When COVID-19 derailed Spring plans as we knew them, Santa Clara University’s APB jumped into action. The students successfully planned and hosted a virtual, socially distanced festival featuring student DJs. Now they’re sharing their insight and advice.
Name of the Event: Inside Lands – Virtual Concert
Describe the event: I (Griffin Garbarini) decided to reach out to fellow students who were DJs as I have good relationships with several student artists on campus and wanted to use these connections for a programming opportunity. After realizing that the concert should financially be benefiting a COVID-19 relief fund, we added the donation component for the CDC Foundation to our stream. After the first email blast regarding the event was sent to students, I had 10 student DJs reach out asking if they could join the stream. However, due to my limited knowledge on the technology requirements, I could only accept five acts. It turned out to be the perfect number of performers for the time allotted (3.5 hours).
What made you decide to host this virtual event: Given the shelter-in-place, I wanted to challenge myself to learn all the tech behind live streaming a DJ set on Twitch while also building a solid event to bring students together during this stressful time. After realizing it would be a great opportunity to show off some student talent and support COVID relief while at home, I started having marketing materials created and spent a lot of time working with the university to host the event given the strict laws in place.
Which platform did you use to host the event: OBS Broadcasting Software and Twitch TV. Twitch is NO LONGER AN OPTION FOR LIVE DJ STREAMS as many record labels have been forcing Twitch to monitor copyright infringement more carefully. If we were to host the event again today, it would not be possible given Twitch’s updated copyright policies. From personal experience, they have been cracking down a lot more recently.
Which marketing techniques worked well for you? Pushing out posters on the APB teams’ personal social media accounts was very effective in capturing people’s attention. We also utilized the APB instagram to house the “need to know” information for the concert.
Logistically (planning-wise) what worked well for you: Testing the internet & technology two days before the event was a great idea as I caught a couple issues with our audio interface and learned more about the universities WIFI network. Using a simple internet speed test website allowed me to choose the best physical location to house the computer.
What will you do differently next time? I would try and get professional artists involved to try and spur more interest from other students. I would also love to add more than one camera angle as all the professionals seem to be doing this (Digital Mirage 2: Check out oliver heldens set at the Royal Concertgebouw).
What piece of advice would you give someone preparing to host their first virtual event? Youtube/reddit and your local DJ store/Garage Center are your best friends! Cannot stress that enough! Don’t waste any of your money on tech and audio interfaces from amazon as most of the cheaper products are fake and cannot actually do what they say they can. For example, I got a fake sound card on amazon that was $30 and was marketed as real and had awesome reviews. I hate wasting money, especially in such a stressful time, and I am sure other event producers would agree as budgets have become so tight.