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Shangri-La’s Lost Horizon records 4m+ viewers

Festival fans in 100 countries tuned in for the debut of Lost Horizon, the virtual-reality festival from the makers of Shangri-La at Glastonbury

By IQ on 10 Jul 2020

A full house for Carl Cox at the Los Horizon Gas Tower stage

A full house for Carl Cox at the Gas Tower stage

More than four million people worldwide tuned in to Lost Horizon, the new virtual festival by the team behind Glastonbury Festival’s Shangri-La, which took place on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 July.

According to organisers, a total of 4.36m viewers, from over 1,100 cities in 100 countries, attended the event, which took place over six stages built in VR events platform Sansar, some of which recreated real places in Glastonbury’s after-hours Shangri-La area. That figure includes viewers on Sansar/VR, PC, iOS and Android, as well as streams on Beatport, Twitch and social media services.

More than 70 DJs and artists, including Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox and Frank Turner, performed at Lost Horizon, which transformed performers into in-world avatars or green-screen holograms. Those who attended the festival in Sansar could visit six virtual worlds, with nine camera angles apiece, purpose-built for the occasion.

Tickets were free, though fans could buy merchandise for their avatars, as well as ‘premium’ tickets, which raised money for the festival’s charity partners, the Big Issue and Amnesty International UK. Streams of the content remain available online, and catch-up viewers can still donate to the charities.

In addition to the music, those who visited the in-world freedom stage could see a virtual-reality exhibition, Yours Truthfully, while 50 films were available to view.

“It was spooky how similar it was to the real thing”

Kaye Dunnings, creative director of Shangri-La and Lost Horizon, says: “I don’t think you can ever recreate the feeling of being in a crowd of people, and how powerful that is, but it was spooky how similar it was to the real thing.

“I met up with friends, made new ones, was able to make an avatar that could dance – with moves I could never pull off in real life – and the classic festival experience of bimbling between areas, overhearing conversations and marvelling at the wonderful looks people had created for themselves was just like people watching at a festival.”

“Lost Horizon broke so many firsts we’re still counting,” says Chris ‘Tofu’ Macmeikan MBE, Lost Horizon and Shangri-La director. “It is the closest you can get to being at a festival without leaving your lounge. We all worked really hard to create this next-level thing to see our friends and raise money for the Big Issue and Amnesty. I’m old and remember seeing colour TV for the first time, but this is 100 times better.”

Ed Jenkins and Jolyon Klean, from Orca Sound Project, jointly add: Programming the Gas Tower in Lost Horizon felt like putting together a dream festival line-up. The goodwill and excitement surrounding such an innovative and experimental project just goes to show how the rule book has been rewritten by the challenges we all face in the entertainment industry.

“Hopefully we’ve proven that there are new frontiers to explore and ways to communicate with fans that continue to push boundaries.”


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