#010 Harnessing Creativity

⏯ Harnessing Creativity

the latest in live

today’s read...9 minutesAugust 18th, 2020     Issue #010


Groups lobby Congress to support aid packages for our industry. Clever initiatives from around the world, from opera in Austria to theater in Massachusetts, model potential reopening strategies. And we learn about how two industry creatives are utilizing their skillsets to create tangible experiences under lockdown.


  • Outside Lands’ virtual festival, Inside Lands, will stream on Twitch August 28th and 29th with an exclusive Grass Lands experience in partnership with Eaze. They also just raised $1M for small businesses with their project Small Business Live. Tickets for OSL 2021 are already on sale.

  • We applaud people for making the effort to go virtual during these times, especially in light of events like Tech N9ne’s mask-less Missouri show, “floating nightclubs” in New York, and the ongoing Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

  • Burning Man launched a crowdfunding campaign, hoping for “the extraordinary generosity of our community to ensure the future of Burning Man.” Their “Art on Fire” documentary premiered this past weekend and it had us feeling nostalgic.

  • The Crew Nation relief fund has reached $15 million in funding (!!!), with hopes to double it in the near future. 

  • Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is kickstarting its reopening plan, featuring live performances in the venue that will be streamed to viewers at home. Their six-week series will also slowly allow fans to join in-person (health guidelines permitting). You can read about their attempt at creating an all-inclusive package including VIP, pay-per-view, and merch in full here.

  • The Live Events Coalition continues to lobby Congress for aid packages by organizing powerful “Empty Event[s]” across the country. In LA, they hosted an event at LA Live where “48 lighting fixtures represent[ed] 250,000 live event professionals who comprise the 12 million members within our workforce,” who are unemployed and barely getting by. Similarly stunning “Empty Events” also took place in Times Square and on the National Mall.

  • A production of “Godspell” in Massachusetts is testing out a model of COVID-19 safe theater. Cast members perform to a reduced audience, six feet apart with “plexiglass shields on wheels that protect them and the audience as they sing.” Could this give us any hints as to what concerts might look like in the future?

  • In Switzerland, authorities give the live events sector clear guidelines, allowing them to plan for an October 1st return with no cap on audience size (they are currently capped at 1,000). And in the UK, indoor gigs are a GO.

  • Live Nation is on track (pending a decision from authorities at the end of August) to throw the first large-scale event in Germany on September 4th. The Bryan Adams stadium show will have a 12,000 fan capacity, socially-distanced seating, an alcohol ban, contact tracing, in-seat food delivery, and timed entry to ensure fan safety.

  • Ever wish you could throw it back with popcorn and VHS tapes in bed at the world’s last Blockbuster? Well, now you can. Speaking of movies, AMC is offering 15 cent tickets to their grand reopening on August 20th.


“Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”In Salzburg, Austria, opera is challenging the socially distanced performances we are seeing all over live events. Though the theater will be set at half capacity, the orchestra will play with a full pit and actors will interact with each other as usual on stage, with the intent to uphold the quality of the performance.The venue will stagger audience members, eliminate intermissions, and require a face mask (though guests will be allowed to remove their masks while seated). Audience members will also link their information to their tickets in case they need to be contact-traced after attending an event. The most unique element in the opera’s launch plan is its color-coding system. Groups based on contact level are boiled down to:

  • Red - Performers and individuals who have a high level of contact (ex: singers), will be tested weekly and keep a log of any social interactions.

  • Orange - Crew who interact with the red group occasionally but are otherwise able to socially distance (ex: make-up artists), will wear masks and keep a log of any social interactions.

  • Yellow - Venue staff who are always able to social distance (ex: ushers), will wear masks.

Reporters will be allowed entry with a negative COVID-19 test.  What could this mean for the festival world? While the launch plan in Salzburg is backed by large financial resources and a strong health care system, segmented credentialing is something music festival staff are already accustomed to. Could this mean that you might receive your staff credential with a set of social distancing guidelines specific to your role at the event? Marianne Creassa, an artist at the opera, remarked “it is nice to watch streaming concerts, but after a while, I got a bit depressed. This is not what we are supposed to do.” By grouping staff to enforce safe yet less restrictive guidelines, we might be able to preserve the quality of the live experience.

(Monika Rittershaus/Salzburger Festspiele)

Inclusion Festival ONLINE, a Virtual Event for EVERY Body!Clip From Press Release

Inclusion Festival, streaming August 21st to 23rd, began as the nation’s first and only sensory-friendly music and wellness festival, designed to accommodate and include people of all abilities. Believing the concepts of inclusion are fundamental to all experiences and communities, the festival has grown to spread inclusion as a state of mind through year-round events, experiences, consultation and training, as well as an online magazine.

This three-day event will showcase best practices in online accessibility including continuous closed captioning, American Sign Language Interpretation, and accessibility tools embedded on the streaming site. Inclusion Festival ONLINE will also offer a wide variety of workshops, diverse conversations including an interview with award-winning author and autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin, and live nightly dance parties. 

