By David O’Neill

With the hospitality and music industry in permanent lockdown since last March, artists everywhere have been finding alternative ways to perform.  Online “kitchen sessions” have been one way for both experienced artists and those starting out. The advent of TikTok has led to success of artists like Nathan Evans being signed to Polydor records.  New, and up and coming artists need to find novel ways to reach their potential audiences.

The recent postponement of Glastonbury festival for the second year running does not bode well for the forthcoming festival season.  However, there may be a potential solution in this unique approach to a festival.

Logo for Immersed Festival 2021

Students of the School of Music and Sound at the University of South Wales creative industry faculty in the Atrium in Cardiff, supported by staff, have held a festival in venues across Cardiff for several years.  Final year students showcased their work in collaboration with the music venues.  However, the ongoing pandemic has meant these students and lecturers had to find an alternative way of running the festival without their audience.  IMMERSED!2021 is that way.

The students have collaborated in ways they probably never would have previously to put together a three-day “virtual” festival.  All the artists having been recorded in line with the necessary pandemic social distancing and hygiene guidance.  They were video recorded between lockdowns and the organisers have set up a very professional website and social media presence where the festival can be viewed throughout the weekend.

It was sponsored and supported by several independent music venues throughout Cardiff to provide the feel of a festival even in the absence of audiences.  As is usual with student involvement, they are raising funds via donations to the Teenage Cancer Trust and #Saveourvenues  fund.

Sponsorship venues include CULTVR lab, Tramshed and FUEL so this may give you an idea of the genres on show.  There are also production masterclass Q&A and artist interviews scattered throughout the weekend.

If you are missing live music there is an eclectic mix on show from all genres with three days of themed musical entertainment to fill your boots with.  Even if you don’t like some of it then this may be a way of supporting live music in South Wales.

IMMERSED!2021 Festival runs from this Friday through until Sunday (29-31 January). Go on you know you want to!

Don’t forget to donate to the charities too!

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