Ever since the pandemic hit, activities concerning the great outdoors were put to a halt indefinitely. This includes live concerts and music festivals, which saw exponential growth in the past decade. After a bunch of postponements and rescheduling due to COVID-19, the music industry gradually got back to its feet — much to the glee of artists and patrons alike — with a series of both free and paid virtual concerts. Curious about what performances you can check out? From today's most prominent artists to more underground musical acts, here's our list of virtual concerts you can watch safely at home this 2020 below.
BTS MAP OF THE SOUL O:NE
Did we really expect the pandemic to stop the global phenomenon that is BTS? The internationally renowned K-pop boy group just announced their latest concert and fans are psyched. But that’s not all. Following the wave of virtual concerts this 2020, the event actually has an online-offline setup, where some audiences are allowed to watch the concert at limited-capacity in-location, while also simultaneously live-streamed on the internet.
The group’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, assured fans that the offline concert will follow strict government guidelines during the event to ensure the safety of both the audience and artists. This, of course, still comes with the guarantee of not compromising the true BTS concert experience. Ticket sales and streaming schedules are yet to be announced, but this music event's already anticipated — right, ARMYs?
Johnny’s World Happy Live With You
Despite being one of Japan’s biggest male idol agencies, Johnny’s & Associates (formerly known as Johnny’s Entertainment) is known for not having any form of social media. This trickles down from an organisational level to their individual talents. That’s why during the stay-at-home period, it came as a surprise to both their local and international fans when they announced a series of live virtual concerts this 2020, hosted free on YouTube featuring their most prominent idol units. These releases served as a precedent for their fundraising online concert held last June, where all of the proceeds went to disaster relief and COVID-19 assistance initiatives.
Whether you’re an old-timer to J-pop or just curious, make sure you watch out for groups like V6 who celebrated their 25th year debut anniversary this 2020; ‘national idol group’ ARASHI who was awarded the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Album Sold Worldwide in 2019; KAT-TUN, who’s song Real Face was listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best songs from boy bands of all time; and King & Prince, who is currently one of Japan’s highest-grossing idol groups to date in a mere two years after their debut.
A-Nation Online 2020
Can’t choose between K-pop or J-pop? No problem! Independent label Avex Group also announced that their annual music event will go digital this year given the pandemic. This 2020 virtual concert is titled A-Nation Online and is set to launch this 29 August and will feature artists from both music scenes, along with acts from other parts of Asia.
Get your lightsticks and penlights ready and join the hype with performances from EXO-SC, Super Junior, Red Velvet, Ayumi Hamasaki, DA PUMP, Da-iCE and more. Excited? The full livestream schedule has yet to be announced so make sure you’re on standby when Avex releases more details.
Gotobeat Online Summer Festival
If the live-band scene is more your vibe, this charity-event-slash-virtual-concert is the one to tune into. Happening 20 to 21 August, Gotobeat, a UK-based music festival, will feature artists from all over the world, including English acts like Caprice and Dimaggio Jones as well as Asian acts The Itchyworms from the Philippines and Reality Club from Indonesia. With ticket prices starting at just GBP5/~USD6.50, you’ll have full access to the live streaming event while also helping out their coronavirus assistance initiatives.
Any heavy metal fans out there? We’ve got some good news for you, too! Iconic American band Metallica not only launched full-length versions of their old concerts for free on their YouTube channel, but they’re also doing a Metallica Mondays series on the platform where you can jam live with the band without dropping a single cent. Travel vicariously through and sing your heart out with their sets in Berlin, New York, Munich and more. Most of the full-length concert videos also double up as fundraisers, so make sure to watch and share if you can.
Live With Carnegie Hall
Looking for more soothing streams to get into during this period? Prestigious concert venue Carnegie Hall also launched a series of free full-length livestreams and archived performances on their YouTube channel. From operatic stage shows that will leave your jaw dropping to more melancholic serenades that will ease your hearts momentarily, this is a 2020 virtual concert experience that’s enough to transport any music lover to the venue’s grandiose halls without even stepping into a plane.
More on music during the 'new' normal, here's how Southeast Asian artists are coping during the pandemic.
Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at [email protected].