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Some of the country’s largest music festivals, such as Bonnaroo and Coachella, are highly desired to attend; however, they’re a) expensive and b) not always easily accessible from everyone’s neck of the woods.

Virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video are making huge advances in technology and have become increasingly popular ways to experience music festivals. VR devices such as Google Cardboard can virtually put you anywhere in the world…for as little as $15. These are, simply put, completely changing the landscape of the experiential side of festivals. 

Click to learn more about Coachella’s foray into the virtual festival experience

First, let’s break it down. You have virtual reality and you have 360-degree video. They’re very much the same, but the experience is different. VR gives viewers a sense of presence and a connection to what they’re viewing. By looking into a VR device, you’re immersed in the action as if you were there and you have a 360-degree view. All you have to do is move your head as if you were looking around a room.

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A 360-degree video, on the other hand, gives you the capability to see surroundings in every direction by clicking around on your computer screen.

As far as headsets go, you can get as simple as Google Cardboard (nothing fancy, runs around $20) or as advanced as HTV Vive where you can walk around and navigate with controllers in your hands (this, however, will cost you more than a festival ticket itself — around $1,500). 

This year, Coachella added an incentive for its ticket holders and gave them all VR headsets to be immersed in the action from anywhere on the festival grounds. In order for remote attendees to watch from home, they needed a headset. Coachella’s free VR app let remote attendees see performances from top artists, have a 360-degree view from around the festival grounds, and watch festival-goers’ experiences. The app did not feature live streaming like the 360-degree video. 

Still with us? In a rapidly changing technological world, we might see live streaming on VR headsets sooner than later. Virtual reality and 360-degree video make it easier and more immersive to experience live music, whether you’re at the venue or virtually anywhere else in the world (couch, kitchen, party with friends, etc.) and we can’t wait to see what’s next. We vote more celebrity hologram capability…or clones. 

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