SEATTLE — A year and change into the pandemic, it seems certain that some of our ‘rona lifestyle adjustments will spill over into the post-vaccinated world. Beyond the rise of “soft pants,” one lockdown phenomenon that appears here to stay, at least in some form, is livestreamed concerts.
Concert industry juggernaut Live Nation plans to equip dozens of its venues with livestreaming technology, the company announced last week. The Gorge Amphitheatre is among the 60-plus American venues slated to get the tech from VEEPS, a livestreaming platform Live Nation acquired this year.
According to a news release, the VEEPS setup will give artists playing these clubs, theaters and amphitheaters “the ability to livestream their event with the flip of a switch to fans across the world.” So far, no Gorge shows have been announced as having livestream options. Local Live Nation brass referred questions about the Washington venue’s plans to a corporate spokesperson who said Live Nation will “work with artist teams one on one to build out their unique vision for their own livestream.”
For now, a livestream series hosted at the Wiltern in Los Angeles debuts May 7 and will feature concerts from rap stars Young Thug and Freddie Gibbs, alt-pop trio LANY and pop singer JP Saxe.
“Artists and fans are eager to get back to shows, and livestreams will continue to unlock opportunities for them to connect more than ever before,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in the release.
Launched by mall-punk bros Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, VEEPS has found at least one local fan in Brandi Carlile, who’s used the platform over the past year to stream numerous performances from her Maple Valley home and, more recently, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. While it remains to be seen if the Gorge will be able to have any portion of its summer concert season, Carlile’s Aug. 14 date at the landmark venue would seem like a potential streaming candidate.
Asked last month about the prospects of her Gorge blowout going down as planned, Carlile sounded upbeat. “I’ve heard good things,” she said. “I’ve heard really good things; I think it’s gonna happen.”
More broadly, the industry has its eyes on a September return for touring, with fall concert announcements accumulating by the day.
Last summer, Woodinville-based electronic star Seven Lions taped a crowd-less, sunset performance at the Gorge, partnering with dance promoter Insomniac Events. Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland festival was supposed to make its Gorge debut in 2020, before COVID-19 canceled those plans.