With the majority of Jamaicans locked away at home and a myriad of events cancelled or postponed amid the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), virtual events have more than ever become the order of the day.
One such event is Sunday Live!, where some of Jamaica’s most promising upcoming acts will treat their audience to great new music and viewers will learn more about how they can do their part to control the spread of COVID-19.
Londie Murray, organiser of Sunday Live!, which gets under way tomorrow, March 29, at 3:00 pm, told BUZZ he decided to create something that people would enjoy during this go-slow period.
“As a media and entertainment production professional, I can relate first hand to the adverse effects COVID-19 has had on our industry,” said Murray, who is also organiser of the postponed two-day Caribbean Influencer Marketing Summit, which was initially slated to start on Friday, March 27.
Sunday Live! came about as a result of that postponement and, while being delivered in a different format, will look to address some of the themes that would have been discussed around digital and content creators using platforms to market their brand or music.
Explaining how the social distancing rules of no more than 10 persons gathering played a role in planning Sunday Live!, Murray said he and his team had quite a few venue options but opted for an outdoor location.
“So Pier 1 ended up being our partner in doing this. We have the space to execute this project and maintain a safe distance. “
Among the artistes who will be performing at this virtual event, which will be live streamed via buzz-caribbean.com and hosted by Issia Thelwell, are Rosh Rebel, Diel, Courtni and Kali Grn.
“Also, we’ll be sharing with musicians and other creatives how they can make the most of the downtime they’re now experiencing,” Murray added.
In the meantime, looking at the impact COVID-19 has had on influencer marketing, Murray described the situation as “sink or swim”.
“Influencers are not going to cease making content and they still have actively engaged and, now, very captive audiences,” he reasoned.
“The biggest shift we are seeing is the messaging. The great equaliser is COVID-19 and the need for connection. At the end of the day, the messaging needs to be genuine and community-driven, or it just won’t connect. I hope they can all find their footing and create content that connects with their online communities, but I guess we just have to watch and see who sinks or swims.”
And, on the question of whether virtual events will become more the norm for users, even after the pandemic has passed, he said it will depend on the type of event and what organisers hope to achieve.
“It’s a great option to have virtual events but our market can’t thrive off that. As Jamaicans, we like to interact or socialise with people and virtual events can’t ever replace that.”