All donations received from the livestream event will directly benefit the non-profit organization Accessible Festivals, dedicated to ensuring that music and recreation are accessible to all people, in addition to supporting the participating musicians and presenters.“This Was a Gig”2,500 fans gathered for the first UK stadium show where raised platforms replaced parking spots from popular drive-in models and pre-ordered refreshments in personal mini-fridges were waiting at guests’ designated areas. Though indie-rock act Sam Fender missed looking out to a crowd of moshing fans, he was excited to bring music lovers together for a much needed social gathering. SSD Concerts was the promoter responsible for planning this show, which ended up being one of the most successfully socially distanced concerts to date. The stressful months of planning were all worth it when producers were finally able to have an “aha moment again,” an SSD employee told us. Events like these give fans a bridge to the much longed-for traditional live experience, and give hope to industry professionals eager to get back to work. While the financial viability of these event formats seems unpromising, the fan experience certainly has plenty of positives.


Back of House Guest Posts feature some of our favorite people from across the industry sharing their expertise. If you would like to be featured in a future issue or know someone who would, let us know at [email protected].

This week we sat down (virtually of course) with Blake Shine and Courtney Nichols, co-founders of the in-home experience Of The Night. The two recently joined forces to creatively "curat[e] whimsical, tangible events", during the pandemic.

Of The Night: Creating Tangible Experiences During Lockdown2020: the year we all became renowned bakers, home cooks, craft mixologists, and Tik-Tok stars. Our living rooms were turned into workshops and our bedrooms into offices, as we frantically searched for some semblance of structure.As advocates for transformative moments of evening escapades, Courtney Nichols and I realized we couldn’t sit back idly and watch our community dull. So we didn’t. We realized it was time to shift from mourning all the things we couldn’t do and instead start celebrating new, innovative ways of gathering. We decided we weren’t going to wait for things to go “back to normal.”It took a minute to figure out exactly what our contribution would be, since our combined experience is centered around curating whimsical, tangible events. Courtney is the Founder of Disco Dining Club and I design immersive comedy stages for various music festivals, such as Lightning in a Bottle and Desert Hearts.Curating events was my career, but festivals were also my social and creative outlet. When I realized my skills didn’t translate seamlessly to digital, I became worried I would have to come up with a backup plan. After a couple phone calls, Courtney and I decided there is no backup plan when you are in love with what you do. And so, we came up with Of the Night.

Hand-delivered to doorsteps in Los Angeles & Portland, Of the Night packages are thematic party capsules that have the makings of a perfect night out, translated into a perfect night in. Each Of the Night package is designed for a party of 2, with their own theatrical narrative and includes snacks, beverages, eclectic decor, playful accessories, campy activities, a curated playlist, and other surprises. Every month we release a new wave of themes and a featured package from a collaboration with a brand or artist. Courtney and I also believe that having fun and doing good should be synonymous, so 10% of proceeds benefit oscillating charitable organizations.

We are still very much discovering our own journey and figuring out our process of theme releases, order and delivery schedules and how to incorporate more local brands in our packages. So far it’s just the two of us on the team (as we started Of the Night as a creative side project), but we have quickly realized it has potential to be something much larger. Before COVID, Courtney and my work was sporadic due to the amount of time and space needed to develop, market and execute a quality event. With Of the Night, we are able to curate experiences every weekend and release new narratives every month, something unimaginable in the offline space.Of the Night is our way of confronting the current moment head on and inspiring our community to take back their weekends and to rediscover their limitless, creative potential. We also want to advocate for other creators who feel that the widespread transition into virtual events doesn’t feel right for them. We’ve realized that this time is best used discovering what your unique contribution can be and how you can uphold a sense of community.We are currently looking to expand our Of The Night team by adding someone well versed in business development, finance, and investment. Ideally this person will help us expand to new cities and facilitate our featured packages in collaboration with record labels, to be released with their virtual livestreams and festivals. You can check out our current themes here and you can connect with us at [email protected] or on Instagram @OftheNight.club.


  • August 18: Join thought leaders from the global music data, rightsholders, and creative communities to learn about metadata.

  • August 18: House of Blues’ Music Forward Foundation teaches the role of the producer.

  • August 19: JAM COMPASS Presents “Music in Times of Pandemic: A Round Table Discussion on the Future of the Music Industry.”

  • August 20: Tour Mgmt 101 presents “A Discussion with Nick Light.”

  • August 21: House of Blues’ Music Forward Foundation explores career journeys and lighting advice with Harman, a Samsung company.

  • August 22: Improving your creativity and productivity while elevating your mental and physical wellness.

To view the full calendar go to musicminds.online


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BACK OF HOUSE by Music MindsThe Back of House newsletter was created in an effort to build a centralized hub for educational content and resources that pertain to the live side of music by those who work in it. Sharing knowledge, resources and ideas with the community is at our core. Learning from each other by highlighting best practices and trends allows us to continuously provide exceptional experiences to fans globally. Back of House is here to support the industry learner and information seeker and is delivered weekly on Tuesdays.