The biggest online event
organised in Finland was loved by families and praised by critics.
The virtual and digital programme organised by the City of Helsinki for the May Day celebrations attracted plenty of viewers. The virtual crowning of Manta and JVG’s live gig on Vappu Eve were followed by approximately 1,4 viewers in different channels. May Day was also calm and Helsinki residents celebrated Vappu at Home as it was hoped in advance.
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the traditional May Day celebrations in Helsinki were organised in a new format this year. The City of Helsinki, together with its partners, had organised a varied programme that could be enjoyed digitally and in virtual reality.
JVG, who already hold numerous records, made history and attracted a record crowd on their virtual live gig on Vappu Eve, April 30. The live concert was organised by the virtual technology specialising company Zoan Ltd, the City of Helsinki and Fullsteam Agency and was followed live by approximately 13% of Finns, i.e. 700 000 viewers, and during the weekend the streaming was watched by an audience of 225 000. When counting in also broadcast media, such as MTV news, who were showing the concert live for a moment, the virtual gig reached in total more than 1,4 million viewers, which equals to around 24% of Finns.
“It was amazing to be a part of the team who realised this exceptional concert experience, which showed once again the power of live music to move people. The artists and the whole production team threw themselves into this and the result was a world-class virtual event”, rejoices Tuomo Tähtinen, CEO of Fullsteam Agency.
The concert managed to charm the audience and social media channels were filled with thousands of admiring messages. Helsingin Sanomat critic Oskari Onninen praised the virtual concert and compared it to Cheek’s stadium concert as a milestone that will be remembered.
“Helsinki residents have May Day traditions going back generations which include gathering in large parties in the city centre, parks, picnics and restaurants. Our cooperation with Fullsteam and Zoan enabled us to create a unique virtual experience and keep the elements of Vappu’s communal spirit even as it was celebrated at home. We are extremely happy about the good reception of this new kind of event. The concert was also a means to keep the city centre free from Vappu crowds and gatherings and this, too, succeeded extremely well” says Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
Other digital programming received also a lot of audience on May Day Eve. For example, the a cappella concert of the quintet Club for Five in the Savoy Theatre was watched by about 17,500 people.
”This Vappu was unusual for all of us, as we couldn’t meet over familiar traditions, such as the Crowning of Manta or a picnic in Kaivopuisto or in Kaisaniemi. Nevertheless, the City of Helsinki wanted to bring joy and Vappu spirits to the celebrations at home, and it’s been wonderful how people took the Vappu at Home as their own, and there were no larger gatherings in the streets. Thank you, everyone, for celebrating Vappu at home, and for those who made this experience possible,” says Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.
Helsinki Police Department informed that this year’s Vappu celebrations have been exceptionally quiet. On May Day Eve, no crowds were seen on neither Kauppatori nor Esplanadi. May Day was calm as well, and no larger picnic crowds assembled in either Ullanlinnanmäki or Kaivopuisto.
“May Day in Helsinki has been calm in these exceptional circumstances. It has been amazing to see how varied a programme, both virtual and digital, has been organised by townspeople and many other parties. Even though we had to celebrate Vappu apart from each other, the joyful community spirit of Vappu was conveyed in social media and virtual reality. Thank you for everyone who celebrated Vappu at Home and to those many parties who made this experience possible” states Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
“This has been a different kind of Vappu for us all and we have not been able to gather around familiar traditions, like the crowning of Manta or picnic in Kaivopuisto. The City of Helsinki still wanted to bring the spirit of Vappu and joy to people celebrating at home, and it’s great that the people in Helsinki adopted the concept of Vappu at Home and no big gatherings in the city centre have taken place,” continues Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
The police in Helsinki informed that the May Day celebrations have been particularly calm. Vappu Eve saw no big crowds in the Market Square or the Esplanade. Also May Day has been calm and no picnic parties have gathered in Ullanlinnanmäki or Kaivopuisto.
The virtual live production of JVG’s Eternal 1st of May concert on the Burst Live platform developed by Zoan represents pioneering technology even on a global scale. The technical implementation made it possible for the audience to be in live interaction with the artists and the crowd with virtual avatars. The emojis and cheering interactive keys were used for more than 10 million times during the one hour concert. “Ten years of career and we thought we had experienced everything, at least here in Finland. But this felt somehow bigger than anything we could have even imagined a year ago. This must be the biggest experience for us even if we had already done so much”, commented JVG on their pioneering experience after the gig.
The concert was made possible by, among others, OnePlus, Marli, Juissi, Isey Skyr, PME Records, Evermade, Livetek, HÖG, Iconics and Amazon Web Services.
All Vappu recordings are available on the Helsinki-kanava website.
Photo: Zoan Oy