The City of Chicago just handed down what will surely be a telling decision: that all major live events will be cancelled until at least Labor Day—including Lollapalooza. No doubt, it will influence similar decisions in other major cities.
So we should be prepared to instead enjoy a summer of virtual festivals, and expect that the inherent creativity of our fellow humans will make said events as unforgettable as those we had experienced in person as recently as February 2020. The very first one on our calendar is Virtual Helsinki Day, taking place this Friday, June 12, in a sort of digital recreation of Finland’s ever stylish capital.
Heading it up will be dance music juggernaut ALMA, whose new album Have U Seen Her? has quickly become an international sensation (read our BlackBook interview with her here.) In fact, you can actually sort of hang out with her, by choosing an avatar and entering her surreal dreamscape world, generated entirely from her obviously vivid imagination.
“Playing a VR show of this scale this was something I didn’t even know was possible to do,” she enthuses, “and something my fans probably haven’t ever seen before! I’m so excited to share my new album like this. It’s amazing to be able to invite fans to step into the dreamworld. Welcome to my dreams and nightmares people! It’s gonna be unreal!”
The virtual experiences will also include a visit to the Amos Rex Museum, where 8o young Finnish artists are featured in the Generation 2020 exhibition—and you can also take a whirl through the design mecca that is the Alvar Aalto House…amongst other fantastical surprises. The city’s mayor Jan Vapaavuori, however, shares a bit more philosophical view of it all.
“Under these extraordinary circumstances,” he observes, “Virtual Helsinki demonstrates how important it is for cities to be agile and adaptive—and how a crisis can be used as a driver for technical innovation and creativity. The platform is also now contributing to Helsinki’s creative economy by showing us that art and culture can still be created and celebrated by all during an international lockdown.”