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17 STREAMPUNK Live Music

work for big clients like the Super League. “We’re feeding back into the industry as a result of what we do,” he says.

recently went to a restaurant and its chef was talking to us about how the pandemic has affected their business and mental health. But also, about how it’s changed people’s behaviour towards going to restaurants. He said a lot of people are learning to cook during lockdown and he was worried about whether restaurants will still be needed once this is all over.” Officially, United We Stream is due to finish around the end of June. But McKevitt believes its duration will probably be longer than that, with restrictions on the hospitality, arts and music industries likely being the last to ease. “The last thing the government is going to want to do when we’re through this is permit gatherings of more than X amount of people. I think it will be months and months, maybe into the new year, before events start up again.” The music industry, which has previously fought against the streaming sector, is even beginning to warm up to it. McKevitt concludes: “What we’re doing is showing the music industry that streaming is actually a cooperative technology, and it’s a thing that can work alongside gigs when they come back online. Foo Fighters recently did a gig on Facebook and it was brilliant. It was a free gig on Facebook, so it’s not always the easiest platform to monetise on, but it probably increased their following because streaming has the capacity to reach new audiences and create new connections.”



In each United We Stream set, performers stand alone, illuminated by light projections against empty dance floors. It’s a potent reminder that the streams aren’t a soundtrack for lockdown house parties, but to reflect on “the struggle that the coronavirus pandemic is having on people’s lives”, says McKevitt. The venues’ broadcast galleries, which usually have an occupancy of eight to ten people, is run by McKevitt and one other person. Here, they direct the acts, operate the graphics, vision mixer, sound, as well as eight camera feeds, which are sent from two camera operators on the ground. On top of this, they act as an audience to the performers. “It’s a very surreal experience for them, to perform without an audience. So, if there’s a musician on, we’ll dance around while operating the gallery to keep their energy up,” he enthuses. For performers who can’t make it to venues, live streams are carried out via Zoom, Skype and Wirecast, with the team utilising a small OBS truck and laptop feeds connected through the Blackmagic ATEM. McKevitt adds: “It’s great we’ve also been able travel about, because it’s allowed us to capture different experiences. We

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