up and feeding off their energy,” Pavone said.
Pavone does not have the equipment necessary to do a live stream, but he uses leftover decorations to create a stage setup in his home and prerecords videos to post on social media and send to his friends under the stage name OontzFactory.
After he posts, he said it is cool to see the comments and people telling him they enjoyed it, but it is not the same as seeing people’s reactions in the moment.
Pavone said he wants to use this time to continue honing in on his skills as a DJ.
“I look at the whole quarantine thing as, you could just sit around and watch a bunch of Netflix, or you can spend this time actually perfecting a skill or learning a new skill,” Pavone said.
Cal Poly students are not alone in the worldwide love for live music. Many of the in-person events that were cancelled are also moving to an online platform that are generally free or functioning as a charity event for the fight against COVID-19.
On March 29, 2020, Elton John and other artists raised over $1 million through the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert for America.
Through the weekend of May 1, 2020, We Dream Worlds hosted the largest electric dance music (EDM) online charity music festival called DREAMWORLD. 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Heart Water Foundation which provides emergency resources to hospitals.