Posts Tagged 'music festivals'

Dell Summer Rocks: Art, Music, and Technology

We’ve mentioned previously that there is an emerging trend of partnerships in the music industry, with bands and brands joining forces to explore new ways of reaching consumers and cultivating common passions. We witnessed more of this trend while attending the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore. One attraction at the Virgin Festival that seemed to draw a ton of people in was the Dell Dome.

Dell Dome

The dome is part of the Dell Summer Rocks tour. They are road tripping to all the summer’s hottest music festivals and the tent adds to the sensory experience of the weekend by offering a combination of technology, art and music for visitors to show off their individual style. Festival goers can meet urban artist Mike Ming, or personalize their own digital mix tape, rock ‘n’ roll hairstyle and airbrush tattoo. Also, media are invited to ask questions of any of the performers lined up for interviews inside the Dome. A pretty cool way of promoting the new (very colorful) studio laptops (check out their creative Towel Drop promo).

Dell is working with festival promoters to include the brand where it can be experienced by this passionate community of people who align themselves with a lifestyle of self expression. They are giving them an interactive experience. Here we see yet another trend that is hard to ignore: music fans are craving interaction with the music and musicians they like more and more. The days of sitting around listening to music passively are fading.

In addition to the hands-on experience Dell offers in their dome, they have been chatting with artists at the festivals and posting video interviews. As our readers know, we here at Evolving Music love interviews. The Dell Lounge interviews are a great way to get to know some up-and-coming artists and see them kickin back in a casual festival setting. As of today, the Dell Summer Rocks tour is halfway through their road trip.

Starting at Lollapalooza, they snagged interviews (check any of them out here) with the likes of Bang Camaro, Cadence Weapon, beautiful Swedish crooner Sofia Talvik, and The Whigs.

Click around in the Virgin interview section to hear from Soulwax (one of our favorites from the DJ tent), Taking Back Sunday, and Deadmau5 among others. I had never heard of Deadmau5 before Virgin, but am definitely a fan now.

Outside Lands, which was in our own backyard, of course had all the big headliners like Jack Johnson, Tom Petty, and Radiohead (who kicked ass but dealt with some unexpected technical difficulties) to please the masses. But let’s not forget about some of the lesser known acts that rock as well. Dell caught some of these kids on tape here. Don’t miss the Howlin Rain interview. It takes place during a ping pong game.

Lastly, check out the class=”xLink”Bumbershoot Festival interviews from Seattle here for a personal look at Tapes ‘n Tapes (they opened for the Black Keys, who we like, earlier this year), Shim, and many more. I like the dude from Shim with the crazy mutton chops. He’s goofy.

So there you have it. A personal look at some of the artists from this summer’s festival season and the interactive experience offered to festival goes in the Dell Summer Rocks tent. When it comes to the intersection of technology, art, and music, you know where it’s at: interaction, personalization, and self-expression.

Lollapalooza Going MixMatch

In a press release today, I read a most interesting thing about the long-running mega music marathon known as Lollapalooza. Founded in 1997 by Perry Farrell to say good-bye to the legend of Jane’s Addiction, the tour stalled out on the national level to be revived in a format similar to Bonnaroo, Coachella and this year’s Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco. While not a multi-day festival like these, the Bridge School Benefit has been doing much the same at the Shoreline Amphitheater for more than 20 years now.

Of course, the most frustrating portion of these festivals is the opportunity to see a wide variety and assortment of acts, and then never hearing their music or their collaborations again. In recent years, Bridge School has started recording and releasing acts by the artists, but it seems to me that in this day of high quality live recording and digital distribution, it shouldn’t be that difficult to release an entire live set from one of these festivals a few days after it ends.

For the charitable festivals (Outside Lands/Bridge School), this can increase the revenue poured into the cause, and for artist-centered festivals, it can help increase their revenue from the show. But really, it’s the unique collaborations that happen on stage between dissimilar artists that are usually the highlights of these shows. Tom Waits performing with the Kronos Quartet at Bridge School, Tom Petty sharing the stage with Neil Young. These are musical moments that are incredibly memorable to the audience (“Man, you should have been there when X and Z performed together!”) but retaining the way it sounded in your mind is much more difficult over time.

Now, with the line-up at this year’s Lollapalooza, featuring distribution revolutionaries Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, odd couple Gnarls Barkley, Bloc Party, Broken Social Scene, G. Love and Special Sauce and the rapidly diversifying Kanye West, the potential combinations are endless. How about Trent and Thom settling their digital download dispute through a mash-up of “Hurt” and “Idioteque?” Or Kanye and Barkley going “Crazy” over “Diamonds From Sierra Leone?”

Well, in an idea that sounds like it came straight from the MixMatchMusic garage, Farrell has announced that he will be attempting to collaborate with the Empire that is Apple and iTunes to release iTunes-only music from the festival in digital formats that could include on-stage collaborations followed up with studio releases of those collaborations for download. Whether Farrell is actually focusing on the release of the live performances isn’t too clear, but he talks openly about his idea of having bands who have performed on stage together at the concert working through the internet and various worldwide recording studios to put the songs together in a more polished format.

The talk of all of these artists coming together in music in some way gets my pulse racing. One can only hope now that Farrell doesn’t stop short. Sure, the idea of studio versions of these collaborations is very cool, but he should well know that with a festival like this, fans would love to get their hands on copies of the entire live set, and will certainly want to download the various combinations of these artists. All that’s left is to let Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails debate over which file format the songs should be available in to download.

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